This Is How You Make Virtually ANY Food Healthier

Have you ever looked at one of your favorite, most-consumed meals and thought, “Is this really healthy for me?” Like, “is there anything in this bowl or on this plate that is actually doing my body good?” If you’re feeling like your everyday meals could use a nutritious upgrade, you’ve come to the right place.

One of the easiest, seamless, nearly tasteless ways to level up nearly ANY meal is to add an itty bitty super power ingredient called CHIA! Chia can be bought in virtually any grocery store these days in the form of teeny black seeds.

You may be thinking, “Why chia seeds? Can’t I just add sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds to my meals?” Well the answer to the later is yes, of course! But let’s get into the secret magic of the mighty chia.

add chia seeds to virtually any meal, especially smoothies, soups, and yogurt
You can add chia seeds to nearly any meal {especially smoothies} to level up the nutrient content.

What It Is:

  • Chia seeds are actually derived from the mint plant of all places but have almost no taste at all – especially not minty.
  • These teeny tiny seeds are so water absorbent, that if you let them sit in a liquid like water or almond/coconut milk for a few hours, a pudding-like texture forms – hence the recent chia pudding craze!

Why You Need It:

For a miniature ingredient, chia seeds pack a huge punch. These babies are a phenomenal source of:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids
    • Not only are omega-3 fatty a “good” type of fat, they’re an OUTSTANDING type of fat. They support healthy, shiny hair, skin & nails, AND they may help lower the risk of heart disease, depression, dementia and arthritis. Your body can’t create these fatty acids on its own, so you need to eat ’em up!
  • Fiber
    • We’ve been hearing about good ol’ fiber since the third grade. And guess what, it’s still crucial to our diet! Fiber keeps us full & keeps things moving, if ya know what I mean …
  • Protein
    • Protein is EXACTLY what we need after those killer sweat sessions to create strong, lean muscles. Like it’s buddy fiber, protein fills us up too! Another plus, chia seeds offer a plant-based protein, meaning you can sub these seedlings in for chicken, fish, etc.!
  • Antioxidants
    • Let’s be honest, we’ve all considered how to avoid wrinkles at some point in our lives, amiright? Well, not only do antioxidants help with preventing creases in our skin, they also keep our cells healthy by fighting off free radicals. BAM! POW!
  • Minerals:
    • Iron, calcium, magnesium and zinc were def on our health exams back in the day, right? Well, each of these foundational elements are critical to our overall health.
      • Iron: Boosts blood make up, muscle health and brain function.
      • Calcium: We know our hot bods need calcium to build & maintain strong bones, but our heart, muscles & nerves need calcium to function properly as well. Studies also suggest that calcium may protect against cancer, diabetes & high blood pressure. Win-win-win!
      • Magnesium: Where do I begin?! Magnesium helps increase energy, calms nerves & anxiety, treats insomnia & helps you fall asleep, helps with digestion by relieving constipation, relieves muscle aches & spasms … the list goes on, people!
      • Zinc: Great for skin, treats colds, boosts reproductive health and regulates cell growth, which could potentially prevent cancer.
add chia seeds to muffin mix to make your baked goods more nutritious
These raspberry chocolate chia muffins made with Simple Mills muffin mix are a perfect example of where to mix in chia seeds.

With all of these powers combined, chia seeds sure do sound like a super hero ingredient, right? Eat the chia. Do the things!

How To Consume It:

Feelin’ pumped to try some chia?? I hope this post encourages you to get out of your comfort zone a lil bit when it comes to the grocery haul & preppin’ meals. Ask your local grocer to direct to you the aisle of chia, try any of the easy suggestions above, or sprinkle ’em in anywhere of your choosing!

Snap a pic of where you add this super power ingredient and tag me on Insta or Twitter @WholeHardy! Would LOVE to hear new ways of sneakin’ in this magical food.

Cha-cha-cha-chia (had to),
Katie

add chia seeds to any soup, like this coconut carrot ginger soup from Epicurious
This coconut carrot ginger soup from Epicurious mixes in chia seeds. Spot on!

Resources:

  1. https://www.eatright.org/food/vitamins-and-supplements/nutrient-rich-foods/what-are-chia-seeds
  2. https://www.webmd.com/diet/features/truth-about-chia#1
  3. https://www.webmd.com/diet/ss/slideshow-omega-3-health-benefits
  4. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/291334.php
  5. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/calcium-supplements/art-20047097
  6. https://draxe.com/magnesium-supplements/
  7. https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/minerals/health-benefits-of-zinc.html
  8. https://www.toneitup.com/recipes/
  9. https://www.simplemills.com/pages/chocolate-chia-raspberry-muffins
  10. https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/creamy-chia-coconut-ginger-carrot-soup-51250210

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