Remember that old Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia Pet commercial? I can totally hear that jingle playing in my mind each time I sprinkle those seeds into my smoothies or on my salad. As you can imagine, I am always browsing grocery aisles in search of new products and healthy food ideas. I recall the first time I saw chia seeds and thought, for real — You can eat the chia pet?!? The answer is a qualified and resounding yes. In fact, you really need to be eating these seeds.

Chia Uses and Recipe Ideas | Superfood| KristenBentson.comSources of omega-3 fats in our “western” diet are pretty limited (come on now–how much fatty fish, flax, hemp, and pumpkin seeds are you eating?). Chia is a great way to boost your intake of those essential fats that will reduce inflammation. In fact, chia is thought to be one of the highest (if not the highest) concentration of plant based omega-3s.

Not yet impressed? Okay, try this on for size—Chia seeds are a good source of protein. People are always asking me to list the best plant-based sources for protein, and I’ll tell you now, chia is toward the top. These seeds are also fabulously full of fiber, rich in antioxidants (which also stabilizes the shelf life and keeps them from readily going rancid), contain calcium, potassium, b vitamins, zinc, boron, phosphorus, iron and magnesium. Ch-Ch-Ch-Superfood!!

Other cool facts you need to know about chia: for those of you who are intolerant, chia seeds are gluten free. Unlike flax, you can eat the seed whole (you don’t have to mill/grind it to extract the health benefits). And perhaps most importantly, the taste of these seeds is pretty benign. They are nutty and mild. You can add the whole seeds to your salads, smoothies, baked goods, soups, or yogurt. My new favorite way to eat chia is to create a pudding. Honestly, it is so easy and tastes fabulous.

These two simple recipes will get you eating (and loving) chia: Check out Mango Banana Chia Smoothies and Chocolate Coconut Chia Pudding. (Have more chia uses or recipe ideas? Please share! Post them to the YouAnew Lifestyle Nutrition Facebook Page).

Change your meals, change your life! Eat real food, feel real good. Let’s do it!

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