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Looking for a survival food that is nutritious, has a long shelf life and will give you lots of energy? If so, then look no further than chia seeds.
After all, Aztec warriors used them to provide energy in running long distances. And Mayans prized chia seeds so much that “chia” is the ancient Mayan word for “strength.”
A native to South America, these super seeds come from the plant Salvia Hispanica. In the 1980s, people used them constantly during the Chia Pet craze. But fast forward a few decades, and they have exploded in popularity and are now considered by some health experts to be a superfood.
They might be tiny, but they pack a powerful punch when it comes to nutrition. According to the USDA, just one ounce (two tablespoons) of these super seeds has:
- Calories: 137
- Fiber: 11 grams
- Protein: 4 grams
- Fat: 9 grams (5 of which are omega-3s)
- Calcium: 18 percent of the RDA
- Manganese: 30 percent of the RDA
- Magnesium: 30 percent of the RDA
- Phosphorus: 27 percent of the RDA
In 2012, an article published in The Journal of Nutrition showed that chia seeds may lower cholesterol. This shouldn’t come as a surprise considering that these powerful seeds contain plenty of minerals such as potassium, zinc and B Vitamins — which means that eating two tablespoons of chia seeds a day may improve your heart health, as well as give you more energy.
Easy Ways To Add Chia To Your Diet
This nutty, ancient grain may seem intimidating to cook with, but don’t let that stop you from experimenting with it. Unlike flaxseeds, these tiny seeds will last you for at least four years on the shelf without going rancid or losing any nutritional benefit. This means that they make a great addition to any off-grid food supply. Furthermore, adding these seeds to your diet is easier than you think.
Here are some ideas:
- Add ground chia seeds to your favorite muffin batter.
- Pour chia seeds into pancake batter.
- Brush homemade bread rolls with butter and sprinkle chia seeds on top.
- Add chia seeds to yogurt.
- Soak chia seeds in coconut water to make an energy gel.
Gluten-Free, Chocolate-Chia Larabars
My family loves Larabars. But let’s be honest: they’re very expensive! To save money, I like to make them myself. Here’s an easy recipe that I use to make homemade Larabars. They aren’t low in calories, but they do make a great treat to splurge on occasionally.
Makes 8 bars
- 1 ½ cups pitted dates
- ⅓ cup raw cacao (unsweetened cocoa powder is fine)
- ⅓ cup whole chia seeds
- 1 cup raw almonds or raw cashews
- Gluten-free oat flour for dusting (optional)
- Soak chia seeds in 1 tablespoon of almond milk or water.
- Soak dates in ½ cup of warm water for 5-10 minutes. Drain water and put dates in food processor. Purée dates until thick paste forms. Add cocoa powder and chia seeds. Pulse until combined. Add nuts. And pulse until nuts are finely chopped.
- Spread mixture onto large sheet of wax paper that is dusted with oat flour. Form mixture into ½-inch-thick rectangle. Wrap tightly, and chill overnight.
- Unwrap block, and cut into 8 bars. Dust edges and sides with oat flour, if using, to prevent sticking. Rewrap each bar in wax paper. Bars can also be rolled into balls and will keep for three weeks in the refrigerator.
Nutritional info: Each bar has around 317 calories, 17 grams of fat, 8 grams of protein, 38 grams of carbohydrates, and 10 grams of fiber.
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While eating chia seeds probably won’t help you shed pounds, they’re still a great addition to any diet. They have a shelf life of at least four years, which means you should add them to your survival stash. So start to eat at least two tablespoons of chia seeds each day, and you’ll soon see your energy soar.
Do you like to eat chia seeds? What is your favorite way to eat them? Write your answer in the comments section below: