Chia Seeds: A Tiny Powerhouse for Sustainability

The Chia seed is much more than part of a novelty planter – 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.

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)

This article was originally published at Ready Nutrition™ on April 19th, 2012