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Chia Seeds: Health Benefits and Energy Bites

Chia seeds have gotten quite the hype the last few years.  In the running and endurance athletics community they have definitely become a hot commodity since their introduction in the book ‘Born to Run’ by Christopher McDougall.  In the book, the super-athletic Tarahumara Indians in Mexico consumed chia seeds while on their desert runs and were provided with surges of energy during and after.   So are chia seeds really the next promised super food?  I’ve been curious to know exactly why they are claimed to be so good for us and so did a lot of reading about them and this is what I found out:

Chia Seeds: Health Benefits and Energy Bites

Health Benefits

  • Chia seeds come from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, a member of the mint family
  • 1 tablespoon of chia seeds contains 5 grams of fiber, 3 grams of protein, 2282 mg of Omega 3 and 752 mg of Omega 6 fatty acids (This makes them a really great source of both fiber and Omegas)
  • A significant concentration of fiber combined with their ability to absorb 10 times their weight in water also makes chia seeds excellent for maintaining regularity and also contributing to satiety
  • Contain iron, calcium, magnesium and zinc
  • Emerging research suggests that including chia seeds as part of a healthy diet may help improve cardiovascular risk factors such as lowering cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure

How to Include Them in Your Diet

And last but not least our Energy Bites!!  These literally will take you 5 minutes to whip up and they are really delicious.  The fun part for your kids is that they can choose their own add-ins.  The sky is the limit and if they get to choose something that goes in them, guaranteed they will be more likely to eat them.

 

Chia Seeds: Health Benefits and Energy Bites

Mix your basic ingredients in a bowl: Oats, honey, peanut butter, vanilla, and chia seeds.

Chia Seeds: Health Benefits and Energy Bites

If you are going to do different add-ins, separate the mixture into different bowls.

Chia Seeds: Health Benefits and Energy Bites

Refrigerate for about 20 minutes.  Flatten on parchment paper and then cut into ‘bites’.  Or if you want to skip this step, you can just roll mixture into balls.

Chia Seeds: Health Benefits and Energy Bites

You can refrigerate these and they will stay good for at least a week.  If you are wanting to use them for hiking, running, biking – other endurance activities – I would put a few in a small portable container in the fridge for a quick grab-n-go.

Chia Seeds: Health Benefits and Energy Bites Chia Seeds: Health Benefits and Energy Bites

Chia Seeds: Health Benefits and Energy Bites

  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  1. Combine ingredients together until well mixed.
  2. Add any additional add-ins.
  3. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  4. Shape into bites.
Yum

Print Recipe



76 Comments

Jeana

We love chia seeds! I think I’ll go make these for my boys’ afternoon snack. Thanks!

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I have seen them at Whole Foods, Trader Joes, and at other smaller health food stores. I have also seen them at Walgreen’s believe it or not, and you can always purchase online. http://www.thechiaseed.com sells them in bigger bags and they have free shipping.

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I have seen them at Whole Foods, Trader Joes, and at other smaller health food stores. I have also seen them at Walgreen’s believe it or not, and you can always purchase online. http://www.thechiaseed.com sells them in bigger bags and they have free shipping.

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Jana

I always thought you had to soak chia seeds before you use them? Think almond butter would work here? Darn peanut allergy in the fam…

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Lynette

They sell a big bag of chia seeds at Costco too! Sprouts also has them too. If you have never had them before a good idea is to go to Whole Foods or Sprouts and buy a little bit in the bulk bins.

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Nope – you definitely don’t have to soak them. They will just have a little crunch to them without soaking. You could definitely use almond butter. I find that almond butter has a little more mild taste that peanut butter, but it would still be delicious!

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Whitney

I can’t wait to make these! We’ve been using chia seeds for a while and my kids love them! Do you know how much children should have per day? I have a 5 year old and a 7 year old, and I’ve just been sprinkling some on top of their oatmeal, smoothies, ect, because I searched the Internet but never found out a safe amount for kids.

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I don’t think there is a recommended amount of chia seeds for children from any credible source. I have read that a recommended amount for adults is 1 Tbsp per day, but I’m not sure of the source on that. My personal recommendation would be to continue what you are doing – sounds like a reasonable amount to me!

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I’ve been seeing chia seeds next to the quinoa at the grocery store lately and was wondering what made them good for you. Thanks for the nutritional info!

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Thanks for the post… always searching for better ways to keep the kids and family healthy. Its so great when you run across something that can actually work! Thanks again

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I’ve also heard a lot of good things about these chia seeds.

I’m always looking for recipes and healthy snacks for me and my kids and these look absolutely perfect. So I will definitely give these a go.

Thank you so much for posting this recipe!

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Mary Russell

Costco has very recently started to sell Chia seeds. The cost is at a fraction of any other source I have found so get them while the getting is good.

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Meg

I made these a few days ago and they are delicious!! I had a hard time keeping them together, though. I made balls and, although they generally kept their shape, they are really soft. Still incredibly delicious! I’m definitely taking these on our next run/hike. Thanks!

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Right after I first made them they had a harder time sticking together, but after I refrigerated them for a bit they definitely held their shape and were more ‘solidified’. Try refrigerating for longer!?!

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Natalie,

Thanks for this quick and easy recipe. What else can you use apart from honey? I have a honey allergy and would still like to make these. Also, what’s your opinion on brushing these with some flour water before popping them in the refrigerator to help keep their shape?

Alana

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Kristal

I’ve made these without honey before. After I add the peanut butter and oats, I stick it in the microwave for a few seconds. The softened peanut butter helps bind them together as well.

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You could try brown rice syrup in place of honey. I’m not sure if the flour water would go over well – it might change the look of it and possibly taste? But brown rice syrup tends to be a little more sticky than honey so that might help in keeping their shape. Good luck!

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Kayla Campbell

I love this! I’ve been wondering what to do with my chia seeds from t joes and I knows two year old will love these. My only questions is what do you mean by “if you are doing different add ins put in diff bowls. Each ingredient refrigerate in sep bowls?

Thanks for clarifying!

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If you look at the picture above, I separated each mixture that contains a different add-in just to keep them separate. I mixed in the add-ins (dried blueberries, coconut flakes, etc) after the ‘batter’ was made in separate bowls and then formed the ‘bites’. Hope that helps!

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krista Kozoriz

Just looking for the Nutritional Facts for these bites. Mainly calories. Made them today with dried blueberries and they are delish, my toddler also loved them, Thanks!

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Jean

Healwithfood.com has a wonderful nutritional profile on chia seeds. They contain healthy Omega 3 oil, lots of fiber, antioxidants, as well as calcium, potassium, and some of the B vitamins.

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Jacquie

What type of oats do you use? Instant? Steel cut? Etc. excited to make these!

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Jacquie

What type of oats do you use? Instant? Steel cut? Etc. excited to make these!

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We don’t have the nutrition facts for this recipe. It would change depending on what you add and how much.

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I am amazed at the diversity of the chia seed. Those energy bites look like such a wonderful treat for the kiddos. I love when you can combine good health with tasty snakes. Thanks for the ideas, I’m going to try the coconut bites!

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I know of someone who had type 2 diabetes who eats chia seeds everyday and they help him greatly. Chia seeds are truly amazing and I even find myself adding them to all my meals. Great post 🙂

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As I’ve lived in Scotland before I’m going to try these with some porridge! = mega healthy breakfast woohoo!

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racheal

Thank you, this is awesome and all of my kids love this, I use raw honey and no refrigeration needed at all, my kids love sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds and taste is the best in all

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Lindsay

I just bought some chia seeds and am excited to try this recipe. My daughter is allergic to PB though so we’ll substitute with sunbutter. Thanks!

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Mita

This may sound kinda dumb but is vanilla referring to vanilla extract? Thanks@

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Susan

Love your healthy snack ideas for kids, which by the way, the “kid” in all of us will also enjoy! The only comment I have regarding something I would change is the suggestion of adding M&Ms to the mix. I would avoid regular M&Ms due to the artificial colors, hydrogenated fats, etc. which are harmful ingredients, especially for kids. I would buy a healthy version of “M&Ms” which would contain natural coloring from fruits and veggies, like purple cabbage, beets, blueberries, etc. They can be found in bulk at a health food store like Whole Foods. I also found a brand at Target called UNREAL CANDY UNJUNKED, with NO chemicals, hydrogenated fats, preservatives, corn syrup, artificial colors/flavors or GMOs and they are just as good tasting as regular M&Ms, my grandkids can’t tell the difference. I’m a Certified Holistic Health Coach, so I too am always looking for healthy alternatives to feed my own family as well as share with others. Love your website, keep up the great work!

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I love your site. I know lots of recipes you share are for kids but they are helping me a great deal for myself just trying to find healthy little snacks to have during my transitioning period into an alkaline way of eating. Thanks for all you share!

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Amie

I was wondering if there would be a substitute for honey? I am trying to really cut down on my sugar intake, and even though it is a natural raw sugar I still don’t want to have that much sugar. TIA!

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nicole

Hi these sound great but is there a substitute for the peanut butter my 3 yr old son is allergic thanks!

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Rebekah

Hi! I love all your recipes. My son has Asperger’s and some food/texture issues. The veggie fruit muffin was my favorite because it’s hard if not impossible to get him to eat fruit because of the wet texture. And he prefers raw veggies over cooked ones. But he loves muffins! His favorite are fresh green beans from the garden. Anyways, can’t wait to try this recipe! Looks like a great portable snack to take to the pool. Anyway you can begin to add calorie counts to the recipes? I try to follow low calorie diet and keep track of my calories. 🙂 Thanks!

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We analyze all of our meal plan recipes and there are hundreds. You can check out our subscription by clicking on the ‘Join’ tab at the top of the page 🙂

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Lindsay

Sunbutter is the brand name and it’s made from sunflower seeds. I think it’s pretty good and our daughter really likes it.

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Maggie

Are there any substitutes for the honey? Made these today and they are delicious, but want to try different variations. Thanks!

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The ones that I made are really small. The serving size would depend on the person. For a 2 year old, 1 ball would be an appropriate serving size. For an older child or adult, I would say 3 would be a good serving size.

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Robin

I am wondering if you have any suggestions for replacing the oats. I am allergic to oats. But I love the other ingredients.

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Libby

Nut free ideas? Just so I can make and send to preschool (which is nut free environment). Thanks

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Bethany

My daughters and I are loving these. Today I made them with almond butter since their school is peanut free. I also made them heart shaped 🙂

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I love using organic chia seeds in our diet. The health benefits are amazing and we simply add them to our smoothies in the morning. The energy bites recipe you posted looks delicious and I know my son would love these. I guess I will be making a bunch of these now.

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Nicole

These are delicious!!! What a great jumping off point for a healthy snack. I added 1 tbsp on Enjoy Life chocolate chips and 1 tbsp of milled flax seed. My kids will be thrilled when they get home today and see their new snack.

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