5 yummy ways to use Chia Seeds

I love these little guys. They’re versatile (meaning they can be incorporated into numerous recipes and snacks) and nutrient dense. 1 TBS = 60 calories, about 3g of heart healthy fats, 4g fiber, and gives you calcium, iron, and 3g protein (nutrient content varies slightly by brand). They’re toted as the latest “superfood”, but I believe I’ll be using these long after the fad ends….

Check out these 5 yummy ways to use Chia Seeds! #1 is my favorite.

 

1.) Overnight Chocolate PB No-Cook Oatmeal chocolatepbchiaoats

Photo credit to Monica at the Yummy Life. See link below for her full recipe.

There are many varieties of overnight oatmeal. I like this particular variety has two of my favorite things, chocolate and peanut butter! I love overnight oatmeal because I’m able to essentially prepare my breakfast the night before. When I wake up, all I have to do is open the fridge and take it out and eat it as is. Doesn’t that look delicious? It’s extremely satisfying with a hefty 10g fiber and 13g protein! Go check out The Yummy Life for the full recipe.

 

2.) For a quick simple & nutritious snack: Add 1 TBS to a 8oz container of Greek yogurt . I recommend using the Light and Fit brand as it is one of the best low sugar options around, with 80 calories, 12g protein, and 7g sugar (ideal, as many brands have 15g upwards. Light and Fit Greek Vanilla Nonfat Yogurt, 5.3 Ounce — 12 per case.

 

3.) Strawberry Cheesecake Chia Pudding

strwbrrycheesckechia_1610-2

Photo Credit: belongs to Stephanie at the Foodie and the Fix – see link below for the full recipe:

One of the most common things to make with chia seeds is actually pudding. This is because chia seeds have this amazing capability to absorb large amounts of liquid, and once fully saturated they take on the consistency of a gel. When making a pudding (such as in this Strawberry Chia Pudding recipe), the chia seeds will continue to soak up water even after all ingredients have been mixed, so even if the consistency is thin at first, the pudding will thicken as it sits!

Check out this awesome recipe at The Foodie and the Fix

 

 

4.) Blueberry Banana Oatmeal Chia Smoothie

blueberry-banana-oatmeal-smoothie

Smoothies are a quick and easy way to get your nutrition in without a lot of preparation. This isn’t quite a meal replacement shake (not a fan of those anyway, liquid doesn’t fill you up for long! You end up consuming more calories in the long run anyway because you don’t get that satiety from chewing actual food) but its good for those times you’re in between meals where its too close to your next meal to prepare something substantial, but too far away to wait any longer to eat! 🙂 It provides about 180 calories, 4g fiber, 3g protein, and 8g sugar: perfect snack size (its good to keep your snacks around 200 calories, depending on your total meal plan, otherwise they start looking like meals 😉 )

Go to Skinny Taste for the full recipe breakdown.

 

 

5. Strawberry Lemonade Chia Drink

strawberry-lemonade-chia-seed-drink-

You know those chia drinks they sell in the health food section that go for almost 4 bucks per single serving bottle? They taste fantastic, and as I’ve mentioned before chia seeds are extremely nutrient dense making them an excellent food to incorporate into your daily routine, but the recipes are also so simple, that it seems like a crime to buy these thing outright. This is just another one of those things that makes more “cents” to make at home….

Please visit Nouveauraw to enjoy Amie Sue’s full recipe.

Photo credit belongs to RateYourBurn

 

 

Want to try them for yourself???
Check these out on Amazon:

 

OPTION 1:

chiabagpicture

At $14.60 per bag, they may seem expensive but wait: chia seeds are extremely nutrient dense, so you are typically only using 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time. This 32oz bag will last you quite a while, 64 servings (using a 1 TBS serving) to be exact, aka ~22 cents per serving. 🙂 They do sell smaller sizes, but it’s not as economical.

Nutiva Organic Chia Seeds Black, 32 Ounce 

 

 

 

OPTION 2:

If for some reason that’s out of stock, or you don’t want to buy a large quantity (although I’d recommend it when shopping online if you’re paying S&H! More bang for your buck) you can try these White Chia Seeds.

whitechiaseedsbag

These are $5.80 for a 16oz bag, + S&H. (Again, free with Amazon Prime or if your total order is at least $35.00. )

White Chia Seed – 16 Oz Pouch

Shopkick!

I’m obsessed with this app!!!

I read about it on a Pinterest post and I thought hmmm, let me try this. Free to download and didn’t seem to take up much time. Basically, it rewards you for just walking into a store. It becomes super addicting hearing that little “ping” and seeing your points rack up!

For example, I went to Walmart this past week. I opened up my Shopkick app and walked into the entrance. I got 30 points. I scrolled through the items on the app that were listed as “points” that would be redeemed when scanned. I scanned an 8 pack of gum, a Nutri-bullet, cleaning spray, and about 10 other easy to find items and got about 200 points total just from that trip!

It detects stores nearby based on your location and gives you a tally of how many points you can earn and how far away the store is from you. So if you’re already shopping at that store anyway, it’s literally effortless!

Right now I have a little over 1250 points which is just enough for a $5 giftcard of my choice.

Seriously, its addicting. Try it here: http://get.shopkick.com/sacramento68165

The Gluten Free Debate

While at work, I was inspired for my next post with this conversation:

–“I eat a bowl of Chex every morning. It’s gluten free, it says it on the box”.
Me: Is there a particular reason you choose this?
–“Well, isn’t gluten free good for you?”

Hmmm…..

What is Gluten , exactly?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. It essentially acts as a binding agent to keep the food’s structure intact and gives dough that nice chewy texture in baking. Gluten is found in some obvious items like bread, and some not so obvious such as beer and food coloring.

So why the recent craze towards gluten free items?
Walk into any grocery store and you will see everything from gluten free pancakes to gluten free crackers, soup, and cookies. The food industry has snatched up this money making opportunity to exploit a very real disease (Celiac’s disease, in which the body produces a very serious autoimmune reaction to gluten, resulting in serious damage to the intestinal tract when consumed) and leading the public to believe food is automatically healthier with the label “gluten free”. As if somehow, cheesecake becomes less fattening and the calories in cookies don’t count as long as those magical words are included on the packaging.

So what is Celiac’s disease?

Celiac’s disease occurs in approximately 1 in 133 Americans. It is diagnosed via antibody tests and\or endoscopic biopsy. It is NOT the same as a wheat allergy, as sometimes these two terms are interchanged incorrectly. A gluten free diet is a necessity for those with this diagnosis as consumption of gluten will cause irreversible damage to the intestinal tract.

But what about Gluten sensitivity?

Gluten sensitivity is a fairly new concept, a “diagnosis” which many Americans are making on their own and toting as the reason for going gluten free. Gluten sensitivity is a condition for which not much confirmed research is available. Also, there are no specific and confirmed tests to accurately diagnose the presence of a gluten sensitivity as there are for Celiac’s disease. Many Americans do state an improvement in symptoms when eliminating gluten (many symptoms of which mimic those of Celiac’s disease including GI discomfort). It is difficult to determine if this is because of a true gluten insensitivity or simply due to the placebo affect – aka, you feel better because you expect to feel better.

Regardless, I am a full advocate of listening to your body and following what it tells you. If limiting or eliminating gluten improves your sense of well-being, who am I to tell you otherwise?

But, I do need to reiterate: gluten free items have EXACTLY the same calories, protein and fat as their gluten containing counterparts. Please do not choose these gluten free items in an effort to lose weight! It will not lower your blood pressure, cure any disease, or control your blood sugar.
Going gluten free will only prove beneficial to you if you have been 1.) diagnosed with Celiac’s disease via an antibody test and\or endoscopic biopsy or 2.) believe you are suffering from gluten sensitivity and experience relief from the discomfort when eliminating gluten.

Any questions? Have you gone gluten free? If so, why?

About me

I graduated from The Pennsylvania State University in May 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in Nutritional Sciences.  I had applied for the dietetic internship (required to obtain my RD license) in February, but I had been denied. 🙁 So I stayed the summer in State College working at my local Panera Bread when I got an email forwarded to me from one of my college professors inviting me to reapply for a brand new dietetic internship that would be online based. At that point I had nothing to lose so I sent in my resume not expecting to hear anything back.

About two weeks later I received an email and I was in! That feeling was probably one of the proudest moments of my life. I finished out the summer in State College and then went on for the next 10 months to complete my internship, which gave me a broad range of experience in clinical, food service, and community nutrition. Lots of eye opening experiences.

I started applying for jobs a good three months before my internship was over, and landed a job two weeks after graduation. I now work as a consultant dietitian with a company who specializes in long term care. I spend my days analyzing pressure wounds, weight losses, therapeutic diets and food preferences, monitoring my tube fed residents, making nutritional recommendations to the doctors and trying not to rip my hair out! Just kidding, sort of 🙂

Nutrition aside, I love finding recipes on Pinterest, reading on my Kindle, running outside (no treadmills!), Netflix marathons, a good debate, and wine (dietitians drink too!).

I find great satisfaction in debunking diet myths and counteracting the numerous nutrition fads that come out on a daily basis…because lets face it, every time we turn around theres a new “solution ” for weight loss and more often than not, they’re lacking scientific sustenance.

Totally open to suggestions for upcoming posts . Hope to talk to you soon!

~Rachael RD, LDN

P.S. here’s another one of my favorite thing – Chia seeds! I’ll talk more about them in another post