If all that comes to mind when you think chia is the potted “chia pet,” think again.
There’s so much more to the chia seed and so many reasons it deserves a place in your pantry. Long revered by ancient cultures for its nutritional profile, the tiny chia seed has made a big comeback in recent years, and for good reason. They’re the perfect seed to add to your diet and throw in your travel blender.
These teeny dark seeds have roots going way back to ancient times, where they were used in Mayan and Aztek culture and heralded as a superfood, well before superfoods were a thing. They earned their praise because of the concentrated dose of energy and stamina they provided to ancient warriors.
Feeling a little sluggish and in need of a boost to get through your modern-day life? The name itself means “strength” in the Mayan language, and the tiny seeds were revered as medicine and thought of as more valuable than gold. Just add some chia seeds to a portable blender bottle with some fruit and milk, and enjoy nature’s energy drink.
Now widely available in grocery and health food stores, these South American and Mexican seeds pack a punch with 2 tablespoons providing 4 grams of protein (2 x more than any other seed, ounce per ounce), 11 gram of fiber (keeping you fuller between meals,) and a laundry list of other good-for-you vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Worried about your calcium intake? Chia seeds contain more than milk!
The flavor of chia seeds is mild and nutty, and they can provide a delightful crunch to smoothies. If left to soak in liquid, they expand and lend a gel texture similar to that of tapioca pudding, making them super versatile to use in a variety of recipes.
Ready to add chia seeds into your regular diet? Here are a few great ways to include them in some super-quick, 1-minute smoothies you can blend up in your mini blender!
Banana Chocolate Chia Smoothie
1 ½ cup cashew or almond milk
1 ripe banana
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 scoop of your favorite chocolate protein powder, or 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
Blend all ingredients in your portable blender, adding more milk if you’d like a thinner consistency, and ice if you’d prefer your smoothie chilled. Serve with a dash of cinnamon on top for an extra kick.
Pineapple Mango Chia Smoothie
1 ½ cup plant milk of choice
1 cup fresh or frozen mango chunks
½ cup fresh or frozen pineapple chunks
2 tablespoons chia seeds
Add all ingredients to your portable blender and add ice if you’re using fresh instead of frozen fruit. Blend until smooth and drink up!
Super-Berry Chia Smoothie
½ cup blueberries
½ cup cherries
1 cup almond or soy milk
1 tablespoon chia seeds
Add chia seeds to milk and let sit for 10-15 minutes, so they can soak up the liquid and acquire a gel-like texture. Add all ingredients to your portable Blender, blend until smooth, and enjoy!
Chia seeds got their start in ancient times, but are the perfect fuel-source for us modern day health warriors too. Enjoy these smoothie recipes or mix it up by adding them to baked goods, oatmeal, or on top of yogurt!