Chia seeds are one of the most nutrient-dense foods in existence. A three-tablespoon serving has more than twice the iron as a cup of spinach, as much potassium as a banana, twice the fiber of a cup of oatmeal, and the antioxidants of a serving of blueberries.
Chia seeds are native and central Mexico as well as Guatemala and come from a flowering plant called Salvia hispanica. Legend has it that the renowned Tarahumara (translation: "those who run fast") ultra-endurance runners of Mexico fuel their epic feats with a mixture of chia seeds and water.
But performance benefits of chia seeds aren’t limited to running. They also can help regulate blood sugar. The gelling action of the seed, along with its unique combination of soluble and insoluble fiber, combine to slow your body’s conversion of starches into sugars. If you eat chia with a meal, it will help transform your food into a constant, steady energy rather than a series of ups and downs that wear you out.
Here are six great chia recipes to fuel your fitness.
Berry Chia Smoothie
Ingredients - 1 banana, frozen - 1 cup frozen mixed berries - 2 tablespoons chia seeds - ½ cup Greek yogurt, plain, 0% - ½ to 1 cup water (or to desired consistency)
Directions 1. Add banana, mixed berries, chia seeds, Greek yogurt, and water to blender. 2. Blend for 15 to 20 seconds. 3. If consistency is too thick for your liking, add more water and re-blend. 4. Pour into a glass and enjoy!
Chocolate Chia Smoothie
Ingredients - 1 banana, frozen - 1 tablespoon chia seeds - 1 tablespoon almond butter - 1 teaspoon cocoa powder - 1½ cups coconut water
Directions 1. Add banana, almond butter, chia seeds, cocoa powder, and coconut water to blender. 2. Blend for 15 to 20 seconds. 3. Pour into a glass and enjoy!
Mango Chia Smoothie
Ingredients - ½ cup frozen mango - 1 banana - 1½ cups almond milk, unsweetened - 2 tbsp chia seeds
Directions 1. Blend all ingredients together in blender for 15 to 20 seconds. 2. Pour into a glass and enjoy.
Buckwheat Chia Pancakes
Ingredients - 1 cup buckwheat flour - 1 egg - 2 tablespoons chia seeds - 2 tablespoons cacao powder - 2 tablespoons cacao chips (optional) - 2 tablespoons maple sugar (optional) - 1 tablespoon baking powder - 1 cup almond milk - 1 tablespoon coconut oil for cooking
Directions 1. Oil up skillet or pan with coconut oil. 2. Mix ingredients in bowl. 3. Pour pancake-size amount of batter on skillet or pan. 4. Flip pancakes (usually they are ready right after any small bubbles form and pop). 5. Serve with honey or maple syrup.
Quinoa Chia Porridge
Ingredients - ¼ cup quinoa (dry) - 2 tbsp chia seeds - 1 tbsp maple syrup - dash of cinnamon - dash of sea salt - Fruit or berries (optional) - Coconut milk, coconut beverage, or almond milk (optional)
Directions 1. Cook quinoa in 2 parts water (1/2 cup) to 1 part quinoa. Bring to boil first, then transfer to simmer, covered, for 10 to 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. 2. Add chia seeds, maple syrup, cinnamon, and sea salt. Stir everything together. 3. Add fruit and milk to your liking. Relish in your hearty Spartan warrior breakfast!
Kiwi Chia Pudding
Ingredients - 2 kiwis - 1 tablespoon chia seeds - 2 tablespoons water
Directions 1. Peel kiwis. 2. Blend ingredients. 3. Put in refrigerator for 10 minutes, then enjoy.