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Chia seeds—which are about as big as a freckle—are another small-but-fierce source of amazingness.
For starters, they're loaded with essential nutrients like omega-3s, calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Chia also packs an impressive three grams of protein and five grams of hunger-crushing fiber per tablespoon. And since the seed forms a gel when mixed with water (they can hold up to 10 times their weight in liquid), they digest slowly, making them a powerful force against the munchies—which is great news for those looking to control portions and cravings.
Chia seeds have been popular in health food circles for years, for good reason -- they're relatively affordable, highly nutritious and have a mild flavor that works in many dishes. And while chia seeds are moderately high in calories, thanks to their healthy omega-3 fatty acids, their fiber content makes them a welcome addition to weight-loss diets. Experiment in the kitchen to add chia to weight loss-friendly breakfasts and snacks to help you shed pounds.
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Pour Some Into Your Detox Water
For some extra nutrition, spoon some chia seeds into your favorite detox water. If you're looking for something that's a bit sweet—but still healthy—create a concoction called chia fresca by combining 1 cup of water with 1 tablespoon of chia seeds, 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon or lime juice, and 2 teaspoons of honey. Let the seeds soak overnight before slurping it all down.
Sprinkle Onto Sweet Potatoes
Olive oil and spices are commonly used to amp up the taste of baked sweet potatoes. Almond butter, bananas, and chia seeds? Not so much. But Monique of Ambitious Kitchen loves this off-the-beaten-track combination on her orange spuds. Snag her breakfast recipehere to find out how to pull together her signature morning meal.
Add to Sliced Fruit with Nut Butter
We love to smear nut butter onto slices of apples and bananas because it makes for the perfect filling snack. Take yours to the next level by sprinkling some crunchy chia seeds on top of the spread.
Mix it Into Applesauce
Unsweetened applesauce may be better than the sweetened variety, but with just 3 grams of fiber and less than a half a gram of protein per cup, it's not always filling. If you're a fan of this fruity snack, make it one that's better for your appetite and waistline by mixing in some taste-free chia seeds.
Top off a Fruit Salad
Make your morning fruit salad more satisfying by topping your bowl of fresh fruit with some filling chia seeds. Thanks to its healthy fats and fiber content, this breakfast addition will help keep your energy levels soaring well into the afternoon. "[Chia seeds] won't cause spikes and drops in blood sugar or insulin levels, preventing cravings and overeating later," Carolyn Brown, MS, RD explains. For even more foods that will keep you going and going (ya know, like the Energizer Bunny), don't miss these 23 Best Foods for Energy.
Add It to Dressing
About a year ago, health food company, Hilary's came out with a delicious ranch chia dressing that was teeming with omega-3s. If you can't find the bottle in your local grocery store, simply whip up a dressing featuring chia seeds. Add the seeds to your go-to dressing recipe or head on over to AlvaOSullivan.com to get your hands on her flavor-packed Lemon Chia Seed Dressing recipe. Made with just six clean and easy-to-find ingredients, it's definitely one of our favorites.
Add Them to Avocado Toast
Already a big fan of avocado toast? Great! Elevate your creations to the next level by sprinkling on some crunchy chia. If nothing else, the pretty specks of seeds atop the green mountain of avocado will earn you some extra likes on your Instagram #FoodPorn post. Big fan of the creamy green fruit? Don't miss these mouthwatering avocado recipes for weight loss.
Whip Up a Low-Sugar "Jam"
Skip the store-bought jam that's full of excess calories and sugar and make a healthier version at home by mixing chia seeds with pureed berries. It's the perfect topping for whole-grain crackers and PB&J sammies. It even tastes great mixed into plain Greek yogurt.