Seeds are often overlooked in our food culture today, written off as unimportant add-ons or a disposable food accessory. Whether strewn around a baseball dugout, pushed aside in favor of M&Ms in your bag of trail mix (let’s not lie to ourselves), or simply sprinkled on top of a bagel, seeds largely remain on the periphery of traditional food creations.
But now, enter the chia seed: packed with omega-3 fatty acids, carbohydrates, protein, antioxidants, calcium, and fiber, it remains the one of the most nutrient-dense particles our bodies can digest. Basically, if bird-feeders were packed with these, your backyard blue jays would be jacked AF. (This also applies to humans: shoutout to my ageless mom for her 1st place finish in a 5k last week, which she attributes solely to her pre-race chia salad.)
While chia seeds have recently been in the news as a trendy “superfood,” I am not here to call them a hoax (better luck next time, kale). In fact, chia’s ceaseless health benefits are not even the most marketable part of the seed. Its true strength rests in its versatility. These tiny little seeds can be added into both sweet and savory recipes for morning, noon, and night, or even nursed in a drink throughout the day. Below, I’ve broken down the ways in which you can fortify your diet to get you through a long day of classes.
There’s no better way jumpstart your metabolism and fuel your body for the coming day than with a handful of chia seeds. If you’re in a rush, you can take an extra 30 seconds to simply sprinkle them on top of a fruit salad, granola, or your cereal of choice. If you have more time, treat yourself to a slice of toast topped with homemade jam oozing with omega-3.
You’re feeling sluggish, it’s 1 pm and you still have another lecture to sit through, plus an afternoon workout. Your body is calling out for energy. But before you turn to the coffee, look to your bag of chia seeds. Add texture to your salad by sprinkling some atop your leafy greens, accompanied with a healthy dose of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Or, add a few tablespoons and create a power-smoothie.
Just when you think you can pigeonhole chia (ya, pun intended) as a simple topping or smoothie booster, don’t. They can up their game. Vegan readers may be aware that chia can replace eggs in many recipes, or even be used as a thickener in savory sauces. And, after a long day, you can reward yourself with dessert, without bingeing on sugar and calories. Instead, whip up a delicious mango variation of chia seed pudding.
My final ode to chia lies in its cleansing ability. A popular pairing with kombucha, you can enjoy the “runner’s food” submerged in fermented tea and help flush toxins out of your body. If you don’t have time to run to a store to buy the drink (I highly recommend GT’s Kombucha), or have time to ferment tea yourself, you can simply add chia to your water bottle for energy-infused h20.
Check out these chia seed recipes if you’re craving more chia: