|Our kids' Chia dog.|
Our kids joined the ranks of millions before them this past Christmas and planted (or pasted) chia seeds on their Chia Pet, but the exact same seeds on their Pet are packed with nutrients and have been consumed for thousands of years in some cultures.
Formally known as salvia hispanica, it is a flowering plant in the mint family. It's name, Chia, is derived from a word meaning "oily". In fact, it's the oil that makes it rich in Omega-3 fatty acids.
Chia is an ancient food grown today in Mexico (where it was first cultivated), Bolivia, Argentina, Ecuador, Australia and Guatemala.
According to the USDA, one ounce of chia contains 11 grams of dietary fiber (42% daily value), 18% daily value of calcium, 4 grams of protein or 9% daily value (a complete protein that offers all of the amino acids essential to humans, and also contains B-vitamins, iron, zinc, phosphorus, manganese, potassium, sodium, fiber antioxidants and the anti-inflammatory flavonoid quercetin.
So how do you use these nearly tasteless seeds? In liquid, the seeds form a gel-like substance making them ideal for drinks, smoothies or oatmeal. Ground, they make a great addition to baked goods. Or eat the sprouts from your Chia Pet or add them to a salad. The ideas are endless.
We bought a large bag of chia seed at Costco for about $7, but there are plenty of other grocery or health food store providers or look on Amazon.
Grow them, have fun with them, but certainly consider eating them.