8 Easy, Creative Ways to Eat Chia Seeds

Chia seed pudding

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You see chia seeds in a variety of online cooking videos—from people making fruity, colorful smoothies to tasty avocado toast creations. These tiny, black seeds are found in grocery stores worldwide, as well as a number of restaurants serving breakfast and plant-based fare.

Despite their minuscule size, chia seeds come packed with 4.7 grams of protein per ounce, are high in fiber, and unlike most plant foods, they contain all nine amino acids. About 60 percent of their fat comes from omega-3 fatty acids, and they provide healthy plant compounds that can help you manage cardiovascular disease. They are also able to absorb water equal to 12 times their own mass.

Looking for unique ways to add chia seeds to snacks? Find 8 creative uses of these tiny, fiber-packed seeds.

Health Benefits of Chia Seeds

  • Help lower cholesterol.
  • Support immune system function.
  • Reduce cancer risk.
  • Lower blood pressure.
  • Aid in digestion.

 For more information on the benefits of chia seeds, please refer to Chia Seed Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits.

How to Use Chia Seeds 

Chia seeds' size allows for easy additions to many different kinds of food. Don't limit your chia seed consumption to smoothies—there are many recipes that benefit from the nutrients chia seeds provide.

Salad Dressing

Store-bought salad dressings often contain added sugars, preservatives, and colorings. Making dressings at home cuts out the excess unhealthy ingredients, and you can create concoctions with chia seeds for extra fiber.

Easy Chia Seed Vinaigrette

Mix ¼ c. of olive oil, 2 Tbsp. of lemon juice, 2 Tbsp. of balsamic vinaigrette, and 2 Tbsp. of chia seeds. Add salt and pepper to taste. Store in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Nutrition per serving: 131 calories, total fat 10.77g, saturated fat 1.3g, sugar 0.26g, total carbohydrates 11.06g, fiber 8.3g, protein 3.8g, and sodium 161.3mg.

Oats

For those who do not spend their mornings making a leisure breakfast, mixing up quick oats allow you to combine ingredients into a jar, give the ingredients a quick stir, and enjoy in a few minutes. Adding a small amount of chia seeds into the milk gives the seeds the liquid necessary to expand and improve digestion. One serving contains a lot of calories, but you can eat half and save the other half for the next morning.

Vegan Breakfast Oats

Make 1/4 c. of rolled oats and mix with 1 tsp. of chia seeds, 1/2 c. of mixed berries, 1 oz. of walnuts, and 1 c. of vanilla coconut milk. 

Nutrition per serving: calories 872, total fat 79.78g, saturated fat 53.05g, sugar 16.47g, total carbohydrates 46.42g, fiber 15g, protein 15.61g, and sodium 40mg.

Sweet Potato Toast

While toast may not be your first instinct when it comes to sweet potatoes, the ingredient can become an excellent vessel for both sweet and savory toppings.

Sweet Potato Toast

Cut one slice of a sweet potato. Toast it. Top the toast with 3 to 4 Tbsp. of mashed avocado, 1 tsp. chia seeds, and a dash of paprika.

Nutrition per serving: calories 207, total fat 17.02g, saturated fat 2.3g, sugar 0.66g, total carbohydrates 14.02g, fiber 10.6g, protein 3.87g, and sodium 10mg.

Pudding

A popular dessert throughout the world, pudding can come in both sweet and savory varieties—but the snack usually contains a high amount of added fat and sugar. To create a more nutrient-dense pudding, using natural sweeteners, healthy fats, and chia seeds can provide a tasty treat without a heavy amount of saturated fat.

Peanut Butter Chip Chia Pudding

In a jar (or another container with a lid), whisk together 1/2 Tbsp. of cocoa powder, 1 Tbsp. of peanut butter, 1 tsp. of honey (optional), and 1 c. of milk. Stir in 3 tablespoons of chia seeds. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight. In the morning, top with peanut butter, peanuts, and/or mini chocolate chips.

Nutrition per serving: 210 calories, total fat 12.34g, saturated fat 2.7g, sugar 7.09g, total carbohydrates 19.47g, fiber 10g, protein 7.74g, and sodium 120mg.

Smoothie

You can create your own smoothie using your fruit and milk of choice, as well as boost its nutritional value with the addition of flavorless protein powder and chia seeds.

Simple Smoothie

Blend 1 c. of nonfat or unsweetened milk, 5.3 oz. of low-fat Greek yogurt, 1 scoop of protein powder, 1 c. of frozen mixed berries, and 2 Tbsp. of chia seeds.

Nutrition per serving: calories 770, total fat 31.01g, saturated fat 8.5g, sugar 46g, total carbohydrates 77.69g, fiber 26.5g, protein 50.49g, sodium 551mg.

Chia Water

For improving digestion, adding chia seeds to your water could help. You do need to let the seeds sit for at least a couple of minutes, allowing them to steep and expand.

Chia Water

Mix 1 Tbsp. of chia seeds into 1 c. of water. Let the water sit for two minutes.

Nutrition per serving: 136 calories, total fat 8.61g, saturated fat 0.9g, sugar 0g, total carbohydrates 11.79g, fiber 9.6g, protein 4.63g, sodium 4mg.

Mini Bagel

For a quick, flavorful snack with protein and dairy, topping a mini bagel with a lean protein, cream cheese, and chia seeds is easy to make and requires only a few minutes of your time.

Mini Bagel with Cream Cheese and Salmon

Top 1 mini bagel with 2 Tbsp. of whipped cream cheese, 1 Tbsp. of chia seeds, and 3 oz. smoked nova salmon. You can mix the chia seeds with the cream cheese before you spread it on top of the bagel. Lay the salmon on top of the cream cheese.

Nutrition per serving: 427 calories, total fat 23.84g, saturated fat 7.7g, sugar 1.05g, total carbohydrates 26.62g, fiber 10.2g, protein 27.08g, sodium 634mg.

Yogurt with Chia Seeds

For a healthy dessert, adding chocolate, your favorite berries, and chia seeds can take a container of
Greek yogurt to another level of sweetness.

Yogurt with Chocolate Granola

Mix 5.3 ounces (1 small container) of low-fat Greek yogurt, 1 Tbsp. of chia seeds, 1/3 c. of double chocolate, and ½ c. of fresh mixed berries (blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries) together.

Nutrition per serving: 574 calories, total fat 12.5g, saturated fat 3.17g, sugar 73.84g, total carbohydrates 101.72g, fiber 12.3g, protein 15.79g, sodium 204mg.

A Word From Verywell

Chia seeds come packed with nutrition, including high amounts of necessary fiber, protein, and omega-3s, and they can fill in needed protein for anyone following a plant-based diet. With little flavor, these black and white seeds are a valuable addition to any liquid to boost the nutritional value. Be sure to speak with a medical professional if you have any dietary questions about adding chia seeds to your diet.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Should I soak chia seeds before eating?

    You typically eat chia seeds in a liquid, as their surface can easily break apart when moisture is added. This allows them to be better digested. If you want to eat them whole, you should soak them first. For dry seeds, you should grind them up first for digestion purposes.

  • Should chia seeds be eaten raw or cooked?

    You should not eat dry chia seeds as they could get stuck in your esophagus. Softening them in water or eating them in a liquid meal (such as a smoothie or yogurt) is best.

  • What are the side effects of chia seeds?

    Chia seeds can help lower blood pressure; if you take any blood pressure medication, you might want to speak with a medical professional first before adding them to your diet. They also expand in the esophagus, so you should avoid eating them dry as this can cause dangerous blockage.

8 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Seeds, chia seeds, dried. FoodData Central. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Published April 1, 2019.

  2. Kulczyński B, Kobus-Cisowska J, Taczanowski M, Kmiecik D, Gramza-Michałowska A. The chemical composition and nutritional value of chia seeds—Current state of knowledgeNutrients. 2019;11(6):1242. doi:10.3390/nu11061242

  3. Wang TY, Liu M, Portincasa P, Wang DQ. New insights into the molecular mechanism of intestinal fatty acid absorptionEur J Clin Invest. 2013;(43)11:1203-23.  doi:10.1111/eci.12161

  4. Gutiérrez S, Svahn SL, Johansson ME. Effects of omega-3 fatty acids on immune cellsInt J Mol Sci. 2019;20(20). doi:10.3390/ijms20205028

  5. Imran M, Saleh B, Sharifi-rad J, et al. Kaempferol: A key emphasis to its anticancer potentialMolecules. 2019;24(12). doi:10.3390/molecules24122277

  6. Chia. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Updated 2019.

  7. US National Library of Medicine. Soluble vs. insoluble fiber.

  8. Harvard Health. Chia Seeds.

By Jennifer Purdie, M.Ed
Jennifer Purdie, M.Ed, is a certified personal trainer, freelance writer, and author of "Growth Mindset for Athletes, Coaches and Trainers."