By Alli Shircliff
February 06, 2015

Chia seeds, those small black seeds floating around the supermarket, originated in Mexico in the Mayan and Aztec cultures. The word ‘chia' is known in the Mayan culture to mean ‘strength'. They may be small seeds, but they pack a nutritious punch! Here are 7 reasons why you should put a bag in your shopping cart:

1) Chia Gel is the new thickener.
Chia seeds soaked in water produce a thick gel and can be used as a substitute for eggs in egg-free or vegan cooking.

1222740 Chia Gel 222060
Photo by Josephine Roeper

2) Chia seeds are little packages of nutrients.

One ounce of chia seeds (almost 2 tablespoons) contains:

  • 138 calories
  • almost 5 grams protein
  • almost 9 grams fat (mostly polyunsaturated - omega-3s)
  • 10 grams fiber and easily digestible
  • a decent source of calcium and iron

3) It's a texture thing.

Chia seeds give dessert an extra boost of texture without all the calories. Almond Strawberry Chia Seed Pudding topped with fresh fruit is a healthier dessert or a fresh breakfast option.

1117986 Almond Strawberry Chia Seed Pudding 1117986 LilSnoo
Photo by LilSnoo

4) They'll give you that afternoon slap in the face.

When you want to curl into a ball around 3 0'clock can be so painful. Chia Seed Chips are here to the rescue! Dip a chip in hummus for a quick and easy afternoon pick-me-up.

Chia Seed Chips
Photo by CountryGirlGourmet

5) Chia seeds keep you full.

Black and Blueberry Smoothie
Photo by Nicolette

Pour a tablespoon if chia seeds in your breakfast drink, like this Black and Blueberry Smoothie. You will be full and satisfied until lunch!

6) Chia seeds are a good source of plant-based protein.

Busy mornings? Oatmeal on-the-go! Make these g'Oatmeal cups loaded with chia seeds, peanut butter, flax seeds, and pecans for a quick fix of protein to start your day.

Photo by cnoel42

7) They add a little chew to your water.

Chia Fresca is a higher fiber and textured version of lemonade with less sugar than powdered or pre-made lemonade. Try substituting honey for the sugar for a more natural version!

Chia Fresca
Photo by CountryGirlGourmet

Have a bag sitting at home? Strengthen your recipe collection and your diet with these 116 recipes.