Chia Seeds: A Tiny Powerhouse for Sustainability

It’s hard to think about the Chia seed without getting a mental image of a Chia pet.  I always imagine the crazy looking clay sheep with wild greenery sprouting out all over it that used to sit in my college dorm windowsill.

In all actuality, the Chia seed is much more than part of a novelty planter though – it is a tiny little powerhouse that can add a lot of benefits to your long-term food storage while only taking up a small amount of space. The word “Chia” is actually the Mayan word for strength. In ancient cultures, they are considered the food of the warrior because of their nutrient density and ability to sustain running messengers for long durations without other food. 

Adding a serving of the nearly tasteless seeds to a meal can more than double the nutrition you receive! Chia seeds contain boron and Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. They are also nutritional dynamos that blow away many other sources of nutrients.  They contain:

  • 2x the protein of other seeds
  • 5x the calcium of milk
  • 2x the potassium of bananas
  • 3x the antioxidants of blueberries
  • 3x the iron of spinach

In addition, Chia seeds absorb 9-12 times their weight in water, thus helping you stay hydrated longer.

The Chia plant is part of the salvia family, but the seeds are very bland and nearly tasteless. The versatility of these are also a plus when you add them to your recipes. You can use Chia seeds either wet or dry.

To use them wet:

Soak one part seeds in nine parts water for 15 minutes.  The result will be a tasteless gel that can be added to soups, sauces, salad dressings or stews for a savory meal, or to smoothies, puddings or yogurt for dessert. Another method, is to add either ½ – 1tbls of chia seeds to your water bottle and drink throughout the day.

To use them dry:

Dry Chia seeds can be sprinkled on top of granola, yogurt or a salad for a bit of crunch.  Some people grind the seeds into a powder and add this to baked goods for a punch of protein and vital nutrients.

Chia seeds have another perk that makes them an ultimate survivor food.  Because of the insoluble fiber and the gel-like consistency that occurs when the seeds get wet, they provide a long-lasting feeling of fullness.  In a disaster situation where food may be limited, these little seeds can go a long way towards extended your supplies.  Your family will be able to eat a little less without feeling deprived because they’ll have full tummies from the seeds that you’ve added to the meal they just enjoyed!

Chia seeds can also be sprouted to add some welcome fresh greens to winter meals. The sprouts will be ready to harvest in only three days, making this a very speedy, low effort way to get some fresh veggies when the produce section of the grocery store is inaccessible.  For complete instructions on sprouting Chia seeds, click here.

Like everything else in a survival pantry, it’s best to do some experimenting when each meal is not urgently needed.  You may find that these easy-to-use seeds are a welcome and nutritious addition to your everyday meals!

Sources:

The Chia Food Cheat Sheet

Top 10 Benefits of Chia Seeds

MySeeds Chia articles

You can order Chia seeds from…..

Amazon

My Chia Seeds

Superseeds (in Canada)

The Prepper's Blueprint

Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, a comprehensive guide that uses real-life scenarios to help you prepare for any disaster. Because a crisis rarely stops with a triggering event the aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life. The well-rounded, multi-layered approach outlined in the Blueprint helps you make sense of a wide array of preparedness concepts through easily digestible action items and supply lists.

Tess is also the author of the highly rated Prepper’s Cookbook, which helps you to create a plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply and includes over 300 recipes for nutritious, delicious, life-saving meals. 

Visit her web site at ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published April 19th, 2012
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  • clark

    My better half has been adding them to our salads. Now that I know they don’t have a taste I may allow for much more of them as I’ve found I don’t prefer the taste of seeds on my salads, much as I like seeds by themselves, I just don’t like them on my salads for some reason.
    Can a Person over-do it?
     
    I wonder how long they last and what’s the best way to store them?
     
    Also, prior to reading this article I didn’t think about the Chia Pets when Chia seeds are mentioned , but I do now. … Heh, you owe me one. … Great, now I’ve got that Chia Pet jingle in my head. Just keep writing and I’ll consider us even.

  • jo6pac

    I would like to know about growing my on seed to eat. Were can I purchase seed to grow or does this seed grow if planted? Fresh is what I’m looking for.
    Thanks

    • Any seed sprouting website should have some chia seeds for you to purchase. I buy mine at a local health store, but you may be able to find some chia seeds in the health section of your grocery store.

      Thanks,

      Tess

      • jo6pac

        No, Thank You

  • Linda

    Tess, much to my surprise I just found them in the dry bin section of one of my local stores.

    I have not been able to find any info as to long-term storage. Would they go rancid?

    Any info available would be much appreciated.   

    • That’s great. I recently found them at my local grocery store too! They’re getting popular.

      Tess

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