My winter morning staples for breakfast include millet, steel cut oats or rolled oats. However, now that spring is in the air and the days are getting longer and warmer, I find myself desiring something different to replace my hearty breakfast grains that I so love during the cooler months. About a year ago I discovered the wonderful benefits and versatility of Chia seeds! Yes the very same chia seeds that we used years ago to grow living Chia Pets. I’m pretty sure no one in my circle of friends 30+ years ago was consuming chia seeds as breakfast porridge!! Gosh if I had only known then what I know today! So now you might be asking, “What’s so great about these funny named seeds?” Well let me share with you some of the amazing properties and health benefits of these teeny tiny powerhouses.
Chia seeds are gluten-free, vegan seeds that are jam packed with minerals, omega 3 fats, antioxidants, fiber and they’re also a complete source of protein.
Just 2 tablespoons of chia seeds has:
- Five times the amount of calcium in milk (plus boron which helps you absorb it)
- Three times the amount of antioxidants in blueberries
- Three times the amount of iron in spinach
- Three times the amount of fiber in oatmeal
- Two times the amount of protein of any other bean, seed or grain
- Two times the amount of potassium in a banana
As result of their high fiber content and their watery gelatinous nature when hydrated, they’re excellent little digestive aids, that can help improve regularity and reduce acid reflux issues. Because chia seeds expand up to 3 times their original size when hydrated, they can help you eat less and stay full longer by bulking up your meals, crowding out fat, sugar and calories, preventing sugar highs and lows and potentially stimulate weight loss. Chia seeds are the richest vegetable source of omega 3 fatty acids and they don’t require grinding before consumption like flax seeds. In addition they have the ability to prolong hydration because of their hydrophilic nature. They can be used as a natural thickener for soups and stews, or as an egg substitute in baking.
Chia seeds resemble poppy seeds and can be purchased prepackaged or in the bulk food section at most health food stores or at Whole Foods Market. While there are countless ways to incorporate chia seeds into your daily meals, here is an easy and delicious porridge that you can feel great about eating. I like to eat this for breakfast, but it can also be served as a snack or dessert.
Chia Porridge with Nuts, Seeds & Berries
Yield: 1 serving
2 ½ tbsp. chia seeds
1 cup unsweetened almond or coconut milk
1-2 Medjool dates (depends on how sweet you want it)
½ tsp. vanilla
½ tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. cardamom
1/8 tsp. ginger (optional)
Pinch of sea salt
3 drops of liquid stevia
Toppings for your porridge can include: diced strawberries, raspberries or blueberries, chopped raw almonds, pecans or walnuts, hemp and/or sunflower seeds.
Combine all ingredients except chia seeds in a high-speed blender and whirl on high until smooth. Pour the liquid into a medium bowl and whisk in the chia seeds, stirring until combined. Allow to stand 30-40 minutes in order to thicken and then stir again in order to thoroughly combine. Place in fridge or enjoy immediately!
Note: I frequently double this recipe so that I can enjoy it for breakfast two or three times.