Chia seeds, derived from a flowering plant native to Central America, are a health food trend that may be here to stay. If you are overcome with nostalgia, fondly recalling your Chia Pets of the past, (maybe even that catchy, perhaps irritating jingle), you’re not far off. Ch-ch-ch-chia! This once gimmicky phenomenon was only the beginning of the emergence of chia seeds in our daily lives. Here, at Le Pain Quotidien, we’ve integrated these tiny seeds into various menu items from scrumptious pastries to refreshing breakfast puddings not only for their texture, but also for their incredible nutritional value.
Chia seeds were once revered by the Aztecs, who prized them so much for their energy-giving properties that they dubbed it the “running food” and consumed it before going into battle. A serving of chia seed has the nutritional equivalent of a meal of spinach, salmon, blueberries and milk. Chia is packed with protein and antioxidants. This tiny powerhouse also stores a rich concentration of essential fatty acids such as omega-3, dietary fiber and iron – a combination that will help you build muscle, lower cholesterol, reduce the risk of heart disease … and run a marathon.
Because chia seeds expand when wet, taking on an almost jelly-like texture, they are a great way to curb overeating. Chia seeds make you feel more satisfied as they take longer to digest, and therefore, you’ll be less likely to reach for those all too tempting potato chips or cookies after meal times.
If you haven’t tried these wondrous seeds, give them a shot! Because they are practically tasteless, chia seeds can be snuck into almost any snack, beverage or dessert like Kombucha juice, puddings and even sprinkled over savory dishes for added crunch and heartiness. Here at LPQ, we’re currently serving chia seeds in our Organic Chia Seed Pudding made with coconut milk, agave and mango compote.