Here at Thistle, we love using ingredients that pack a health punch. Whether it's our Mocha Chia Smoothie Bowl or our Sunrise Chia Parfait, chia seeds are a staple in our breakfast offerings. Chia seeds are praised not only for their nutritional benefits, but also for the magic they work in different recipes. Both nutritious and appetizing, this tiny seed is the perfect addition to your pantry.

Chia Seeds: A Nutrient Powerhouse

Chia seeds are excellent sources of:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids

Since your body can’t produce these essential fats on its own, it’s important to sneak them into your diet. The benefits of omega-3 fatty acids include improved memory, mood support, inflammation reduction, improved bone and joint health, as well as heart, eye, and skin health. If you want your omega-3’s plant-based, chia is a great source.

  • Fiber

Thanks to their high fiber content, chia seeds are wonderful for supporting healthy digestion and keeping you regular. There are also indirect benefits of fiber: several studies found that fiber consumption can decrease the risk of coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and different types of cancer. 

  • Protein

Chia seeds contain all nine essential amino acids, which makes them a high-quality source of plant-based protein. Two tablespoons of chia seeds contain four grams of protein. High in both fiber and protein, chia seeds are a food unicorn. Sprinkle them on everything.

  • Antioxidants

These superpower compounds protect cells from oxidative stresses caused by free radicals. Some of the antioxidants found in chia seeds are believed to have anti-carcinogenic, heart-protective, and anti-aging benefits. Want to lower your risk of chronic disease? Make antioxidant-rich foods like chia seeds a regular part of your diet.

  • Micronutrients

Chia seeds contain calcium, potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus — all important for good health! 

Easy to Incorporate Into Your Diet

Because chia seeds are small and delicate with a very mild, slightly nutty flavor, they are incredibly easy to consume. You can add them to most dishes, savory or sweet, and—besides a surprisingly toothsome texture change—you will barely notice you are eating them.

The most effortless way to consume chia seeds is in their raw form. That is, sprinkled on your breakfast (think oatmeal, smoothie bowls, and cereal), salads, soups, and stews. But don’t stop there. Otherwise, you’d miss out on chia’s magical thickening properties.

Did you know that chia seeds can absorb about 10x their own weight in liquid? For this reason, they are a great natural thickener for homemade soups, dressings, and jams. Thanks to their gel-like consistency when hydrated, they are also wonderful for making a nourishing pudding that’s both dairy and gluten-free. 

Chia seeds also come in handy as an egg substitute in vegan baking. When mixed with a bit of water you get what’s commonly known as a “chia egg.” Incorporating them into your favorite baked good recipes will boost their nutritional value. 

How to Use Chia Seeds: Easy Recipes

Chia Seed Pudding

A nutrient-rich and plant-based breakfast or afternoon treat! 

Make this simple and delicious pudding by combining the following ingredients in a small glass jar:

  • 3 tablespoons of chia seeds
  • 3/4 cup of any plant-based milk (thicker plant milks like coconut or cashew will provide a richer consistency!)  
  • ½ -1 tablespoon of maple syrup or natural sweetener of choice
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • Optional: cinnamon powder or cacao powder (for a chocolate-flavored chia pudding!) 

Let sit for 5-10 mins and stir well once more to break up any lumps. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight. Serve with fresh seasonal fruit and a drizzle of your favorite nut butter for additional protein.

Raspberry Chia Seed Jam

(adapted from Happy Healthy Mama)

Unlike sugar-laden stovetop jams, there’s no cooking required for this recipe and it’s very low in added sugar. 

  • 2 cups raspberries (if using frozen, defrost first)
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons warm water
  • 2–4 tablespoons raw honey or agave
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (optional)

Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor and pulse to achieve your preferred texture. Transfer the mixture to a jar with a lid and allow it to thicken in the fridge for about an hour. 

Whether you’re savoring Thistle meals that are rich in chia, sprinkling the seeds onto oatmeal and salad, or giving one of the above recipes a try, it’s easy to make chia seeds a regular part of your diet. These tiny seeds are tasty and amazingly nutritious. Enjoy them often!

Mar 26, 2020