For the last few years, I’ve been doing a lot of research about nutrition and working to clean up my eating habits. There’s a list of things that I’ve tried to cut out of my diet – things like high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, modified food starches, and other synthetic chemicals.
But with all my focus on cutting things out, I neglected to add things back in to my diet. Eating nourishing, nutrient dense foods is just as important as cutting out the processed junk. Recently I’ve assessed my diet and tried to find things that I have been missing.
My first focus was on adding healthy fats rather than processed, hydrogenated oils. I’ve added coconut oil, olive oil, grass-fed organic butter, and avocados as a regular part of my diet. I’ve also read a lot about the importance of gelatin, so I’ve added a lot of homemade bone broth and gelatin powder. In addition to these changes, I’ve also tried to eat more organic produce, green veggies, and farm fresh eggs.
My newest addition to my diet has been the nutrient dense chia seeds. According to Wellness Mama:
Not only are they gluten/grain free naturally, but one tablespoon of Chia Seeds has more calcium than a glass of milk, more Omega-3s than Salmon, and more antioxidants than blueberries. Perfect? Almost… they do get stuck in your teeth if you chew them plain (ask me how I know that!).
They also give you tons of energy but also won’t keep you awake at night and are supposed to be great for weight loss. Because they can absorb many times their size/weight in liquid, they are great for preventing dehydration during exercise or exposure to heat.
I’ve heard about the health benefits of chia seeds for awhile now, but I’ve never actually bought any to have around the house…until now! I finally decided to give these little superfoods a try so I bought a big bag of Nature’s Intent Organic Chia Seeds from Costco last week.
Since I bought a giant bag of these things, I’ve been searching Pinterest for different ways to use them. In the first week, I think I’ve tried five or more different chia seed recipes. My husband would probably say I’ve gone a little chia-crazy!
Here are the different recipes/concoctions I’ve tried this week:
Coconut Banana Chia Smoothie
I made this smoothie as a pre-workout snack before my barre class at my new gym. I’m not used to the hour long workout, so I needed something to sustain me and keep me hydrated through my workout. This did the trick!
I blended 1 cup of coconut water, 1 frozen banana, 1/4 cup of chia seeds, and a touch of honey. I let the chia seeds soak in the coconut water for about 15 minutes before I blended everything together to let them become more gelatinous.
Chia Seed Banana Bread
I found this recipe from The Savvy Naturalista on Pinterest. I love banana bread, so when I found a way to add chia seeds to it, I figured it had to be a yummy way to add these little super seeds into my diet. The bread was really good, but the seeds are definitely noticeable. I really didn’t mind the extra texture, but some people might prefer just regular banana bread. But as far as adding a little health boost, this is a delicious way to do it.
Coconut Chia Pudding
I can’t quite remember where I read about this coconut chia pudding, but it’s so easy it can barely even be called a recipe. I mixed 1 1/2 cups of coconut milk with 1/3 cup chia seeds and 1/4 cup maple syrup. Then I put it in a sealed container in the fridge overnight to let it set. Some people said they blended the pudding after it set. I tried it both ways and I really preferred it unblended.
Greek yogurt with Chia Seeds and Berries
This one was super easy. We usually have Chobani greek yogurt cups in our fridge so one evening I opened one up and put the yogurt in a mason jar. Then I mixed in 2 Tablespoons of chia seeds and topped it with some frozen berries. Then I put the lid on, threw it in the fridge, and voila! Breakfast was ready when I woke up the next morning!
Oatmeal Chia Breakfast Cookies
This recipe is also from The Savvy Naturalista. Apparently she loves chia seeds as much as I do! I made a double batch of these yummy cookies the other evening when I was in the mood to do some baking. Even though the recipe doesn’t call for it, I may have added a few Ghirardelli dark chocolate baking chips to make them more of a dessert than a breakfast. And let’s be honest, most cookie recipes are greatly improved with the addition of a little dark chocolate. To me, these cookies tasted the best when they were right out of the oven. Since they are made using applesauce, I started to notice that taste coming through the longer they sat on my counter. It wasn’t bad – I just preferred them right out of the oven.