Thursday, 11 September 2014

The Benefits of Chia Seeds

Having been vegetarian for 14 years, we have enjoyed discovering many new and interesting whole foods along the way.  One of our latest discoveries is Chia Seeds, a small tasteless seed that can be sprinkled onto cereals or yogurt, used in salads, added to smoothies and shakes, used in porridge or baked into cookies, muffins or bread. I throw a spoonful into many meals I cook to give them a nutritional boost.

One tablespoon of chia provides 100% of your Omega 3 requirement, provides fibre for healthy digestion and also gives a source of sustained energy, vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants and protein. They are nutrient dense and non-allergenic. The seeds swell up when in contact with a liquid so will swell in your stomach, keeping you feeling fuller for longer (great when you are trying to cut down on calories).  It's no surprise that they have been hailed as a superfood.

The Chia Co have recognised the benefits of incorporating chia seeds into the diets of children to give them a healthy start to the day, especially now with start of the new school year.  By giving kids  a healthy, nutrient packed breakfast they will be less likely to snack on 'junk' food.  This will help tackle the issues of childhood obesity and reduce the consumption of refined sugars. Adding chia seeds to children's diet is a simple way to give them a real nutritional boost. Even if you have a child with a small appetite, the seeds will provide a rich dose of essential nutrients in just one spoonful. They are a pure and 'clean' food, which is completely natural and free from the nasties associated with processed foods.

To encourage children to eat chia seeds, The Chia Co have come up with some dairy free, vegan breakfast products, Chia Pods and Oats + Chia, which are a great way to get kids to enjoy a healthy start to the day. I received some samples to try.

the chia co, chia seeds

Chia Pods are ready to eat pots of chia seeds and coconut milk naturally flavoured with fruit; banana, mango or blueberry, or with vanilla bean and coconut sugar.  They are conveniently packaged in individual pots with a spoon in the lid, so they can be enjoyed on the go or popped in a lunchbox. They are mild tasting and naturally sweetened, and have the consistency of a thick jelly and resemble tapioca pudding in appearance.  There is a slightly crunchy texture, as you eat the Chia Pods, from the seeds. Chia Pods are quite an unusual product in both texture and appearance, and in such may take some getting used to.  But the wholesome ingredients and convenience makes them well worth a try.  Each pot contains 100% of your daily intake of Omega 3 and 25% of your fibre.

the chia co, chia seeds

Oats + Chia are individual single serve sachets of wholegrain oats, sun-ripened chia, real fruit and coconut oil.  You just add 120 ml of hot water to make a hearty, fruity porridge.  It comes in Banana and Mango, Mixed Berry and Apple Spice flavours.  

chia seeds, porridge

The porridge is thick with a lovely texture and the fruit bits add a juicy burst of flavour.  Perfect as the weather starts to change, giving a great, wholesome and nutrient packed start to the day.  I loved the convenience of being able to make such a nutritious porridge in super quick time and the fruity flavours were a big hit.

the chia co, chia seeds, wholefood

Chia Seeds make you feel better on the inside, giving you more energy and providing lots of your daily intake of nutrients.  Eating one of The Chia Co breakfast products or sprinkling the seeds onto or into your own dishes, gives your family's diet a real boost. 

Chia Pods are £2.59 each and are available from selected Tesco and Costco stores. Oats + Chia are £5.00 for a five pack and are available from Ocado.  150g packs of white or black Chia Seeds are £4.79 each from selected Tesco and Costco stores.


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