What can you make with chia seeds?
I’m excited to share my first Recipe Redux post today! The Recipe Redux is a monthly recipe challenge founded by registered dietitians and designed to get healthy food bloggers making over and sharing delicious healthy recipes.
This month’s theme is:
Spring Clean the Kitchen: Cook with at least 3 ingredients that are actually in your refrigerator or pantry right now. Try not to go to the store to buy anything new. Give tips on how to make a healthy dish out of whatever you have on-hand.
I actually really love finding ways to cook with what I already have on hand and the best tip I can offer to help you do the same is to try not to worry about following a recipe too much. Short of mistakes like adding too much salt or burning the dish, most of the time, food is perfectly delicious and edible whether or not the recipe has been tested in the past!
And as a food lover and recipe developer, I have a LOT of food in my house at any given time. Grocery stores are like toy stores to me! But remembering to use up what I buy, that’s a different story… Take this Instagram post from October of 2013, for example.
See those chia seeds? Yeah. Just like my Instagram account, they lay dormant for about three years… “But chia seeds are so popular!” you say. “You can do so many different things with them!” True, true. I probably just didn’t even remember that I had them until recently when I spotted To Live and Diet in LA’s recipe for Raspberry Chia Seed Jam and realized I had everything I needed to make it on hand, including some three-year-old chia seeds.
I had blueberries rather than raspberries in the fridge (because my daughter is a blueberry fiend) so I tinkered with the recipe a bit to bring out the flavor of the blueberries and bring it closer to the taste of a commercial jam with the addition of honey. I haven’t tried it with raspberries, though, so if that’s the fruit you want to use, give To Live and Diet in LA’s recipe a shot since you might not need to add honey or lemon juice.
Three things I really love about this recipe:
1. You probably have everything you need to make it on hand already (or picking them up is just as easy as buying a jar of ready-made jam).
2. It is SO easy to make. Just blend everything up! You don’t have to add pectin or use a complicated canning process like you would if you were using a traditional jam recipe.
3. It is SO MUCH lower in added sugar than commercial jams. Fun fact: jams and jellies contain a lot of added sugar not just for flavor, but because the sugar contributes chemical attributes including how long it lasts and whether it firms up like a jelly or remains runny. In this recipe, the gelatinous properties of the chia seeds make it jelly-like rather than all that extra sugar.
Why should you look for low-sugar options when feeding kids?
I am a huge advocate of getting babies and toddlers used to foods that aren’t very sweet. See my DIY Strawberry Yogurt for another example. Our preference for sweetness is learned, so the toddler years when kids are first developing their taste preferences is the ideal time to cultivate this preference, which should lead to a lifelong healthy habit of consuming less added sugar.
At the same time, jam is fun and delicious and definitely a staple product found in most households with kids. I don’t want my daughter to be the only kid in school who can’t have jam on her almond butter sandwich, so this recipe is a perfect solution. It keeps for about two weeks in the fridge and takes about five minutes to make, so I plan to make a new batch every two weeks for the foreseeable future!