Reap the health benefits of chia seeds in your morning breakfast juice with this simple recipe that packs a powerful nutritional punch!
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MAKE YOUR OWN CHIA JUICE
If you’re looking for a way to make your breakfast more interesting look no further! Chia Juice is a healthy alternative to the typical fruit juice you’re probably used to drinking at breakfast. Consuming a glass of this delicious beverage is the perfect way to start your day. You’ll be adding some protein and lots of fiber to a drink that would otherwise have very little. One of the unique properties of chia seeds is their ability to absorb many times their weight in water, producing a gel-like substance that can be combined with foods to change their texture and enhance their nutritive value. It sounds strange to be drinking seeds, but once the chia seeds are hydrated they become tender, and, when mixed with juice they have a pleasant mouthfeel. There are several brands of chia juice on the market but most have added sugar and are quite pricey. If you make your own Chia Juice you can control the sugar content by using juice with no added sweeteners, and you’ll be saving money too.
To make your own Chia Juice simply:
- Fill a quart size mason jar with 2 cups of warm filtered water.
- Add 6 tablespoons of chia seeds and stir well. Cover the jar and place it in the refrigerator overnight.
- The next day combine the chia seed mixture with 2 cups of juice and stir well.
You can use any color or flavor of juice but darker colored juices, such as the Cranberry Chia Juice pictured in this post, are more visually appealing.
WHAT ARE CHIA SEEDS AND WHERE DO THEY COME FROM?
Chia seeds come from the chia plant, known botanically as Salvia hispanica. This herbaceous flowering plant is part of the mint family and is native to Central America. It’s edible seeds are aptly called chia seeds, but they’re also sometimes referred to as chia fruit, a less accurate label that may have come into use because botanists (scientists who study plants) call any plant with seeds inside of it, a fruit. Before chia seeds became known as a superfood they were famous for growing the fur on Chia Pets. Introduced in the 1970’s, Chia Pets are small ceramic planters in various animal shapes that, when spread with a layer of wet chia seeds, grow sprouts that are meant to resemble fur or hair. TV commercials for this wildly popular novelty item once dominated the airwaves, so much so, that I can still hear the jingle ringing in my head – Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia. Nowadays when you hear about chia seeds, it’s likely because of their versatility and impressive health benefits. A mere 3 tablespoons of chia seeds deliver 12 grams of fiber, 5 grams of protein, 10 grams of fat (most of which are omega-3), 20% of the RDI (recommended daily intake) of calcium and iron, and almost 1/3 of the RDI of manganese, magnesium, and phosphorous. Each serving also contains healthy amounts of zinc, vitamin B3 (niacin), potassium, vitamin B1 (thiamine) and vitamin B2, all with only 160 calories. That’s nutrition power!
HYDRATED CHIA SEEDS ARE SLIMY
Here’s what hydrated chia seeds look like. They’re not very attractive and, full disclosure, they’re incredibly slimy prior to being mixed with juice. In fact, when I first showed my husband hydrated chia seeds and told him I planned to make a drink with them his response was “you want me to drink THAT?” Now he loves Chia Juice and like me, drinks it pretty much every day.
CHIA SEEDS ARE A MULTIPURPOSE INGREDIENT
If you haven’t tried chia seeds yet, don’t wait one minute longer. Once sold only at health food markets, chia seeds are now widely available, even in low-end grocery stores. In addition to Chia Juice, chia seeds can be used to make jam and pudding (check out my post for Berry Patriotic Yogurt Parfait where I show you how to make raspberry chia jam in 90 seconds). You can also mix them into baked goods and smoothies or use them to add extra crunch to cereal or breadcrumbs. And those are just a few of the uses. If you come to love chia seeds as much as I do, you’ll likely discover many other uses for this amazing superfood. Here’s a fun little video clip of the original Chia Pet commercial. What a throwback!
- 2 cups filtered or spring water
- 6 tablespoons (heaping ⅓ cup) chia seeds
- 2 cups (16 ounces) cranberry juice, blueberry juice, or blackberry juice
- Lemon and/or lime slices and fresh mint for garnish (optional)
- Fill a quart size mason jar or other glass/plastic container with the water and warm it in the microwave for 1 minute. (It should be very warm but not hot.) Add chia seeds and stir well. Cover the container and place in the refrigerator overnight.
- The next day combine chia seed mixture with the juice and stir well. Pour into glasses and garnish with lemon/lime and fresh mint if desired.
Any color or flavor of juice can be used in this recipe but darker colored juices are more visually appealing.
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