Oatmeal is a versatile dish but some ingredients will be better than others. Can you put chia seeds into your oatmeal and are there any benefits?
In short, you can put chia seeds in oatmeal. Chia seeds can help you add healthy calories, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other micronutrients.
Especially the extra fiber from the chia seeds can make your oatmeal even more filling and in turn, help with goals like losing weight.
Is it possible?
As mentioned, you can definitely put chia seeds in oatmeal.
You don’t need to soak chia seeds before adding them to oatmeal. However, you may need to increase the amount of the fluid ingredient you use since chia seeds do take up a lot of water.
Additionally, if you are not used to eating a lot of fiber, you don’t want to add a big bowl of chia seeds to your oatmeal right away. This could lead to gastric distress.
In a situation like that, you want to start with sprinkling some chia seeds on your oatmeal instead and slowly build up from there over time. This way the microbiome in your intestines can adapt.
Something else to note is that some people struggle with eating enough calories. For these individuals, chia seeds may not be the best addition to oatmeal because of how filling they are.
When should you add chia seeds to oatmeal?
In many recipes or dishes, the order of adding the ingredients and cooking them can make a big difference.
However, in the case of chia seeds, it seems like the order does not really matter in terms of nutrients (since I did not find any good sources mentioning otherwise).
You can cook or microwave the chia seeds with the oatmeal or add them at the end when the rest of the oatmeal is already done.
It is possible to argue that you want to see exactly how much fluid the chia seeds take up at the beginning. This allows you to add milk or water if needed before warming up the entire mix and then having to add cold fluid.
On the other hand, you want to experiment for yourself to see what time you like the best in terms of taste.
Is it good to add chia seeds to oatmeal?
Just because something is possible does not necessarily mean you should do it. Even so, adding chia seeds to your oatmeal can offer a few helpful benefits.
1. Makes oatmeal more filling
As briefly mentioned before, chia seeds really stand out for their high fiber content. More specifically, 100 grams of dried chia seeds contain around 34.4 grams of fiber (1).
Besides generally being considered healthy, one of the main benefits of fiber is that it can help you feel fuller.
That can make adding chia seeds to oatmeal helpful for individuals who want to lose weight or simply want to feel less hungry throughout their day.
2. Reduces blood sugar spike
Oatmeal is not the worst in terms of raising your blood sugar but there are better options too. Additionally, healthy individuals should likely not worry too much about the effects of oatmeal in this area.
That being said, it does look like having high blood sugar over time seems to be negative for human health (2, 3). Often eating foods that raise blood sugar a lot can help cause this.
If this is a concern to you, adding chia seeds can be a good idea. High amounts of fiber reduce how much other foods that are consumed at the same time raise your blood sugar (4).
Additionally, besides the fiber, chia seeds only have around 7.7 grams of carbohydrates per 100 grams. Additionally, they contain 30.7 grams of fats.
3. Adds an extra taste
For most people, being healthy is not the only important thing in food. Enjoying your meals more can help you stay consistent with your eating routine.
Some people really like the taste of chia seeds in their oatmeal, likely in combination with other ingredients. If you are in this category, it could be worth adding chia seeds to your favorite oatmeal recipes.
4. Extra nutrients
Most foods contain a variety of vitamins, minerals, and other micronutrients. Different options contain different nutrients and different ratios of these nutrients.
In absence of perfect guidelines about this, it is typically considered a good tactic to switch up your diet with different foods.
Similarly, adding chia seeds to oatmeal changes up the nutrient contents. For example, chia seeds contain nice amounts of calcium and iron compared to oats.
While it does depend on your personal genes and the rest of your diet, switching up the nutrients in your meals is generally considered good for your health.
5. You may like the texture
Something else that stands out in chia seeds is their texture when combined with fluids. This is another personal preference benefit but some people really like this extra dimension in their oatmeal.
In combination with the other positive effects, this could be enough to make this ingredient a permanent part of your oatmeal.