First it’s kale, then it’s brussel sprouts, now chia is the trendy food item popping up everywhere. Have you heard of chia seeds? Certainly not new, this superfood dates back to Mexico around 1000 B.C.

Chia seeds have several health benefits:

  • Antioxidants. The more antioxidants we consume, the more we protect our bodies from the effects of free radicals. Not only are antioxidants good for our cells, they are great for skin, too.
  • Fiber. Many people find it hard to get enough fiber in their diets. A mere 2 tablespoons of chia seeds contains about 10 grams of fiber, so it’s a great diet boost. Since the seeds expand into a gel-like substance when mixed with liquid, chia seeds are said to keep you feeling full longer, too.
  • Protein. Chia has about 4 grams of protein for the 2 tablespoon serving. While not a lot, many people like making sure they get protein  every meal.
  • Calcium. Believe it or not, chia seeds have even more calcium than milk, taken ounce per ounce! Some people are lactose intolerant or try to avoid dairy, so chia is a great source of this necessary mineral.
  • Omega 3 health boost. Not everyone eats fatty fish like salmon, so chia seeds can give you an omega boost.

Chia seeds are easy to use and extremely versatile. They can be eaten whole or ground and added to recipes. Most people recommend soaking chia seeds before adding to certain dishes, but they are often added to smoothies, soups, or drinks without soaking first. The longer the seeds sit in a liquid, the more gelatinous they become, so drink quickly if you don’t want your drink to solidify. Chia has a nut like flavor, but it’s not very strong. Here are just a few ways you can add chia seeds to your diet:

  • Make a lemon pull apart bread.
  • Toss them in a smoothie.
  • Add seeds to baked goods like muffins and lemon bread.
  • Sprinkle chia seeds over fruit salad or add to açaí bowls.
  • Make a chia seed pudding.
  • Add chia seeds to oatmeal.
  • Bake seeds into homemade energy bars or trail mix.
  • Mix with quinoa or pasta salads.
  • Add a tablespoon to meatballs or meatloaf.

The ideas are endless!

Have you tried chia seeds? What are your favorite ways to add them to your diet?