Culinary trend: Chia seeds

One of the current health trends in the culinary arts is to add chia seeds to just about everything. From using them as a sprinkle on top of a bowl of frozen, pureed bananas to throwing them in a bottle of kombucha, these tiny powerhouses are popping up just about everywhere. 

What are chia seeds?
Chia seeds come from the chia plant – yes, we mean the same ones that start chia pets. The seeds were eaten by the Mayans and Aztecs because they are highly nutritious. They contain fiber, antioxidants, protein and omega-3s. The seeds are gluten-free and considered to be a super-food for their intense nutritional value. They are full of potassium, calcium, manganese, phosphorous and sodium, all of which help the body to function. They are often added to vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free diets to add some satisfying crunch, healthy minerals and other supplements. 

What can you use them for?
Chia seeds can be used as an egg substitute for baking. Grind the seeds into a powder and add three tablespoons of water per one tablespoon of seeds to replace one egg. Repeat until you have the desired amount of egg substitute. Many people use chia seeds in pudding. The seeds can be blended with cocoa powder, milk, vanilla and sugar or other sweeteners to create a delicious pudding for dessert or any other meal. 

Oh She Glows created a recipe or chia endurance crackers. With just five minutes of prep time and an hour of baking, these super healthy crackers are tasty and incredibly easy to make. Loaded with sesame, chia and sunflower seeds, and seasoned with sweet onion, salt and garlic, these nutrient-packed crackers are great to grab on the go when you're off on outdoor adventures or just heading out the door for a busy day. You can also add interesting salt varieties or kelp granules to add some extra zesty taste. 

Some people add chia seeds to breading on fish or chicken. Just toss a few teaspoons into your regular breading or grind them up and use as the sole ingredient for a crispy, crunchy outside to baked Tilapia, salmon or chicken breasts. You can even eat these tiny seeds as is. Stow a tablespoon or two in a plastic bag or small container for moments when you're hungry on the go but don't have a chance to stop for a bite to eat. They are also great additions to yogurt, cereal and trail mix for an extra boost of energy and flavor.

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