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When I was a little girl I begged for a Chia Pet at every holiday. Every year I was disappointed when one didn’t appear under our Christmas tree or at my birthday celebration in the spring. Little did I know that my mom could never find one, which is why I never had the pleasure of growing a furry chia cat or a Mr. T head.
Fast forward 20-something years and suddenly I’m hearing about chia seeds everywhere. They’re being hailed as a superfood but all I could think about when I heard the name was the Chia Pet I wanted so badly so many years ago. The little black and white seeds look nothing like those Chia Pets, but they share a name…surely there had to be a link. And there is!
Chia seeds are the same thing that came in the package in those silly Chia pets!
Yup—those seed packets are technically edible! (But don’t actually eat them. They’re not food-grade chia seeds.)
So what is chia anyway?
Chia is a seed that comes from the Salvia hispanica plant, which is related to mint. The seeds are easily digested, unlike most seeds which have to be broken down or chewed before they can be digested. And, ounce for ounce, chia seeds pack quite a nutritious punch.
Chia seeds are considered a superfood because of just how good they are for you. They’re almost the perfect food. They’re an unprocessed whole grain and they’re high in nutrients but low in calories. They’re full of antioxidants and high in fiber and they also contain a good amount of protein, which helps keep you fuller for longer. And, they’re high in omega-3 fatty acids.
Chia seeds are very easy to incorporate into your meals. They have a mild taste so you can add them to pretty much anything and they’re hardly noticeable. But, you still get all those health benefits!
What can you do with them?
At breakfast, sprinkle them on your oatmeal or mix them in with yogurt. When chia seeds are added to liquid they absorb water and become gel-like so don’t worry about crunching your way through your breakfast!
At lunch or dinner, add them to a salad or to salad dressing, mix them into brown rice, or add them to soup. For a snack, toss a teaspoonful into a smoothie or try this delicious chia pudding. You won’t even know the chia seeds are in there! They can also serve as a binder (and egg replacement) like in our Quinoa Veggie Burgers.