All healthy recipes often call for ingredients that are either not readily available or are quite expensive. One such key ingredient is chia seeds, which have become one of the most popular aspects of healthy recipes.
This is because chia seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and fiber, along with being an excellent source of protein. We might even say that it is the magical seed that gives your body much of what it needs.
But what can you do if you’re on a budget and cannot afford chia seeds?
Or if you suddenly crave a smoothie and find no seeds available in the pantry or at your nearest supermarket?
Read on to know how you can add substitute for chia seeds in smoothies, and still get all the benefits.
What are Chia Seeds?
Salvia hispanica is the scientific name of the plant that produces chia seeds. They were initially found in the geographical regions of Guatemala and Mexico and had a long history of being used as a superfood to boost stamina and provide nutrition.
Along with being an essential component of a healthy diet, these seeds were also said to have various medicinal properties.
Since they were generally known to be rich in antioxidants, chia seeds had the potential to improve the ratio of LDL and HDL levels of cholesterol in the blood.
Related Post: Best Way To Grind Chia Seeds In A Nutribullet Blender
What Are They Used For?
Chia seeds are found to be instrumental in improving heart health and blood sugar levels. They are also known to cure inflammation along with assisting in weight management. Hence, they are very popularly used in various recipes.
Benefits of using Chia Seeds
- Omega 3 and Omega 6 are essential in preventing heart diseases.
- It helps maintain blood sugar and stops it from suddenly spiking, which may be detrimental to the well-being of an individual.
- Studies found that chia seeds help increase the ‘good’ HDL cholesterol levels in the blood.
- It is rich in fiber which directly leads to a healthier gut. A sound digestive system is the first step towards a better lifestyle.
- Due to being rich in fiber and other essential elements like protein, chia seeds make people feel full for longer, thus satiating their hunger and aiding in weight loss.
Popular Recipes that Require Chia Seeds
There are so many ways to incorporate chia seeds into your diet. However, the amount that you consume must be limited. It is advised only to consume a maximum of 2 tablespoons per day.
However, if you seem to have any digestive difficulties, it is best to minimize the use of these seeds until your tummy comes up to speed with this superfood. Here are the common ways of integrating chia seeds into your diet.
Chia and smoothies go best together. It is chia seeds that give smoothies their slurpy texture. For best results, stick to soaked chia seeds.
The best way to satiate that sweet tooth while staying healthy.
Chia water and Juices
The most effortless way to include this great seed into your diet is by simply soaking it in water and gulping it down. If you find yourself unable to do so easily, add some cut-up fruit or a slice of lemon for flavor. You can always just put some seeds in your freshly squeezed fruit juice!
Another easy way is to use that Salt Bae action and sprinkle the seeds onto your meals in the raw form. This can be done with salads, smoothies, oatmeal, or even stir-fry.
What more can we ask from life if we can get healthier bakes by simply incorporating some chia seeds into the dough.
Most commercial protein bars are rich in sugar and nothing else. Hence, to choose the healthy path, you can make your own nutrition bars with some grains and your very own chia seeds.
Many people now use these seeds as a substitute for eggs in their recipes, as soaked chia gives a texture similar to unbeaten egg whites. It is a popular choice among vegans and vegetarians.
Related Post: Best Blender For Seeds Options
Why Do You Need Substitutes for Chia Seeds
Now you may be wondering, if chia seeds are as great as we make them out to be, why would you need to substitute them? Well, the answer to this question is not a simple one, and neither can it be explained in a single line.
Nevertheless, let’s list a few reasons you may want to substitute chia seeds.
1. They Can Burn a Hole in Your Pocket
Chia seeds are quite expensive. The price varies from brand to brand and can range between $7 to $55 for a bag. This may not be a viable option for some, as most people are on a budget. Hence, we must turn towards other alternatives for chia seeds.
2. They Are Not Easily Available
Most small businesses do not keep stock of imported items like chia seeds out of fear that they will not sell them on time. Hence, it may often be quite a task to find regular access to these seeds, especially if you live far from the city.
Many individuals may be allergic to these seeds and hence require alternatives on their journey towards health.
4. Lower Blood Pressure and Sugar
Although aiding in the same, a drastic reduction in both levels can be fatal for an individual. Therefore, monitoring the quantity of chia seeds they intake or even substituting them altogether might be safer for specific individuals.
5. Digestive Issues
As mentioned earlier, the high amount of fiber may cause difficulties with digestion, especially if chia is used in the raw form without proper soaking. Ground chia is an alternative here but not a solution altogether.
Perfect Chia Substitutes in Smoothies
To help you find the perfect alternative for chia seeds in smoothies. We have put together a list. This will help you find the ideal substitute and learn how you can use them in your recipes.
Flaxseed or Linseed
The basic premise behind the use of chia in smoothies is to add to the texture and not make smoothies too watery. For this, chia seeds are usually soaked beforehand. Flaxseed is the perfect substitute here as it also gives the same gel-like consistency when soaked in water.
Additionally, flaxseed (also called linseed) has a unique nutty taste that adds flavor to your smoothie, unlike the bland chia. But remember to use ground flaxseed (it is more prominent in size than chia), and no one likes seeing chunks of stuff in a smoothie.
Related Post: Best Way To Grind Flaxseed In A Blender
Very readily available and relatively cheap, these are a common ingredient in many recipes that use pastes. Many may think that since this is an oilseed, it is not an excellent accompaniment for sweet dishes and drinks.
That is an incorrect assumption. Though sesame has a stronger taste, they are practically unrecognizable as alternatives to chia seeds in a smoothie.
Related Post: How To Grind Sesame Seeds In A Blender
This is the best substitute that you can count on. Since it does not have any evident taste and yet adds the same nutritional value as chia, psyllium husk works best in smoothies. Rich in fiber, they are excellent in preventing hunger pangs.
They are found both in powdered form and as supplements. It is not uncommon to find psyllium husk in its original state too.
Another great alternative to chia seeds, oat bran, is readily available and one of the cheapest yet most nutritious substitutes.
However, the point to note here is that you cannot use oat bran if you are looking for gluten-free options. Nevertheless, this can be added to smoothies in a powdered form and make them more scrumptious.
Related Post: Perfectly Grinding Oats In A Blender
This works great as a chia substitute and as a natural sweetener. In the mashed form, it can add to the texture of a smoothie and bring in much-needed minerals like potassium, fiber, and protein.
When using bananas as a substitute for chia, remember to reduce the quantity of sweetener that you usually add (if any) to avoid your smoothie from being too sugary.
There is a reason why ‘yogurt’ matches with ‘yummy,’ and it’s not because of the ‘y’. Sith its creamy texture, this alternative will definitely improve the taste factor of your smoothie.
It is recommended that you use unflavoured yogurt as flavored ones may come added with sugar. Also, if you want to make your smoothie less thick, you can add half portion milk along with the yogurt.
Related Post: Here Are The Substitutes For Yogurt In Smoothies
Making the Perfect Smoothie Without Chia Seeds
We have offered you six alternatives that you can bank on if you suddenly find yourself lacking in chia backup. So what is the best substitute for chia seeds among these, you ask?
Every individual has a unique sense of taste and prefers a particular texture for their meal. Since no two people can agree on the best chia alternative, we leave it to you to try out all of them and decide for yourself.
But if looking for a quick remedy, psyllium husk is your best bet at making a smoothie without altering the taste even slightly, and oat bran is your best friend if you want something cheaper and more straightforward to find.