Here are some creative, delicious ways to incorporate chia seeds into your daily diet.
Chia seeds are among the healthiest foods on the planet, and since they’re small and versatile, they’re easy to incorporate into tons of different beverages and meals. In just two tablespoons, you can consume 11 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein, 9 grams of healthy fat (5 of which are Omega-3s), and nearly a quarter of your recommended daily calcium intake. The seeds are loaded with a variety of different vitamins and antioxidants that help fight the production of free radicals.
Needless to say, chia seeds should be a part of everyone’s diet, but people are often confused on how to prepare and eat them. Here is a starting list for the ways you can add chia seeds into your daily diet.
Credit: Pure Chia
1. Chia Water
Adding chia seeds to water is one of the simplest, most common ways to include them in your diet.
To make the perfect chia water, soak 1/4 cup (40 grams) of chia seeds in 4 cups (1 liter) of water for 20–30 minutes to soften them up and make them drinkable.
A great way to give your drink some flavor is to add chopped fruit or squeeze in a lemon, lime or orange.
2. Juice-Soaked Chia
Credit: Sandy Huffaker
Water isn’t the only liquid you can soak these seeds in, and soaking them in juice can be a great way to consume them in a delicious, flavorful way.
To do this, add 1/4 cup (40 grams) of chia seeds to 4 cups of fruit juice (1 liter) for half an hour to make a fruit juice that’s full of fiber, minerals, and flavor.
3. Chia Pudding
Chia pudding is similar to tapioca pudding and can be made in the same way chia water is made. To make it thicker, add more chia seeds and let the mixture soak longer.
You can make the pudding with juice or milk and then include flavorings such as vanilla and cocoa like in this recipe to make it tastier.
Chia pudding makes a delicious dish that can be eaten for breakfast, as a snack, or for dessert. If you don’t like the texture of the seeds in the pudding, try blending it to give it a smoother finish.
4. Chia in Smoothies
If you want to make your smoothie even more nutritious, then add some chia seeds.
You can add chia seeds to any smoothie recipe. First, soak the seeds to make a chia gel and soften them and then add it to your smoothie. You can add it to the finished product or add it before blending so it’s smoother.
You can also put the seeds in raw, although they will be grainy in the smoothie. It’s whatever your personal preference is.
5. Raw Chia Toppings
Although many people prefer to soak chia seeds before they eat them because it releases the flavor and makes them soft, you can eat them raw too.
Try grinding them up and sprinkling them on your smoothie or oatmeal to make a great, nutritious topping.
6. Chia Cereal
Credit: Oh She Glows
To try something a little different for breakfast, you can swap your usual cereal for chia cereal.
To make chia cereal, soak the seeds overnight in milk (or a milk substitute such as almond milk) and top it with nuts, fruit or spices like cinnamon.
This recipe uses mashed banana, milk and vanilla extract to make a delicious morning treat. It’s a bit of a mixture between oatmeal and cereal, which makes this breakfast not only nutritious but creative.
7. Chia Truffles
If you’re often in a hurry, you can use chia seeds to make a great on-the-go snack.
For a quick, easy, and unique homemade snack, try chia truffles like these. Recipes for chia truffles are often “no bake,” making them easier for people who hate to cook.
8. In a Stir Fry
You can also add chia seeds to savory dishes like stir fries that feature vegetables and spices.
Just add a tablespoon of seeds to your favorite stir-fry recipe, or you can try this recipe.
9. Added to a Salad
Chia seeds can be added to your salad to give it some texture and a healthy boost.
The seeds can be added to any salad. Simply mix them in with your salad leaves, along with any other nuts or toppings to give your salad extra crunch, and pour your dressing on top.
10. In Salad Dressing
If you’re looking to make your salad dressing healthier, look no further than chia seeds. Commercially prepared salad dressings are often loaded with sugar, so making your own salad dressing can be a great alternative to the limited options at the store.
Try this homemade lemon and chia dressing.
11. Baked in Bread
Credit: The Healthy Chef
It’s possible to add chia seeds to all sorts of recipes, including bread. You’ve probably seen breads before that feature a variety of nuts, seeds, and grains, and chia is usually one of them.
This recipe uses chia seeds with buckwheat to make a tasty, healthy bread.
12. As a Crispy Crumb Coating for Meat or Fish
A fun way to use chia seeds is as a coating for meat and fish. Instead of purely using bread crumb coating for your proteins, ground up the seeds into a fine powder and mix it with your usual bread crumbs or use it alone as a complete substitute.
13. Baked in Cakes
Cakes are usually high in fat and sugar. However, adding chia seeds can help improve their nutritional profiles while still allowing you to enjoy everything cakes have to offer.
Adding chia seeds to your cake mix will boost the fiber, protein and omega-3 content, and allow you to eat even more cake!
14. Mixed with Other Grains
Mixing chia seeds with other grains is a good way to combat the gooey texture of chia seeds after they have been soaked.
Simply mix the soaked seeds with a cup of cooked rice or quinoa and you’re good to go.
15. In Breakfast Bars
Breakfast bars can be very high in sugar, and some even contain as much sugar as candy bars. Instead of buying premade bars at the store, try making your own bars at home for a healthier alternative.
Chia seeds can be added to these recipes to make them even more nutritious.
Have a look at this, as well as this one and this one for some chia breakfast bar inspiration.
16. In Pancakes
If you like pancakes then you could try adding chia seeds to your pancake mix. Are you sensing the pattern of incorporating chia seeds into all sorts of powdery mixes?
There are some pancake recipe ideas here and here.
17. In Jam
Chia seeds can absorb ten times their dry weight in water, which makes them a great substitute for pectin in jam.
If you’ve made jam before, you know that pectin is quite bitter, so substituting pectin with chia seeds means that your jam won’t need a lot of added sugar to make it taste sweet.
Better yet, chia jam is much easier to make than traditional jam. Try this blueberry and chia jam spread, with no refined sugar.
18. Baked in Cookies
If you love cookies, then chia seeds can give your cookie recipe a nutritional boost.
Try these oatmeal and chia cookies or these simple chocolate chia cookies.
19. Chia Protein Bars
Similar to breakfast bars, many commercially prepared protein bars can be high in refined sugar and look more like a candy bar than a healthy snack to make them marketable.
Making your own chia-based protein bar is a healthy alternative to the eating store-bought ones.
There are even some low-carb friendly options, such as this one here.
20. In Soup or Gravy
Chia seeds can be a great replacement for flour when thickening stews or gravies.
Simply pre-soak the seeds to form a gel and mix it in to add thickness and no one will ever know.
21. As an Egg Substitute
If your dietary requirements or preferences mean that you avoid eggs, then chia seeds can help. They make a fantastic substitute for eggs in baked goods. That means that yes, chia seeds are vegan-friendly!
To substitute for 1 egg, soak 1 tablespoon of chia seeds in 3 tablespoons of water. Do this as necessary for all eggs required in a recipe.
22. Added to Dips
Credit: The Chia Co.
Chia seeds are versatile to cook with and can pretty much be added to any dip.
You can add them into homemade dip recipes like this one or you can stir the soaked seeds into your favorite store-bought version.
23. Baked in Homemade Muffins
Muffins are often eaten for breakfast or dessert, depending on their ingredients.
No matter what kind of muffin you’re making, whether it be sweet or savory, chia seeds can be added into both.
24. In Oatmeal
Adding chia seeds to oatmeal is one way of eating them that requires very little effort.
Simply prepare your oatmeal and stir in a tablespoon of whole or ground chia seeds.
25. In Yogurt
Chia seeds can make a great yogurt topping.
If you like a bit of texture, sprinkle them on the top whole or if you want to avoid the crunch, then mix in ground chia seeds.
26. To Make Crackers
Adding seeds to crackers isn’t a new idea, as lots of crackers contain seeds to give them extra texture and crunch.
Adding chia seeds to your crackers is a good way to include them in your diet.
27. As a Thickener for Homemade Burgers and Meatballs
If you use eggs or breadcrumbs to bind and thicken meatballs and burgers, you could consider trying chia seeds instead.
Try using 2 tablespoons of seeds per pound of meat in your usual meatball recipe. It’s a creative and healthy way to prepare your protein.
28. As a Homemade Energy Gel
Athletes looking for a homemade alternative to commercially produced energy gels could consider using a chia alternative.
You can buy chia seed-based gels or make your own using a recipe like this one.
29. Added to Tea
Adding chia seeds to drinks is an easy way to include them in your diet.
Soak a teaspoon of chia seeds in your tea for a short time. Initially they might float, but eventually they should sink and you can enjoy it.
30. To Make Tortillas
Soft tortillas can be eaten with a variety of fillings and are a delicious way to enjoy chia seeds. Most people don’t make their own tortillas, even though they can be easy to cook.
You can make your own like these or some stores carry them pre-made.
31. In Ice Cream or Ice Cream Pops
Chia seeds can also be added to your favorite treats like ice cream. You’ve probably seen beautiful popsicles featuring the seeds on Pinterest or tumblr.
You can blend and freeze chia puddings to make a smooth ice cream like this one or freeze them on sticks like this for a dairy-free alternative to ice cream.
32. To Make a Pizza Base
Chia seeds can be used to make a high-fiber, slightly crunchy pizza crust. Like tortillas, most people don’t make their own pizza crust but it can be highly rewarding to make it from scratch.
Simply make a chia seed-based dough like this one and add your toppings.
33. To Make Falafel
Falafel made with chia seeds can be a delicious and fun way to cook with chia seeds, especially for vegans and vegetarians who are looking for meat alternatives.
You can combine them with a variety of vegetables for flavor. Try this recipe.
34. In Homemade Granola
Credit: Making Thyme For Help
Making granola is really simple. You can use any mixture of seeds, nuts and oats you like. This easy recipe includes chia seeds.
If you don’t have time to make your own granola, there are plenty of chia seed-based granolas you can buy. Do your research before you make a trip to the store.
35. In Homemade Lemonade
Another interesting way to drink chia seeds is in homemade lemonade.
Soak 1.5 tablespoons (20 grams) of the seeds in 2 cups (480 ml) of cold water for a half hour. Then add the juice from one lemon and the sweetener of your choice.
You can also experiment with adding extra flavors like cucumber and watermelon to spice up the texture and flavor a bit.