Ch-ch-ch-chia…Seeds!

You have probably had the Chia Pet jingle stuck in your head, but have you ever thought to stick Chia Seeds into your diet? These tiny seeds are gaining a lot of attention, for they are surprisingly packed with nutrients. Just one ounce (or two tablespoons) of Chia Seeds  contains 138 calories, 4 grams of protein, 11 grams of fiber, plus omega-3 fatty acids which all contribute to a healthy diet!

Chia seeds stem from the Salvia Hispanica plant which is part of the mint family. They are believed to have been a big part of the Aztecs’ diet. The seeds come in black or white, and have a mild flavor which makes them easy to add to foods such as yogurt, cereal, and salads. Some research has shown that Chia Seeds aid in weight loss by expanding in the stomach, helping you feel fuller for longer. However more research is needed.

One of the coolest things about Chia Seeds is their ability to form pudding! Chia Seed pudding can be made using a variety of ingredients, but here is a simple vanilla pudding recipe:

 Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding

1 cup milk (skim milk, soy milk, almond milk, etc)

3 tablespoons Chia Seeds

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions: Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir. Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight to achieve desired thickness.

Source: http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/truth-about-chia

When trying to lose weight you may overlook the calories lurking in the beverages you drink from day to day. For example, the medium café latte that you habitually guzzle down on the way to work can contain as many as 265 calories. Soda is another drink to watch out for– one 12 oz can of soda can contain up to 40 grams of sugar and have 140 calories. Now think about if you consume more than one can a day and do the math…the numbers can be a bit scary!  Fruit juices are unfortunately not much better. Most brands contain added sugar and high fructose corn syrup, only adding empty calories in your diet and not the nutrients you are seeking. Alcoholic drinks are also a sneaky way to add calories. Alcohol itself contains 7 calories per gram, and provides little nutritional value. One 5oz serving of red wine can have around 100 calories, and a standard 12 oz can of beer has 138 calories. Now we are not saying you can never enjoy a glass of cola on a hot summer day, or a mocha latte topped with whipped cream during the bitter winter. We are simply proving the knowledge you need to make healthy beverage choices!

Here are some tips to help you re-think your drink:

  • Add your content…Try to find 100 percent juices with no added sugars, or even better, just eat the actual fruit! Whole fruits have high water content which add in hydration, contain fewer calories and sugar, and also are a great source of fiber.
  • Sip on tea instead of coffee. Most teas have caffeine to keep you awake in the morning and are calorie free. There are many different variety of teas, from fruity to invigorating, which can make trying new types of tea fun! However if you cannot bear to give up your coffee addiction, try to limit the amount of creamers and sugar you put in you drink. Add other spices to your coffee such as cinnamon which has been shown to be beneficial to overall health.
  • When it comes to alcoholic beverages, try to drink light beer instead of regular. Light beer has 102 calories instead of 138 calories.
  • Drink more water .Water does so many great things for our bodies and is calorie free. It helps to maintain balance of body fluid, supports kidney function, energizes muscles, and helps regulate bowel movements.