Cupids Health

Chia Seeds for Babies and Toddlers


Chia seeds are becoming increasingly common because of their functional and nutritional properties. However, there are a few things to consider before adding these, nutrient-packed, seeds to your baby’s diet. Read on to find out the benefits of chia seeds, how to prepare them and serving suggestions.

Top Down View of Two Spoons One with White Chia Seeds and One With Black Seeds

Benefits of Chia Seeds

Chia seeds may be tiny but they are packed with nutrition. They are rich in

  • omega 3 fatty acids – for growth and development
  • fibre – keeps the digestive system healthy
  • calcium – for healthy bones
  • zinc – for immune function
  • phosphorus – contributes to bone health and tissue maintenance.
  • manganese – essential for metabolism, growth, and development

Chia seeds are a complete source of protein (contain all nine essential amino acids). They are naturally gluten-free.

How Much Chia Seeds Can my Baby / Toddler Have

There are no official recommendations on daily intake. However, chia seeds are packed full of fibre and because of this, you should introduce them slowly. Consuming too many in one sitting may cause abdominal discomfort.

In addition, too much fibre isn’t advised for children under 2. This is because they can become full quite quickly before they’ve had enough calories and other nutrients.

From what I have read, I’d recommend starting with 1/2 tsp a day and observing closely.

Top Down View of Chia Seed Gel in a Small Bowl With Spoonful Sitting Next to It

How to Prepare Chia Seeds for a baby/toddler.

Chia seeds should ONLY be served to babies / children once they have been soaked in liquid (e.g water, milk) and left to fully expand.

Chia seeds absorb a large amount of liquid, if you feed your baby dry chia seeds, they will absorb water post-ingestion and could potentially cause a gastrointestinal blockage.

Always let chia seeds expand fully in some kind of liquid and ensure to break down any clumps of seeds that may have formed before serving.

If you want a smoother gel/pudding then you can grind before soaking or blend the soaked mixture.  

Serving Suggestions

Chia seeds can be incorporated into many meals due to their bland taste and lack of smell.

Why not try adding some to

  • oatmeal
  • yogurt
  • soups
  • sauces
  • smoothies

You can also use them to make delicious desserts such as banana chia pudding.

Due to their ability to absorb water, to form a gel, they can also be used to thicken sauces, used as an egg replacement, or to make sugar-free chia jam.

Just be prepared for the mess…. the seeds stick to everything!

Top Down Shot of Chia Jam, Chia Pudding and Chia Gel in Small Bowls

Frequently Asked Questions

What age can you serve chia seeds?

Chia seeds may be introduced 6 months +. However, there are a few things to consider. Please read the notes above about how to prepare them and how much to offer.

Are chia seeds a choking hazard?

Chia seeds are not a common source of choking. However, if your child has dysphagia (feeding and swallowing problems) you should consult your feeding specialist before serving them.

Are chia seeds a common allergen?

Chia seed allergies are rare but have been documented. There is potential cross-reactivity between chia and other seeds such as sesame, meaning that some people allergic to certain seeds will also react to chia.

Is there a difference between white and black chia seeds?

Nutritionally, there is no difference between black or white chia seeds.

Where can I buy chia seeds?

Chia seeds used to be a niche ingredient, available only at healthy stores. However, they are a lot more mainstream now, and you should be able to find them in most well-stocked grocery stores.

How do you store chia seeds?

Chia seeds have a long shelf life and will keep for several years when stored in a cool, dry place.
You can refrigerate the hydrated seeds in an airtight container for up to 3 days (depending on liquid/milk used)

Summary

  • Despite their tiny size, chia seeds are highly nutritious. They’re loaded with fiber, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and various minerals.
  • Always allow chia seeds to soak and fully expand in liquid before serving a baby. Never feed dry chia seeds.
  • As with all new foods, start by serving a small quantity of the pre-soaked seeds and observe closely.
  • Chia seeds are tasteless and can be added to a range of sweet and savoury foods.
  • Prepare for the mess, soaked chia seeds cling to everything!

Looking for more healthy kid recipes?Sign up for my free recipe newsletter to get new family friendly recipes in your inbox each week! Find me sharing more kind-friendly inspiration on Pinterest and Instagram.

Top Down View of Chia Seed Gel in a Small Bowl With Spoonful Sitting Next to It

Chia Seed Gel

A gel that can be added to a range of dishes for an extra nutritional boost.

Instructions

  • Add the milk and seeds to a small mixing bowl and mix well. 

  • After a couple of minutes, give the mixture another good mix to ensure any clumps of chia seeds, that may have formed, are properly broken down.

  • Refrigerate and allow the seeds to sit in the liquid until the seeds have absorbed the liquid and a gel is formed, around 30 mins.

Recipe Notes

Add a spoonful or two of this chia gel into foods like oatmeal, yogurt, soups, sauces or mashed vegetables.
Nutritional information is a ROUGH guide only, calculated using an online nutrition calculator. Facts are based using cows milk.

Nutrition Facts

Chia Seed Gel

Amount Per Serving

Calories 24
Calories from Fat 9

% Daily Value*

Fat 1g2%

Saturated Fat 1g5%

Trans Fat 1g

Cholesterol 2mg1%

Sodium 7mg0%

Potassium 32mg1%

Carbohydrates 2g1%

Fiber 1g4%

Sugar 1g1%

Protein 1g2%

Vitamin A 26IU1%

Vitamin C 1mg1%

Calcium 36mg4%

Iron 1mg6%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Disclaimer: This information is intended for general use only. It is not medical advice and is not intended to replace the personalised care and advice given to you by your health professional. I am not a health professional and I do not know your baby. You should always discuss any concerns or questions about the health and well-being of your baby with a healthcare professional. Please refer to my full disclaimer for more info.

References / Further Reading

  1. Harvard T.F. Chan School of Public Health. The Nutrition Source: Chia Seeds. (website). Accessed April 10, 2021
  2. Healthline, Chia Seeds 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits. (website) Accessed April 10, 2021
  3. Anaphylaxis Campaign, Emerging Allergens. (website) Accessed April 10, 2021
  4. Albunni, BA., Wessels, H., Paschke-Kratzin, A., Fischer, M. (2019). Antibody Cross-Reactivity between Proteins of Chia Seed ( Salvia hispanica L.) and Other Food AllergensJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry,  67(26), 7475-7484.





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