Chia seeds are another of the “ancient discoveries” that have been gaining momentum in the nutritional and culinary worlds as a worthwhile ingredient. Chia seeds are tiny seeds that have been used in other parts of the world for centuries, and are also the seeds that transform into the Chia Pets that have been sold on TV. The sprouted microgreens work well in salads and sandwiches, but the seeds themselves are also beneficial in many dishes, including snacks.

In Your Morning Smoothies

One quality of chia seeds that makes them ideal for liquid-based snacks is their ability to absorb moisture. Chia seeds absorb up to 12 times their weight in liquid, resulting in a gel when they are soaked. You can soak chia seeds in water, almond milk or juice for use in smoothies. Aim for a 4-to-1 ratio of liquid to chia seeds, and allow it to soak for several hours or even overnight in the refrigerator. Use it as a thickener and nutritional boost to your smoothies.

Luxurious Puddings

Anytime it becomes possible to work pudding into your healthy snack routine, it’s worth a try. To make a chia pudding, soak your seeds until the gel forms, then make it even smoother in your blender or food processor. You can also add honey or maple syrup for sweetness, some vanilla extract for flavor or fresh fruit as a topping. This kind of pudding lends itself to experimentation, so don’t be afraid to try different ingredients along with your chia gel to find the ideal taste and texture for your palate.

"On the Go" Protein Bars

Protein bars or energy bars are common snack foods these days, yet many of the commercial bars contain copious amounts of refined sugar and other questionable ingredients. Making your own means you know exactly what’s in them, and chia seeds can be one of those additions. Look for mixtures that contain coconut flakes, coconut oil, flax seeds and a source of protein that meets your dietary preference. Vegan forms of protein such as whey powder are available if you aren’t into animal products. The chia seeds will add to the nutritional profile and the bulk of the bars.

Getting Creative

Chia seeds are quite versatile when it comes to including them in snack foods. The gel is easy to make and works well in beverages, mousses or yogurts. The seeds are easily sprinkled into homemade granola or as a substitute for sesame seeds or poppy seeds in muffins, cakes or cookies. Much of using chia seeds in snacks is pioneering work, but if you keep your eyes open and creative juices flowing, opportunities should surface on a regular basis.