2012 Superfood: Chia

Photo credit: Gabriella Ruellan

One of the superfoods for 2012 that have been getting a lot of buzz are chia seeds. Yep, this is the same chia as the terra cotta pets that are popular holiday novelty gifts. Now, you can find bags of the seeds at your local health food store. I’ve been eating them for a couple years because of their amazing benefits. Nutritionist Lisa Suriano says that by weight, the seeds have more Omega 3s than salmon and more fiber than a bowl of oatmeal. The seeds are very small and expand with a gel-like coating when they get wet. They don’t have a particular taste, but add a little crunch as a topping when they are dry.

The easiest way to eat chia seeds is to sprinkle them over a salad or bowl of oatmeal. And because they will expand in your stomach, Chia seeds are sometimes used to help keep you full.

You can also expand them before eating. One of my favorite ways to eat the expanded seeds is by mixing them with low-fat coconut milk and agave syrup. You soak the seeds in the milk for at least a half hour and it creates a rice-pudding like consistency. This is a very low-glycemic snack that appeases my sweet tooth. The coconut milk adds calories and some fat, so I don’t make this too often. If you’re like me and like specific measures, here’s a link to the recipe.

Health Warrior Chia Bars

By far the most convenient way to get your chia seeds are in protein bars. Health Warrior Chia bars are only 100 calories and taste pretty good. Right now they have a peanut butter & chocolate flavored bar, with plans to add acai berry and coconut flavors soon. I found them at my local health food store and was really impressed with the non-processed ingredients.