A Seed or a Pet? Adding Chia Seeds to Your Diet

Besides entertainment, adding chia seeds to your diet is of great benefit. You’ve seen the cute Chia Pets in the stores or on TV — clay figures shaped like various characters that grow “chia hair” when you water. Suddenly, Kermit the Frog has a beard!  

As loveable as Chia Pets are, chia seeds provide much more than entertainment. Culturally all the rage as a health food, chia seeds have been consumed as a food for quite a long time, dating back to the Mayan and Aztec cultures. They are a part of the mint family, and unlike flax seeds, they do not need to be ground to be digested. Let’s have a look at some of the benefits of adding chia seeds to your diet.

The Benefits of Adding Chia Seeds to Your Diet

They are a great plant source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids, high in insoluble fiber, and provide antioxidants that protect against cell damage. The seeds expand and form a gel when they come into contact with water, adding bulk to stool and keeping your family regular.  

Many children struggle with getting adequate fiber intake. Fiber plays an important role in digestive and heart health, and Chia seeds can be an easy way to include a quality fiber source in the diet. Sprinkle some on top of your oatmeal, add some to a fruit smoothie, or bake some into your favorite muffins; it’s easy to incorporate chia seed into your diet and gives an easy boost to your family’s nutrition.

Since chia is high in fiber, take caution when adding chia seeds to your diet — adding too much may cause some discomfort. Chia seeds can also act as a blood thinner, so talk to your health care provider first if you or a family member are on blood thinners.

When you’re ready to implement chia seeds into your family’s diet, our experts at The Youth Clinic are ready to be your chia guide. Here’s a delicious and simple smoothie recipe to get you started!


  • 1 cup frozen berries
  • 1 large handful of baby spinach
  • 1 medium banana
  • 1/2 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup cow, oat, or almond milk, unsweetened
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds


  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth! 
  2. Let the smoothie sit for a few minutes to allow the chia seeds to plum and expand.
  3. Pour smoothie into your favorite cup
  4. Enjoy the health benefits of chia seeds

About the Author

Martha Gooldy Garcia, RD, IBCLC

woman smilingMartha Gooldy Garcia, Registered Dietitian and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, has been with the Youth Clinic since 2007. She brings over 30 years of experience in the field of pediatric nutrition and breastfeeding support.

Prior to joining the Youth Clinic, Martha worked with the Women, Infants, and Children Program for 23 years. During that time, she also consulted with various agencies to provide in-home nutrition support to children 0 – 21 with special medical needs and developmental challenges.

Outside of work, Martha enjoys cooking and eating, reading, snowboarding, and spending time with her family. Her favorite part about working with her patients is seeing the joy in parents’ faces as they look at their newborns, and helping kids and families get excited about trying new foods and healthy eating. She loves building relationships with the kids and families through the years.

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