We Tried It: Salba Chia Seeds
Available at some Whole Foods Markets, Abby’s Health & Nutrition and Nutrition S’Mart in Carrollwood, Get Healthy in Oldsmar and Nature’s Health food Inc. in Brandon; prices vary based on product and package size; for a complete list of locations and products, go to www.salbasmart.com
The pitch: “Salba is the richest whole food source of Omega-3 fatty acids (ALA) and fiber found in nature on a gram for gram basis.”
The skinny: When it comes to healthy foods, chia is the cool new kid on the block, finding its place next to last year’s superstars, kale and flax seed.
Actually, chia has been around forever; it’s just easier now to find chia products in health food stores.
That’s where you’ll find Denver-based Salba Smart Natural Products; it’s selling its seeds whole and ground, and in tortilla chips and salsas. I tried the whole seeds, and I was impressed. Though they’re full of fiber, they didn’t cause the stomach drama other products do, but they do keep me feeling full long past lunchtime. I’ve tried the seeds in my morning oatmeal, and in salads, pudding and yogurt at lunch. The seeds don’t add any flavor (good or bad), but there is a nice bit of texture. And later in the day, I feel as though I have more energy. The ground seed can be used for baking to increase the nutritional value of your favorite recipes. The seeds are gluten-free, if that’s a need in your household. And they will stay fresh for months. A couple of warnings: Chia is high in fiber, so don’t overdo it. And when the seeds get wet, they form a gel coating (they look a bit like the seeds of a tomato), so you’ll want to make sure those little suckers aren’t stuck in your teeth. The single serving packets (.5 ounces) are too much for me — the one time I used a whole packet on a salad it overpowered the other ingredients. Half a packet is more than enough. I’m a calorie-counter, and 65 calories per serving is a lot to give up for something that has no flavor, but it’s worth it for the nutritional punch these seeds pack.