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Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia Seeds to Eat!

By +Carolyn Richardson on Mar 11, 2011 10:00 AM in Recipes

By Carolyn Richardson

Some of the most memorable commercials of the 90’s were for the Chia Pet.  But did you know that the pottery planters use one of the most healthful foods to grow its ‘hair’?  Chia seeds, though not edible in the Chia Pet package, are gaining more attention and you won’t have to water the plant to get results.  Mentioned in Dr. Oz’s book, You Staying Young, chia seeds are becoming more readily available then they once were.  So take advantage of this familiar, yet underestimated superfood.  

What are Chia Seeds?

Chia is the seed of a a flowering plant in the mint family, originated in Mexico and now grown in Australia, Central and South America.  The word chia comes from the Mayan culture and means strength. Chia seeds are easily digestible and have a 4+ year shelf-life. Unlike flax seeds, they do not have to be ground release their nutrients.

Chia Seed Nutrition

Adding just 1 tablespoon of chia seeds to your diet daily will provide approximately six grams of gel-forming soluble fiber, three grams of protein, and almost 10% of your daily recommended values of iron, and calcium.  Bump it up to two tablespoons and you’re looking at the equivalent nutritional value of - the protein of 24 almonds, the fiber of two slices of whole wheat bread, the iron of two tablespoons of pumpkin seeds, and the calcium of Yoplait Banana Crème Yogurt - in only 70 calories and less than 5 grams of fat. 

With one of the highest levels of antioxidants, surpassing that of fresh blueberries, chia seeds boast many health benefits.  The National Cancer Institute states that “antioxidants help prevent the free radical damage that is associated with cancer.”  And when measured by weight, chia seeds also have the more omega-3 fatty acids than in vegetable oils and fatty fish.  Omega-3’s promote heart and brain health as well as many other bodily functions including regulating blood pressure and blood sugar.  

How to Eat Chia Seeds

Chia seeds have a nutty, mild flavor and thus, can be added to foods like smoothies, cereal, soups, oatmeal and salads. Chia seeds are used in cooking a variety of ways: ground, raw and as a gel.  The gel, made from two ounces of chia seeds added to two cups of water or apple juice, can be added to smoothies, granola, and salad dressings.  The ground and powdered variety can be used to replace up to one-fifth of regular flour in baked goods and gelled chia seeds can replace some of the oil. Because chia seeds have such a mild taste, there really are no rules.  Add chia seeds to any recipe and its high fiber content will make you feel full faster and could help control your portions.  Check out 40 Ways to Use Chia Seeds, as well as these three recipes of featuring chia that we ran through the Calorie Count Recipe Analyzer:

Desperately Seeking Seeds

Chia seeds are usually hard to find at your local grocer, but they are available online and at most health foods stores.  Popular purveyors sell chia seeds as whole seeds, ground seeds, oil, and soft gel pills.  If you’re wondering the price, chia seeds don’t come cheap.  Because they are imported, and such a small amount packs a nutritious punch, chia seeds are usually sold in bulk in 1 to 3 pound bags that can cost about $20 to $30 for the whole seeds.  But considering that a 1 pound bag could yield a tablespoon a day, and the bag will keep for years without losing nutrients, chia seeds may be a worthy investment.

Your thoughts…

So, will you go ch-ch-ch-chia or leave it on the shelf?

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I have been eat / using Chia Seeds for at least a year now , have stoped to see if I feel different , I do so will be getting some more now and start eating them again

picked up some chia bread from whole foods a few weeks ago. very tasty!

I have aversions to seed-like textures, so if I can find other ways of getting  the product (the gel sounds kinda gross, but if I can find it, I'll try it) I will try it!  Of course, if it doesn't break my tiny piggy bank!

We used chia seeds for almost a year ...  no better cholestrol results so discontinued.  The gel is kind of gross.  We put the seeds on cereal.  But they were pretty expensive.

Just read Green for Life, and that is one of the ingredients for the "green smoothies".  Can't wait to try both the smoothies & chia!

I have used them off and on for awhile, I mix them with water and drink.  I make sure to follow up with more water because they easily absorb the water.  I will make sure to do it on a regular basis now.  Also they are good in Omega 3.  You can get them at the Vitamin shoppe as well.

I already make gluten free baked goods for my husband, so it sounds like ground seeds would make a great addition to the flour collection we have.  And they certainly can't make gluten-free taste any worse...

Chia seeds work well as egg replacement in baked goods where the egg would be used as a binder. Very much like ground flaxseed "eggs". Depending on the baked good, I will usually sub with chia or flax "eggs".

I've been using chia seeds for the past few months each morning in a green smoothie. When mixed with the almond milk I use, it gels up, making the smoothie thicker in consistency. I can't taste the seeds at all, so it's great to know that I am getting so many great nutrients without any nasty flavors!

Also - as part of a vegan or vegetarian diet, you can use chia seeds mixed with water as an egg replacement!

"1 to 3 pound bags can cost about $20 to $30."

Not always true! I swear by and am a hugely faithful customer. You can buy one-pound bags of chia seeds from them for $6.99! They have 5-lb bags for sale at $6.78 per pound, which is only about $33.90. They also sell chia flour and other chia products.

I am obsessed with this company - I have never bought something from them and not received it the next day. They are an amazing family-owned company that you should check out if you are trying to get healthy. Tons of great products and healthy snacks - the goji energy squares are awesome! 

And no, I don't work for nutsonline nor am I affiliated with the company - I'm just a big believer in positive word of mouth when it is deserved.


I have chia gel every day in my greens and fruit smoothie. Chia seeds can also be used in a 1:1 ratio in creamy foods (e.g., mayo, yogurt, cottage cheese) with no alteration in recipe flavor. I will admit to eating the gel plain, just because I like it.

For the person concerned about "seed-like textures" the gel has no such thing, and it isn't slimy or gross. If you make it in the standard 9:1 ratio, it has a texture similar to not-quite-set jello.

The best source I've found (quality and price) is Raw Reform or Alive and Aware. I buy from both (3-6 pounds at a time) through

I want to try it! I'm going to look the next time I'm at Whole Foods

Whole foods did carry them before.  Not sure if they do now.  I just ordered a 3 lb bag w/ free shipping at for 19.99

Opps Whole Foods didn't carry them.  Sorry.

I am in canada and have bough chia seeds  at costco.


I eat chia seeds for their fiber and Omega-3's, which are hard to find if you don't eat fish!  Chia gel also works great in place of some or all of the oil in pancakes, muffins and other baked goods.  You can experiment to see what works for you. 

Make chia gel by adding 1/4 cup seeds to 2 cups of water and stirring every so often till seeds stay suspended in the gel. Store in refrigerator for up to two weeks.

I agree with the comment that Nutsonline is a great place to buy these seeds at a reasonable price.  Since you only eat a teaspoon or two at a time, a pound will last a while.

Here is a link to some more information and ways to use chia seeds:

Great!  Will look for chia seeds! 

I would never have guessed. Very fascinating and fun! Though I have to admit, it almost feels like eating a family pet, somehow... Tongue out

For anyone who lives in Philadelphia, Nuts To You has them for $5.99/lb.

I remember back ....years ago.  Chia seeds were used to removed bad spirits from around you and from harm of others. My nieghbor would throw the seeds around the yard and pray the Rosary...The seed were as a protector form all evil surrounding you.

I can't get the jingle out of my head, but I think I will give them a try.  Can you just eat them raw? Anyone know?

Wow, I've never heard that Chia seeds were edible, is it just me or is this just uncommon in the US?  I would definitely try them, though I would subconciously be afraid of sprouting a tuft of green "hair" in my tummy :/


I use Chia seeds in smoothies and such.  The problem is I forget to make the gel ahead of time so that it has time to set, but maybe it really isn't necessary.

I don't have any problem finding them at Whole Foods, but they are probably cheaper Online.

Hemp seeds are also very nutritious.  They have some of the same nutrients as Chia seeds and contain all 10 of the essential Amino Acids.  I use them a lot also, sprinkled on salads or oatmeal and in smoothies.

No indication in the USDA nutritional database of any iron in chia seeds ... pl

Original Post by: bestephens

I have aversions to seed-like textures, so if I can find other ways of getting  the product (the gel sounds kinda gross, but if I can find it, I'll try it) I will try it!  Of course, if it doesn't break my tiny piggy bank!

(smile) unline most other types of seeds, chia seeds are very very fine in texture.  You wil not notice the "gel" unless you soak them in water or let the set atop anything moist.

I buy mine at the local health food store.  A 12 oz bag is about $10 and it lasts a very long time.

I have eaten chia seeds for about 3 years on and off for the health benefits.  However, I have put two tablespoons in my oatmeal every morning since July of 2010.  I have also managed to keep my calories at about 1800-1900 a day.  I have dropped from 230 pounds in July to 185 pounds right now.  I truly believe the chia seeds allow me get through the morning without the need for the mid-morning pick me up snacks.  I am shooting for an additional weight loss of 10 to 15 pounds now that spring is around the corner and I can become a bit more active up here in the wintery North!Smile

Hey bugfan, I have also been using chia seeds regularly for a couple of years and have lost weight. I am now maintaining my weight with the help of chia seeds. I love chia seeds for the extra energy they give me, and like to have one to two tablespoons per day in various ways.

I notice there is a chia seed weight loss book on Amazon now. It looks like more people are getting the message Smile 

I found out about chia from an advertizement under the brand name Salba.   They were a bit too expensive so I now buy them here in Canada at the Bulk Barn for about $15 Canadian / pound.  A pound usually lasts a couple of months at 2 tablespoons a day.

I've tried with water...mouthful of seeds.  I have also tried munching on them as a snack but they are a bit dry and again I would be picking them out of my teeth for hours.

I really like them in my oatmeal.  It gives it a lot more substance (I let it stand for about 5 minutes in hot oatmeal) and I like the nutty taste.

I like to have chia seeds soaked in a good quality fruit juice -- something like grape juice or cranberry juice. One tablesppon of chia seeds in about a third of a glass of juice to make a nice firm gel. I then swirl that through plain yogurt. It make a wonderful summer breakfast!

I often make a hot chia pudding for breakfast in the winter.

I recently received a sample of chia seeds and look forward to trying them out.  I live in a region of Canada where it can be difficult to find and expensive to purchase health and nutritional supplements/foods and gluten free foods. the online site- has been a great resource - I ran across them about a year ago, and find they carry a good selection of items.  If you live in a larger centre, prices may not be quite as competitive, but I find them reasonable compared to what I would pay locally and they offer free shipping + customer service is amazing.   They carry chia seed products - varying prices and brands - may be worth checking out by anyone else who is like me and can't always find local sources for chia seeds.

Chia seeds really are amazing! I've just started incorporating them into my daily diet and love the benefits. They are so easy to add to almost anything and don't taste like much. I have noticed that I feel fuller pretty much all of the time and the fibre is doing wonders for me as well.

You can buy them at Costco (ChiaNutra - Webber brand) for considerably less than online or in other stores I've found them.

Original Post by: maggiroo

I like to have chia seeds soaked in a good quality fruit juice -- something like grape juice or cranberry juice. One tablesppon of chia seeds in about a third of a glass of juice to make a nice firm gel. I then swirl that through plain yogurt. It make a wonderful summer breakfast!

I often make a hot chia pudding for breakfast in the winter.

I love this idea!!! Thanks for sharing that with us.

I just had a look online and saw you can get black chia seeds and white chia seeds. Can anyone tell me what the difference (apart from colour) is.

Original Post by: julier132

I just had a look online and saw you can get black chia seeds and white chia seeds. Can anyone tell me what the difference (apart from colour) is.

I was quite confused by this when I first started using chia seeds.  Unfortunately, there is a lot of politics driven by $$$ in this new industry.  Clinical studies vs. strains, etc.

I've come to my own unscientific conclusion that the difference is purely cosmetic after all my reading on the subject.  Unfortunately, lot of the info on the web is by those who are trying to make $$$ from this healthy seed.  The chia that I get at my local bulk store has white mixed in with black.

Just my two cents....

I agree there really isn't any difference between white a black Chia seeds.  Anymore than there is any difference between so called "gold" flax seeds and regular brown ones.  It's just someone trying to make an extra buck.

I have been adding a couple tablespoons of flaxseed to my oatmeal and would like to try chia seeds as well.  Should I add both flax and chia or is chia seed the "new flax seed"?

I use them both, but not at the same time.  Some of their nutritional components are the same, such as Omega Fatty Acids, but some are different also.  I wouldn't call them the new flax seed, they're just something else to improve health.  Use flax seeds one day and chia seeds the next. 

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I've never seen them at that price! Whole Foods has them in bulk for $6-7, and I can fill up a whole big mason jar of them for about $5.50.

I add ground flax and chia to my dog's wet food, he doesn't mind and is still going strong at 19 yrs.  I also add it to my oatmeal every morning. 

I LOVE chia seeds. I make my own yogurt in the blender with plain organic fat free yogurt, organic frozen strawberries, cinnamon, stevia and of course, CHIA SEEDS!!! I freeze it in containers...perfect summer snack:)

I have a farmer friend in Florida who is harvesting them now.  So hopefully we will a more affordable alternative in stores soon!

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