Chia seeds are loved by health-conscious people as the food contains an antioxidant named quercetin that can reduce your risk of developing several health conditions, including heart disease.
But putting chia seeds on your everyday dishes is a bit expensive and availability differs from place to place. And, that’s when you may look for chia seed substitutes.
Chia Seeds have a lot of substitutes around which will give you the almost same experience as chia seeds. Sesame seeds, quinoa, flax seed, psyllium husk, oat bran, pumpkin seeds, and hemp hearts are great substitutes for chia seeds. However, if any of these aren’t available, you can use bananas or yogurts to get the substitutive chia seed nutrients.
In this article, we are going to discuss why substitutes for chia seeds are necessary beyond cost-cutting in everyday dishes. You will also learn which substitute is most effective in case scenarios to get a healthy life solution.
Why Substitute Chia Seeds?
In today’s market, you can have multiple options to replace chia seed and these alternative options are pretty solid as well. If you have questions like why people want an alternative to chia seeds, here’s the answer.
- An alternative nutrient profile: Proteins and minerals are important for the body, but always you may don’t want to get them from chia seeds. There are many alternatives for chia seeds that can deliver them perfectly with almost similar taste to chia seeds.
- They don’t want to face any side effects: Chia seeds can cause side effects if you consume them in surplus amounts. Yes, it’s true, the superfood among all other seeds can cause trouble as well.You may face abdominal pain along with flaring up an inflammatory bowel disease. These side effect cases are rare, but different people get different reactions while consuming chia seeds.If you face such side effects, taking a break from consuming chia seed will help you to eradicate both sufferings altogether.
- You are searching to try a different taste: Chia seed itself tastes mild, and where ever you put it, it can adopt the taste pretty well. The best part is, it’s like an addition to any food’s nutrients without making the taste go bad. Using a substitute of chia seeds helps you to differentiate the taste and balance out the same nutrient that chia seed provides.
Besides all these, expensive chia seeds may always not be available which is why you always need to be prepared for an alternative option to chia seeds that will make your cooking experience hassle-free.
7 Best Chia Seed Substitutes
Chia seeds are a rich source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and omega-3 fatty acids. 1 ounce of chia seed contains 138 (kcals) of Calories, 4.7 grams of protein, 9.8 grams of fiber, and many more. This helps to promote omega-3 fatty acids by lowering omega-6 acids.
Here we explained the substitutes for chia seeds and why they are the best choice.
|Sesame seed||Salads, Tahini, Smoothies, Granolas, Pudding|
|Quinoa||Pancakes, Tortilla Soup, Curried Salad, Roasted vegetables|
|Flax seed||Cereal, Shakes, Side of sautéed veggies, Yogurt|
|Psyllium husk||Pasta, Buns, Smoothies, Pudding, Pizza crust|
|Oat bran||Muffin, cereal, bread, smoothies|
|Pumpkin seeds||Garnish bread, cookies, sauce, soup|
|Hemp hearts||Muffin, Pudding|
1. Sesame seed
(Calories-160 kcal, Fiber-3.3 gram per ounce. High in vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and antioxidants)
Sesame seeds were in vast use before chia seed was discovered.
You can find sesame seeds in almost every supermarket and grocery store and they won’t even cut your pocket. It’s a very good source of what you need from chia seeds to boost your daily needs.
Sesame seeds can be used in a wide variety of foods starting from salty dishes to stews. The paste of tahini is made from it and it really tastes great. Note that it has a bit stronger taste than chia seed so keep it in mind when you are adding them to any of your delicious recipes.
(Calories-222 kcal, Fiber-5.18 grams per ounce. High in magnesium, potassium, and iron)
Many people consider quinoa as a different category of food, but it’s actually a kind of seed. Its nutritious value works so well as a substitute for chia seed that it can also fall under another superfood. Its protein really helps the body to get the best active status and keeps you healthy.
Quinoa is usually used in sweet items instead of making chia pudding, you can make quinoa pudding, for which you need to replace chia seed one-to-one ratio with quinoa.
To get the best taste, before using quinoa, cook it with water for about 20 minutes, boil it, and then pour it into the milk before using the milk for pudding.
3. Flax seed
(Calories-151 kcal, Fiber-8 gram per ounce. Best plant-based heart-healthy source of omega-3 fatty acids)
Flax seed is also called linseeds which you may call a 1-to-1 replica of chia seed. Chia seed is used to stick the ingredients in many recipes by making it a gel-type ingredient. You can use flax seed in exactly the same way in those recipes. You can also sprinkle it on salads and yogurts for a boost in nutrients.
Do note that, before purchasing, take a look if you are buying the ground flax seeds, because whole flax seeds are hard to handle.
4. Psyllium Husk
(Calories-57 kcal, Protein-1.3 grams per ounce. Healthy source of fiber and the lowest sodium food)
The outer coating of the Plantago Ovata plant is called the psyllium husk. According to the US nutrition food chart, this has the lowest carbohydrate among any other plant-based foods. The common thing it has with chia seed is both are high in soluble fiber. It helps you to lower your hunger between meals.
You can buy it in supplement or powder form but since you will be using it to replace chia seed, it’s better if you buy the whole husks.
5. Oat Bran
(Calories- 68.9 kcal, Protein- 4.8 gram per ounce. Best for fiber, a good source of vitamin B1 and vitamin E)
This is the cheapest Chia seed alternative. This is the most common substitute that can be found in any place in the world, making it the cheapest. Many people already use it in making dessert items even though they are not used to using chia seeds.
It’s a bit nutty and has a different flavor than a chia seed. This gives great nutrition of protein, vitamins, and minerals.
6. Pumpkin Seeds
(Calories- 151 kcal, Fiber- 1.7 grams per ounce. A crunchy snack that is enriched with iron, magnesium, and fiber)
Pumpkin seeds are rich in magnesium. You can literally have pumpkin seeds raw, just by adding some salt.
This is a great alternative to any plant-based food because all kinds of iron and zinc are available in it. Whether it’s a salad or a snack, you can always use roasted pumpkin seeds. It saves a lot of time compared to other seeds since there is not much to prepare before putting these in the food.
7. Hemp Hearts
(Calories-166 kcal, Fiber- 1.2 grams per ounce. High levels of magnesium and amino acids help to reduce anxiety and stress)
Marijuana falls under the same species as hemp but they are completely different from one another. Marijuana may deliver you some well-known effects but Hemp heart won’t follow anything similar.
This seed cannot provide almost the same fiber gel as chia seed but is also not mucilaginous. But hemp hearts provide a lot of high-level fatty acids. However, adding them to your dish may make the dish lose its nuttiness.
Are Too Many Chia Seeds Harmful to Your Health?
Chia seeds came from a mint-based plant called Salvia hispanica. These plants can produce important bioactive compounds for human health but this also comes with some side effects.
Although these side effects aren’t visible to everyone, consuming too much chia seed will be a risk factor for health. People who are already diagnosed with blood pressure, diabetes, and allergies are at high risk of facing these side effects. You may also face digestive issues.
Below some side effects are being mentioned which may occur if you consume chia seed at a risky level.
- Weight Gain
- Gastrointestinal problem
- Lower blood pressure
- Cardiovascular Diseases
Can I Be Allergic To Chia Seeds?
Chia seeds might be allergic to some people although this case is very rare. The allergenic symptoms may include diarrhea, vomiting, and itching on the tongue or lips. In severe cases, it may lead to anaphylaxis which is really a rare case.
Chia seeds or hemp seeds; which is better?
Although both seeds share numerous health benefits, hemp seeds offer high health benefits and several other nutrients. Chia seeds may have calories but hemp seeds contain more fat.
Chia seeds have become vastly popular in today’s culinary world without any doubt. Chia seed doesn’t only make delicious dishes but also makes a versatile taste to any dish you put it in.
Since chia seeds aren’t that cheap, we hope our enlisted chia seed substitutes will satisfy you. It’s hard to find anything that is nutritious as well as tasty but you believe you will find the right ingredient for your cook from the above list.