Have you made chia seeds a part of your daily diet? I first learned about chia seeds over a year ago at a Gourmet Dinner Club (GDC) gathering. Our hostess, Marty H, assigned us each an ingredient to use and also asked us to educate the group about that ingredient. Jackie R was assigned chia seeds – she made a wonderful fruit salad with a dressing that contained chia seeds (see below). Ever since that dinner I have been eating them with yogurt for my morning snack and telling anyone who will listen to me about the wonders of chia seeds.
Chia seeds were revered by the Aztecs so they have clearly been around for a long time but have just gained popularity in the last few years. These little seeds, which strongly resemble poppy seeds, pack a lot benefit. One tablespoon is 60 calories and includes 4 grams of dietary fiber, 2 grams of protein, more antioxidants than blueberries, and are rich in both Omega-3 (ALA) fatty acids and calcium. Plus, they are quite filling so a serving of yogurt lasts a bit longer. I think they have a neutral flavor but some say they taste slightly nutty. You can add them to yogurt, cereal, baked goods, salads, smoothies – the options are endless. Once they come in contact with liquid they soften, puff up a bit and adsorb the liquid to form a kind of chia gel.
“In terms of nutritional content, a tablespoon of chia seeds is like a smoothie made from salmon, spinach and human growth hormone,” writes Christopher McDougall in Born to Run, the bestselling book about an ultra-distance running tribe in Mexico who eat these seeds to fuel their long runs. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather have some chia seeds in my yogurt than a smoothie made from salmon and spinach.
I find chia seeds in the baking aisle in the natural food section at Wegmans. There you’ll see Bob’s Red Mill, Spectrum Essentials and a few other brands. You’ll also find them as an ingredient in Late July’s Sea Salt by the Seashore Multigrain Snack Chip (sold in the natural food section at Wegmans) which happen to be my new favorite chip (and not just because of the chia seeds). They are so popular right now that most grocery stores would carry them (try the natural food sections).
Want to learn more about chia seeds? A great primer is The Chia Craze, an article written by the BBC. And, in case you were wondering, the same seeds that I have been extolling are indeed the same ones used in Chia Pets – a favorite American Christmas gift!
|Chia Seed Fruit Salad|| |
- 1 large apple, chopped
- 1 large orange, peeled and cut into pieces
- ¼ cup fresh blueberries
- ½ cup dried cranberries or dried cherries
- ½ cup walnuts
- ½ cup flaked coconut (unsweetened)
- 3 tablespoons agave nectar
- Juice from 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- Combine all the fruit, nuts and coconut.
- Whisk the lemon juice into the agave and stir in the chia seeds.
- Pour over salad and mix to combine.
- Serve immediately.