chia seeds

When can babies have chia seeds?
 

Chia seeds may be introduced as soon as baby is ready to start solid foods,  which is generally around 6 months of age.

It's a fact!

In the last few decades, chia seed popularity has grown. They’ve been called “miracle seeds,” “super seeds,” “superfood,” “magical,” and “the food of endurance runners” – but 3500 years ago, the tiny, mighty chia seed was known as “the food of the ancient Mayans, Aztecs, and Tarahumara Indians.” In fact, Mayan and Aztec warriors used chia seeds as their sole food source when traveling long distances, because just a small pouch carried at their waists provided complete nutritional sustenance for days – without ever having to stop and eat. With that kind of track record, it’s no wonder that the Mayan word for chia seeds is “chiabaan,” which means “strengthening.” When the Europeans arrived in Mexico and began decimating Native populations — through epidemics of viruses including smallpox — the Aztec Empire soon fell to the conquering Spaniards. Thanks to the survival of small numbers of Native people in the Americas, Aztec traditions and culture live on in small but important ways. Native peoples continued to plant the crops that supported their ancestors, keeping chia seeds alive and well over the next few hundred years.

Many people who grew up in the 1970s and 1980s are familiar with chia seeds — because of the chia pet. In 1977, Joe Pedott developed the idea for a small terracotta figurine with sprouted chia seeds for fur or hair, after he visited Mexico and saw Oaxacan artists using similar sprouted chia seeds in their work. Thanks to it’s catchy tv commercials (“ch-ch-ch-chia!”), the chia pet took off in sales. A number of different chia animals were produced by Pedott’s company Joseph Enterprises, selling almost 15 million products annually. Pedott didn’t stop there. His company also sold raw chia seeds in bulk as a nutritional supplement, touting their health benefits to Americans who had never heard of the miniature seeds.

Chia has only grown in popularity over the years.

how old is your baby?

Every baby develops on their own timeline. The preparation suggestions below are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional, one-on-one advice from your pediatric medical or health professional, nutritionist or dietitian, or expert in pediatric feeding and eating. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read or seen here.

6 to 12 months old: Make chia seed pudding or chia seed gel to add to other foods as desired. To make the gel, start by combining ¼ cup of chia seeds and 1 cup of breast milk, formula, or unsweetened milk, such as cow’s milk or a plant-based milk (soy, oat, or hemp have the most protein and fat, which babies need). Let the seeds sit in the liquid until a gel forms, about 30 minutes. From there, mix a spoonful or two of the gel into foods like cereal, yogurt, or even mashed vegetables. To encourage your baby to eat independently, let them finger paint and scoop with their hands and offer pre-loaded utensils in the air. And prepare for mess with self-feeding as Chia seeds are challenging to clean up as they cling to everything.

12 to 18 months old: Continue adding chia seed gel to foods as desired and explore chia pudding recipes. At this age, you can also serve smoothies with chia seed gel for added nutrition, though it would be wise to wait until your baby is self-feeding 3 meals a day and getting the majority of their calories from solid food before offering drinks like smoothies. (At this age it is best to prioritize eating over drinking as the weaning process continues.

18 to 24 months old: Serve pre-soaked chia seeds however you like! Add chia seed gel to warm cereals, make chia seed pudding overnight, or add pre-soaked chia seeds to smoothies’ fruits and vegetables, sandwiches and soups.