Thursday, October 20, 2011

Chia

Written by Kate Bullen, APD

I started using Chia seeds regularly just over 12 months ago. They are a small little seed that has many uses – from baking, to sprinkling over cereal or adding to a smoothie.  I think the real benefit of Chia seeds is that they are a fantastic fibre source – and most people are lacking in the amount of fibre in their diet. In just 1 tablespoon of Chia seeds, you get 5g of fibre – so you will be well on your way to meeting your daily fibre needs of 25-30g. Chia provides both soluble and insoluble fibre which is good news for keeping you full for longer, helping with your bowel habits and your cholesterol.

As well as being a great source of fibre, Chia also provides us with omega 3 fatty acids – which is great, except our bodies are not very good at converting this plant source of omega 3 to DHA and EPA – which is what we want. So we still need to get at least 2 fish meals at week to get this DHA and EPA form of omega 3. But – Chia is a great source of fat to include in our diet, and we always like that! Ok that is the biochemistry lesson out of the way!

What else is great about Chia? It is a good source of protein, antioxidants and it is gluten free.

When I add Chia to my cereal it still maintains a bit of a crunch or nuttiness – but when I use it in a smoothie the fibre absorbs the water and becomes gel like – so you don’t get any crunchiness in your smoothie.

And the other thing I love – it is being grown locally. Up in Kununurra in fact by The Chia Co. So fantastic that Western Australia is producing this very healthy crop. Just make sure you buy the one in the orange pack - as I think other chia might be imported.... best to support local!

Where to Buy

I usually buy my Chia seeds from my local health food shop. You can choose from white Chia seed, black Chia seed or ground Chia seeds. I have the white ones at the moment. The 500g packs retail at $18.95 – which is quite expensive – but I put a tablespoon on my cereal in the morning and a bit over a teaspoon on each of the kids cereal – so the pack lasts me a long time. On the Chia Co website you can also get smaller 150g packs for $7.39 so if you are worried about whether you will get the use out of it, then start small.
Bakers Delight make a range of bread that contains Chia seeds – so that might be another option to try some chia.

How to Use

Some of the ways I use Chia seeds are:

  • 1 tablespoon on my cereal in the morning
  • Add to soups or casseroles
  • Add to baking, such as pancakes, muffins or muesli bars
  • Add to milkshakes/smoothies
Have you tried chia? How do you like to use chia?

1 comments:

Chrissy said...

Chia is a great substitute for eggs in a recipe, especially for those who are wanting to go vegan.
Just mix a teaspoon of chia with a little water and leave for a few seconds and you will have something with the binding consistency of 1 egg :)

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