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A bluffer’s guide to chia seeds

By Jordanna Levin |


chia
Photo by: (image via pinterest)

Last week we introduced a series to I Quit Sugar titled “A bluffer’s guide to…”. We kicked off with kale and what do you know, it was a bit of a hit! So high-fives to us, and super high-fives to you guys, because now we’re excited to keep writing more.

Today it’s all about…chia seeds

These powerful little seeds were originally domesticated by the ancient Mexicans and have a long history of being a great energy source to the ancient Aztecs, Mayans and Native Americans.

Fun fact: Chia is a member of the mint family!

Nutritional benefits of chia seeds

Chia seeds are:

  • Powerful seeds, typically containing approximately 20% protein, 35% good fats (including a whopping 65% omega 3 fatty acid) and 25% dietary fibre.
  • Easily digested and packed full of nutrients including vitamins A, B, D, E, calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium – which all help with the detox hell that some can suffer when quitting sugar.
  • A great way to curb cravings. They fill you up (with the addition of liquid they swell to 17 times their original size!) and slow the conversion of carbohydrates into sugar.

Different types of chia seeds

Chia seeds can be purchased in both black and white varieties. Use black or white or mixed; we don’t discriminate. All chia seeds are created equal.

Where to buy chia seeds

Chia seeds are very easy to come by these days. Most major supermarket chains in Australia stock at least one variety, and health food stores are guaranteed to be able to help you out. If you can’t find any at your local supermarket and don’t have a health food store nearby, look online.

How to store chia seeds

Thanks to their high antioxidant levels, chia seeds can be stored for up to four years in a cool, dry, dark place without deterioration in flavour, odour or nutritional value. Keep in a sealed airtight bag or container.

Yum ways to eat chia seeds

  • Whip up a chia pudding. A general rule of thumb is to mix 3 tablespoons of chia seeds to 1 cup of liquid. A super simple pudding to start with would be to mix 1 cup coconut milk with 1 teaspoon vanilla powder and ¼ cup chia seeds. Stir well and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours. We like to leave them overnight.

Cashewy Chia Puddings

  • Sprinkle on cereal, yoghurt or salad. Chia seeds are relatively flavourless so they won’t affect the taste of your meal.
  • Throw into your bread mix.
  • Mix with a little coconut water for an energy gel replacement when training.
  • In your morning smoothie to provide added density and nutrients.

Berry Smoothie

  • As a replacement for bread crumbs in meatballs and crumbed meat dishes.
  • Make tuna dip: combine a drained 85g can of tuna with 1 teaspoon mayonnaise and 1 teaspoon of chia seeds.
  • Make a chia and nut butter.

Chia tricks

  • Use chia seeds as an egg substitute in baking. Simply combine 1 tablespoon chia seeds and 3 tablespoons water, stir and leave to rest until a gel is formed. This is equivalent to 1 egg.
  • Thicken soups, stews and sauces by adding chia seeds.
  • Put too much liquid in your cake batter? Instead of adding more flour, add chia seeds. They will swell and soak up the extra liquid. Voila!

Are you chia crazy? Tell us your favourite ways to use them in the comments below. 

Please be respectful of other participants in the conversation. We'd love you to keep your comments respectful, friendly and relevant. Differences of opinion are welcome, but trolling and abuse of other commentators and the IQS editorial team is not and will result in blacklisting.

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