Chia seeds have risen in popularity in recent years, popping up on blogs, juiceries, and even in protein bars. However, despite their ubiquitousness, most people are lost when it comes to how to use chia seeds. Although they might seem intimidating, chia seeds are quite easy to use, and they can be included in a wide range of recipes to help boost the health of your meals without compromising taste.
So why use chia seeds? Not only can they be a tasty component in breakfasts, snacks, desserts, and even drinks, they also are loaded with important nutrients that can benefit all aspects of your health. They might be small, but they provide important nutrients.
First, chia seeds are high in antioxidants, which means they may help with everything from protecting against cancer to improving your skin. They’re also rich in fiber: one serving of chia seeds can provide half the recommended fiber intake for the day. This can help improve your heart health, fight the onset of diabetes, and even boost your energy. Additionally, both white chia seeds and black chia seeds are also rich in protein and omega 3 fatty acid, which makes them a great choice for boosting meals that otherwise wouldn’t be filled with much protein or healthy fats.
There’s no reason to be scared off by this little superfood, as there are plenty of easy chia seed recipes anyone can do. Once you get the hang of it, you might find that you want to add chia seeds to all your meals. If you’re feeling lost, have no fear. Here are some of our favorite recipes that utilize chia seeds.
Overnight Chia Pudding
If you’re not sure where to begin, a chia pudding recipe is one of the best ways to start. It’s easy to make, can be made with many different ingredients, and takes just 5 minutes to prepare. Chia seed pudding usually begins with just milk and chia seeds as a base. These two items mix together to create a thick “pudding” once the chia seeds expand.
You can spruce up your chia seed pudding by mixing in other foods like cocoa powder, vanilla, nuts, berries, and more. Just mix overnight, and then in the morning, your pudding is all ready. This Chia Seed Protein Pudding gets an added boost of protein from Bob’s Red Mill Vanilla Protein Powder Nutritional Booster, and it gets its flavor from peaches, raspberries, almonds, and pecans. Prep this pudding on Sunday nights for an easy breakfast or snack to enjoy throughout the week.
Chia Chocolate Mousse
Making a chocolate mousse seems like a task fit only for a professional chef, but it’s quite easy to make your own chia-filled dairy free mousse at home—and it doesn’t have to be filled with heavy, unhealthy ingredients. This vegan Chia Chocolate Mousse from The Iron You is made from chia seeds, fresh or canned coconut milk, sliced banana, and cocoa powder and blended up to create a decadent and luscious chocolate treat. Sounds simple, but the result is a thick and creamy dessert that is packed with both protein and fiber. Who knew such a decadent dessert could end up being so healthy?
Chia Seed Muffins
Chia seeds can be baked into all sorts of baked goods and muffins are no exception. Since muffins are such a breakfast staple, adding them to your morning pastry can help add some chia seed nutrients to the start of your day. These Chia Seed Muffins are made with just a few staples, including gluten free flour, eggs, and soy milk.
They get their unique flavor from the addition of almond extract and the chia seeds, which adds a special texture to the muffins. You get a little crunch, but the chia seeds also expand and create a moistness that makes these muffins melt in your mouth. They not only help the flavor, but these seeds add a healthy dose of protein, fiber, and healthy fats.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Chia Balls
Energy balls have been all the rage lately, and for a good reason. These little snacks might be bite-sized, but they’re packed with a punch, and chia seeds help to steal the show with their unique and enjoyable texture.
These Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Chia Balls are made with rolled oats, honey, peanut butter, chocolate chips, and chia seeds, which makes these balls loaded with the ultimate balance of healthy fats, protein, and fiber—not to mention that classic combination of peanut butter and chocolate is sure to hit the spot. These balls are great when you’re craving cookie dough, so instead of hitting the tub with a giant spoon, whip up some of these chia balls for a fun and healthy way to ingest this superfood.
Spinach & Strawberry Chia Smoothie
Chia seeds are a great nutritional booster, which makes them an excellent choice for adding to smoothies. What do chia seeds taste like? They are neutral in flavor, they can be added to any type of drink without compromising taste. Plus, throwing in white chia seeds or black chia seeds requires minimal effort, but can help take your smoothies to the next level.
They help make your morning drink more nutritious while adding texture to your smoothie to help add some thickness. This Spinach and Strawberry Smoothie is the ultimate protein-filled breakfast. It’s loaded with almond milk, chia seeds, greek yogurt/ yogurt, strawberries, and honey, and its sweetness is balanced out with the addition of spinach to ensure you’re getting in your daily dose of greens.
Caramelized Banana & Chia Pancakes
Pancakes are already delicious on their own but add in some chia seeds, and you have the ultimate power breakfast that can’t be rivaled. Get your fill of chia seeds right at the start of the day by making these Caramelized Banana & Chia Pancakes.
These sweet, banana-filled pancakes are light and fluffy, just the way pancakes should be, but the chia seeds add a nicely contrasting crunch for a more sophisticated flavor. Just mix the seeds into your favorite chia seed pancakes or any other pancake recipe, and you’ll never go a day without these nutrient-loaded seeds.
Carob Chia Seed Bubble Tea
Bubble tea is typically made with tapioca balls, but you can make a version of this special tea using chia seeds instead. Since chia seeds expand when in liquid and get a gooey, gel-like texture, they’re the perfect ingredient for a healthified bubble tea.
This Carob Chia Seed Bubble Tea is made with chia seeds, toasted carob powder, sugar, tea, almond milk, and strawberries for a refreshing drink that can help boost your energy. Soaking the chia seeds ahead of time helps them expand so that they create the perfect texture for a bubble tea drink. Any tea can be used here, including black tea, green tea, white tea, or even a fruit variety. The combination of the caffeine from the tea and the nutrients in the chia seeds can help perk you up when you start to feel fatigued.
Chia Cranberry Sauce
There’s always a time for chia seeds, and the holidays are no exception. Whether you’re making a cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving or just as a sweet addition to a regular meal, you can spruce up the dish by adding some chia seeds. This Chia Cranberry Sauce is made with your typical ingredients—cranberries, sugar, and orange zest—but it also calls for chia seeds, which helps thicken up the texture and add in some nutrients for a healthier topping.
Cauliflower Chia Baked Falafel
Chia seeds don’t have to be used in just sweet dishes; they work well with savory dishes as well. This Cauliflower Chia Baked Falafel is a protein-and-fiber-filled powerhouse, thanks to its super nutritious ingredients. Made with cauliflower, onion, chickpeas, chia seeds, rolled oats, and turmeric, these falafel bites can help you satisfy your craving for Middle Eastern food without feeling like you have to get takeout. They’re made with all clean ingredients and although they are plant-based, they’re still overflowing with nutrients, making them a great choice for lunch or dinner.
Baked Chia Bagels
We didn’t think bagels could get any better until chia seeds came into play. This Baked Chia Bagels recipe uses chia seeds in two ways: first as a substitute for eggs, and second as a garnish. By mixing chia seeds with water, you can use this superfood as an egg replacement to help bind your bagel together, which is a great option if you’re plant-based or vegan. Chia seeds are also added as a topping to the bagel to help add in some crunch to the seasoning. Bagels may not be normally thought of as a health food, but these vegan and gluten free bagels are a game changer, thanks to the addition of the heart-healthy and protein-rich chia seeds.
There are plenty of ways to enjoy chia seeds, whether you’re mixing them into your breakfast, adding them to baked goods and bread, or simply tossing them into your morning smoothie. The more you experiment, the more creative ways you’ll find to include chia seeds in every meal.