Monday, June 24, 2013

Need More Fiber? Enter the Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia Summer Smoothie!

It took me a while to get on the chia bandwagon, but now I'm here to stay.  The New York Times Well Blog recently highlighted chia in an article, and posted some great recipes to share with their readers.  Today I'm sharing how I have recently been including chia in my own diet.  First, I've been adding it to my Greek yogurt breakfast in the morning (it's pretty cool, until they get stuck in your teeth, be sure to always check your teeth in a mirror after eating and before leaving for work!) and second I've been adding them to smoothies, as you'll see below.  Third? Granola.  That chia recipe will be shared next week.

Create a chia gel by adding 2T chia seeds to 1 cup water, and allowing to sit for 15-30 minutes.  Be sure to stir about 2-3 times during that time, so the chia seeds don't clump together.  You can also add the seeds to a flavored water or juice.  Then, add your gel to smoothies or soups, or even Greek yogurt.

So what are the benefits of chia?  Here are a few;

  • They expand in water to form a gel, therefore theoretically aiding in their satiety effect (since they expand in your stomach and sort of slow down digestion by creating a viscous gel, and also making you feel like you ate more than you did!)
  • In 2 Tbsp they provide;
    • An excellent source of plant based ALA omega-3 (~2.5 grams!) ** It is recommended that you get ~1.6 grams a day **
    • 3 grams of protein (complete!)
    • 6 grams fiber (excellent source)
    • 10% DV calcium and 8% DV iron

Strawberry Basil Summer Smoothie
Serves 1 (makes ~1.5 cups)

3 large frozen strawberries
1 small frozen banana (slice the banana and put on foil to freeze)
1/4 cup fresh pineapple (or canned, but strained well)
1/4 cup chopped basil
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
Chia Gel (see below)
Create a chia gel by adding 2T chia seeds to 1 cup almond milk, and allowing to sit for 15-30 minutes.  Be sure to stir about 2-3 times during that time, so the chia seeds don't clump together.  

Combine everything but the chia gel and blend until smooth.  Mix in the chia gel until incorporated well.  Enjoy!

NOTE:  This is a low FODMAPs recipe.  While almonds should be eaten in limited quantities on a low FODMAPs diet, almond milk is mainly water so it should be tolerated well.

Estimated Nutrition Facts
Nutrition Highlights:  2.5 grams omega-3 (a day's worth of plant-based ALA Omega-3!), excellent source of fiber, calcium and vitamin C, good source of vitamin A, iron, and protein

And, it's pretty, no?  Nick took one look at this and said "I'm not eating that".  Come on, just because it's got green specks doesn't mean it's going to taste like a salad.  I thought this was the perfect summer smoothie, and thanks to the chia gel it was was filling, very filling.

QUESTION:  Have you ever made a chia gel? What do you do with yours?? I've seen recipes for chia gel soups too.  I think that may have to be a winter experiment.

I hope you had a nice weekend.  Did you hear, I got to meet Alton Brown yesterday!? Yeah, I will probably talk about the experience for the rest of my life.  He made an Asian-inspired low country boil for us. Pretty amazing.  Now I have to go back to work and just have a normal day. What's that all about?!  Oh well, I'll make it special somehow.

Thanks for reading!

The Candid Rd


  1. Very cool that you got to meet Alton Brown!!!
    I just added some chias to my smoothie this am while I was reading your post :) I will try this actual smoothie soon. Out of curiousity, where is all that fat coming from? Is that in the chia seeds?

  2. My favourite way to eat these are in a chia pudding with fruit but have been looking for new uses for them and this smoothie looks great! Although I'm glad I'm not the only one who gets them stuck in my teeth haha

    1. Oh yes, without fail, I find one or 2 in my teeth. haha, it's awful, I carry floss :)

  3. Love this smoothie in a martini glass ;) I've been using chia like crazy lately, too, although I haven't tried in a delicious summer smoothie like this one yet! I've definitely done the mirror check after eating chia seeds, though.

    Are you going to write a post about meeting Alton Brown? (I vote yes! ;) )

    1. haha, no, probably not. It wasn't worthy of an entire post, I did put some photos on Instagram though! The time flew buy, I took maybe 3 photos, and was enthralled by his beauty and knowledge the rest of the time :)

  4. I sometimes use chia seeds in my smoothies. I also make chia pudding.

    So cool that you got to meet Alton Brown!

  5. Sounds like you had a fun weekend meeting Alton Brown :-). Your chia smoothie sounds delicious-love the addition of basil too! I'm thinking I'll try make some berry chia jam soon, and homemade nut butter for a yummy sandwich :-)

    1. Yes, I've been meaning to try chia JAM!! That's definitely on my list.