The stereotypical low-carb diet is heavy on meat, eggs, butter and cream. To be sure, I’ve eaten my share of such animal-based fare, but the most notable newcomers to my diet have been plant-based foods such as nuts and seeds.
I’ve always eaten peanuts (which technically are not a nut), pistachios and the occasional cashew. But on my low-carb diet, I’ve become a big fan of almonds, walnuts, sunflower kernels and flax seed meal.
Now I have added chia seeds, the Aztec staple.
Probably most Americans only know chia seeds from the kind sold to grow green fur on clay figurines. I wouldn’t eat those seeds. But if you find food-quality chia seeds in a grocery or health food store, you might want to give them a try.
I bought a two-pound bag of Earthly Choice Chia at Costco. (I receive no payments from either company.) According to packaging, chia seeds are high in Omega 3, require no grinding or refrigeration, and have up to a two-year shelf-life.
Of course, Amazon.com has many brands of Chia seeds for sale, most of which I have yet to try.
So far, I’ve eaten the seeds raw on a salad and cooked in a mixture with water, oatmeal, walnuts, peanut butter (or almond butter) and cinnamon. The hot cereal is one that I have often made with flax seed meal. I liked the texture and taste better with chia seeds. I use only two tablespoons of rolled oats and two tablespoons of chia, which makes a decent-sized bowl of cereal with a low net-carb count.
The standard serving of Earthly Choice Chia is three tablespoons. The serving contains 160 calories, 10g fat, 14g total carbohydrate, 12g fiber, and 5g protein. It also provides considerable calcium and iron.
Are chia seeds low-carb? The 2g net carbs for a serving of chia seeds is higher than the net carbs for a serving of flax seed meal (which is zero), but not so much as to be a problem. The net carbs plus the protein is 7g versus 10g of fat. That’s an OK ratio for a low-carb high-fat (LCHF) diet.
The tiny white, black and brown seeds come from a plant that’s a member of the mint family. I’d describe their flavor as “nutty.” Of course, that’s the typical way to describe a seed’s flavor, similar to saying an unfamiliar meat tastes like chicken. But the flavor is pleasant.
I’ll be looking for other ways to eat chia seeds.