I Tried Chia Seeds. Here’s What You Should Know.
After hearing about the benefits of these tiny wonder seeds, I decided to give them a try. Here are my two big takeaways.
I’m a bit of a texture freak. For instance, not a fan of plain ol’ cooked oatmeal. The gummy texture just isn’t for me. But I like to try new things, so when chia seeds started to get popular, I had a hard time.
I Did My Research
At first I ignored them. But time went by and chia seeds were still being touted as good sources of protein and fiber. Health-savvy cooks have turned them into fun parfaits, smoothies and pudding…yes, pudding! I love a good dessert, so when I read about making chia pudding I thought, Hmm, I might be able to do this. First, I researched the texture. I’m willing to step outside of my comfort zone, but not too far.
Plus, how can you think about those little seeds without singing “cha-cha-cha-chia” and picturing a Garfield head with a grass hairdo? Am I right? Please tell me you’ve done this, too. And, yes, they’re the same thing.
After getting the song out of my head and being assured that the texture would be similar to tapioca—which I didn’t learn to love until my 30s—I decided to pick up a bag of chia seeds. I was pleasantly surprised to find them at Aldi. (Do you shop there? You’d love it.) They were a steal at less than $4 a bag. I also grabbed a carton of vanilla almond milk. Then I was set to make chia pudding. (Little tip: Vanilla almond milk is a mug of happiness when you warm it up).
I Took the Chia Pudding Plunge
I made this easy peasy overnight recipe:
- Stir 1 Tbsp chia seeds into 1/2 cup of almond milk. Beware though, static makes them jump out of the bag like popcorn.
- Wait 10 minutes, stir again.
- Cover and refrigerate overnight.
The next morning, it was time for the unveiling. I carefully pulled the wrap off (see popping issue above) and gingerly poked at the mixture with my spoon. The seeds had swollen nicely, and the “pudding” was just that. OK, I thought, this might not be bad.
In the end, I’d say the pudding was interesting: smooth little bits with a teeny crunch.
Even though they have a noticeable texture, I would consider adding chia seeds to my diet. Here’s why.
They’re so healthy: Just 2 tablespoons will add almost 6 g of protein, 120 mg of calcium and a whopping 8 g of fiber. If you want to start too, go in slowly, because introducing that much fiber at once can cause some pretty intense discomfort and unpleasantness. Start with a teaspoon and work your way up. (Psst: These are some other surprising foods that cause gas.)
They’re so versatile: Since the seeds don’t really have a distinct flavor of their own, they’re the perfect thickener for a host of options.
- Stir them into crushed fruit or fruit juice for healthier “jams” or fruity spreads.
- Add them to milk or yogurt to make your own puddings or parfaits.
- Toss a teaspoon or two into your morning smoothie to reap the benefits.
I’m glad I tried them and I hope you will, too.