By now, you’ve heard about chia as the hot new healthy ingredient. But you probably have no idea what do with it. You aren’t alone. For many of us, our experience with chia is limited to Chia Pets, those kitschy animal-shaped lawn ornaments that were popular several years ago. But when eaten, chia seeds are a nutritional no-brainer, loaded with omega-3 fatty acids. And since they can be eaten raw, they’re an easy way to up the health factor of just about any meal.
Chia is an ancient seed that dates back to the Aztecs, who used it as a source of energy and endurance. The word chia is used to describe two plants, salvia hispanica and salvia columbariae and is mainly grown in Central and South America. It can be eaten whole or ground up and added to baked goods and other products. As interest in the health benefits of chia grows, various food brands have been adding chia to their products. Here, some tasty ways to add a little chia to your diet.
New York Superfoods Chia Peanut Butter
On its own, natural peanut butter is a great source of protein, but add some chia seeds to it and you’ve got a snack loaded with fiber and omega-3s—perfect for a before work out bite. New York Superfood’s version of chia peanut butters are free of preservatives and hydrogenated oils and come in six unique flavors such as Manhattan Mud (blended with vegan dark chocolate) Tribeccah Nectar (with agave nectar) and Boulder Heat (with paprika).
Salba Smart Tortilla Chips and Boost packets
Salba chia is a trademarked version of chia grown in Peru under strictly controlled conditions to ensure nutritional consistency. Salba Smart is a line of organic snack foods that contain this form of chia. Their tortilla chips, available in white, blue and yellow corn, are especially tasty, and the company recently launched Boost packets, a 0.5-ounce serving of Salba seeds, that can be sprinkled onto yogurt, cereal or into smoothies.
Nature’s Path Chia Plus Frozen Waffles
Try these organic breakfast waffles, packed with chia seeds, quinoa and amaranth. They’re also gluten free!
Mamma Chia Vitality Beverages
These delicious organic drinks—the first chia-based beverage on the market—are gluten free and full of protein, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids. The consistency reminded me of aloe drinks (I am thinking about freezing them into ice pops for my one-year-old!) Sweetened with agave nectar, the drinks are available in nine flavors including Blackberry Hibiscus, Cherry Lime and Pomegranate Mint. Plus, Mamma Chia donates one percent of their gross sales to farmers and community groups that build healthy local food systems.
KIND Healthy Grains Maple Walnut Clusters with Chia & Quinoa While I’m a fan of making my own granola, KIND’s version is a worthy splurge. Loaded with 300mg of omega-3 fatty acids and 17g of whole grains per serving, breakfast doesn’t get much healthier. Oh and it tastes pretty good too!
Happy Family Happy Tot Pouches
These squeezable, organic fruit and vegetable packets contain Salba chia, and are a great way to get this ancient grain into your baby or toddler’s diet! Available in six flavor combinations.