Chia seeds…love them or hate them, they are packed full of micro-nutrients. While chia seeds are a relatively new food to the United States, they sustained ancient Mayan and Aztec cultures for generations. In fact, in the ancient Mayan language, the word “chia” literally translates to “strength”. How great is that? Food should make us strong. And stable. And restore our vitality. And be genetic building blocks to produce other, stable, strong, healthy, whole, and vital offspring. According to the USDA, this is how a single ounce of chia seeds help keep folks healthy today:
- Fiber: 11 grams.
- Protein: 4 grams.
- Fat: 9 grams (5 of which are Omega-3s).
- Calcium: 18% of the RDA.
- Manganese: 30% of the RDA.
- Magnesium: 30% of the RDA.
- Phosphorus: 27% of the RDA.
- Decent additional amounts of Zinc, Vitamin B3 (Niacin), Potassium, Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) and Vitamin B2.
So, why are we not eating chia seeds by the handful?
First off, they’re seeds. They are tiny and get stuck in your teeth and taste like seeds. Not like pumpkin seeds, which are pretty flavorful when roasted. These taste…earthy. Earthy isn’t bad, it’s just not always palatable as a stand-alone flavor. Chia seeds also absorb liquid, which makes them challenging to chew. The good news is, they are very easy to add to salads, side dishes, main dishes, drinks and desserts. They quickly take on the flavor of other foods they are prepared with, and trade in their earthy flavor without any resentment.
My favorite vehicle for this nutrient-dense food is a no-cook, dairy-free pudding. It’s so simple, ridiculously satisfying, easy to prepare, and appeals to many palates. My dad loves tapioca pudding, and I originally created this for him. My young nieces also like it, so I consider this a multi-generational food win. It is also easy to mak
- 1 can full-fat coconut milk
- 1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 1/4 cup high quality unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup coconut crystals or other low-glycemic sweetener
- 1/4 cup chia seeds
- 1 Tbsp raw honey
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 10-15 drops vanilla stevia (optional)
- Mix everything together until well-combined.
- Chill for 2-3 hours, or up to 4 days.
*You can omit the chia seeds. Of course, then this will just be Pudding, not Chia Seed Pudding. If you do omit the seeds, also omit the almond milk. Chia absorbs moisture and thickens things up, so your pudding won’t hold up otherwise. It will look more like cold, chocolate coconut soup.
**You can also put the pudding in popsicle molds, which is delicious and will last much longer.