Quelle horreur! Am I really asking you to eat seeds that we know germinate into inanimate pets? Us Gen-X’ers have all seen this infomercial enough to ensure that it is forever seared in our brains.
Marty McFly it to 2012 and ch-ch-ch-chia, my friends, have made the leap from “strange things we have coveted” to the newest, most of-the-moment athletic super sidekick. This superfood is in every ultra-athlete’s arsenal.
As Christopher McDougall describes in his book about ultra-distance runners, Born to Run, "In terms of nutritional content, a tablespoon of chia is like a smoothie made from salmon, spinach and human growth hormone." But I assure you, it tastes MUCH better than that appetizing metaphor.
I saw chia “shots” at Whole Foods the other day. For a mere $3 an ounce (a lofty enough price to draw Wall Street’s interest) you can give yourself a shot of protein, fiber and omega-3s of such mythic proportions that it makes that other seed (see: hemp) seem sooooo '70s. Chia seeds are definitely more Volt than Birkenstocks.
“Chia shots” packaging aside, the seeds are actually getting more affordable. They are available at Trader Joe’s and a number of online stores at good prices.
Why should you try chia seeds?
Let’s compare it ounce for ounce with turkey:
- Protein: Chia – 4 g. / Turkey – 5 g.
- Fiber: Chia – 11 g. / Turkey – Nada, Zero, Zilch
- Omega-3: Chia – 4915 mg. / Turkey – 7 mg.
- Can it be dessert?: Chia – YES / Turkey – hellz, no.
I could go on and on about the other nutrients in chia seeds. But I’ll stop and talk about how yummy it is when you make it into a pudding. Tapioca who? Make as much of it into a superdelicious pudding and feel downright RIGHTEOUS as you eat more than the serving size many times over. Can’t say that about the pudding you bought in 100 calorie packs thinking you could actually stop at one pack.
Yes, pudding-style is my favorite way to make it. No cooking required. Chia seeds gel in liquid. I like to have it in a parfait, layered with whatever fruit I have and some crunchy cereal or granola. Have this for breakfast and get a boost that will take you through the day. In fact, when my kids eat this, I can almost see their superhero powers forming with each bite. There is nothing like hearing, “You’re giving us dessert for breakfast?!? We love you!”
And I get to start my day with something in a wine glass.
Chia Pudding Parfait
Yield: Serves 4
- 1/3 cup chia seeds
- 1 cup almond milk or milk of choice
- 2 T maple syrup
- 1 t vanilla
- 2 cups sliced fruit
- 1 cup granola or Ezekiel cereal
Mix all ingredients until well combined. Refrigerate until it sets (about an hour). You can increase the firmness of the pudding by adding more seeds.
To serve: In 4 wine glasses (why not?!?) place some fruit in the bottom of a cup, sprinkle some granola on top, spread a layer of chia pudding and repeat until you use everything up!
Want a CHOCOLATE VERSION?? My kids show you how to make it. Recipe here.