Chia seeds, like quinoa are an ancient seed native to the Americans and have been used by indegenous people for hundreds of years. They have really grown in mainstream popularity in the past few decades. First we saw the seeds come into our culture sprouted on terra cotta animals to make the cha-cha-cha Chia Pets, and more recently as an “SUPERFOOD.”
I always wonder if there is a deciding board sitting somewhere determining which foods get granted superfood status! Chia is definitely highly nutritous, so I would concur with the title in this case. Chia is a great source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, high in fiber, and a plant based protien source. It has quite a few vitamins and minerals, and is high in antioxidants. Chia seeds benefits include improved skin, digestion, and have been shown to promote heart health by raising good cholesterol…AMAZING!
Chia seeds can be eaten fresh, or soaked. Since they absorb 10 times their weight in water, they can be dehydrating if they are eaten fresh. You can soak them in water for a couple of hours before adding them to a smoothie, or you can use them to make chia pudding. This is my recent favorite! It is one of the tastiest and easiest ways to get these seeds into your diet.
I tried a couple of recipes for chia pudding, but this one from my friend Ember’s blog, is my favorite so far. It is the coconut milk that makes all of the difference. She uses full fat canned coconut milk, but I used the lite kind, and it was still perfect! I am all about eating a small amount of healthy fat, but I limit my intake. A popular saying in the vegan community is “the fat you eat is the fat you wear,” so I try to make sure to limit my fats, and since the chia is already pretty high in fat I used light coconut milk.
I have been making this ahead of time, popping it in the fridge for anywhere from 4 hours to overnight. It is always so great to have something healthy in the fridge that I can grab when I am short on time. The only thing that makes chia pudding even better is layering it with a smoothie filled with more fresh fruit and superfoods. You can play around with this recipe, using whatever smoothie you are into at the moment. I have been sticking to berries lately because I always have them on hand, but pineapple or mango would work really well here too with the coconut.
What you will need:
- 2 heaping tablespoons chia seeds
- 1/2 cup light caned coconut milk
- 1/2 banana, frozen
- 1/2 cup frozen berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries or a mix)
- 1/2 cup spinach
- 1 cup coconut water
Place the chia seends and coconut milk into a small jar and refridgerate for at least 4 hours so that the chia seeds have absorbed the milk and it is the consistency of pudding. When you are ready to serve, add the remaining ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Now, either layer the smoothie and chia pudding in a cup or just add a little of the smoothie to the jar with the chia pudding. Top with fresh fruit and extra chia or hemp seeds if desired.