As I mentioned in my first post, nutrition is personal. This post I'm going to welcome you into my personal life and share a recipe and some tips that will align with your goals if you are trying to reduce your sugar intake, increase your fruit consumption, or finally use that giant bag of chia seeds you bought last year.
Today is one of those days (at least so far anyway) when everything is just clicking. I kicked butt in an early morning workout (Thank you OTF], we got to spend some time together as a family this morning, and I saw online that a local farm re-opened their “Pick Your Own” strawberries! [They had been really heavily picked last week, and people also picked too many unripe berries, so they had to close down for a bit while more, ripe, berries became available].
I didn’t know what to expect, but I love strawberries, being active outside and spending time with Luciana, so I figured it had to be a good time. When they asked us which container we wanted to take with us into the fields [rookie move – we didn’t bring our own container!] I of course picked the biggest one they had and thought to myself that it still wasn’t big enough. Then we waited for our ride up to the fields via an ATV since they didn’t want to run the full tractor for just a few people [like usual - we were one of the first groups there]. No big deal, the resident dog ran along side of us so Luciana was thrilled with the experience we received!
Next up – getting dropped off in the fields. We were told which patches were pretty heavily picked and which patches should have a good supply, and then we were on our own. Bonus – the sugar snap peas grow right next to the strawberries, they are in season and the same price per pound as strawberries so we could feel free to pick some peas too (Luciana LOVES peas). I was trying to balance enjoying the moment with Luciana – berry picking was a first for both of us – but also capture the excitement to share with our family (and now all of you!).
Fast-forward half an hour and we are back in the farm market with an almost full basket of strawberries – clearly the basket WAS big enough and my expectations for how many berries we would pick were unrealistic! Thanks to Luciana really enjoying the fruits of her labor while I picked up a few local items, we left with about a half a basket of berries - don't worry, we paid for them before she started snacking. ;)
As I mentioned, I had visions of bringing bushels of berries home and making all kinds of fun stuff (no real plans or ingredients on hand for any of the possibilities, mind you). Well – when we got home I estimated having about 5 cups of berries. I figured that was enough to make strawberry chia jam and then have some fresh strawberries to snack on tonight. Luckily, I always have chia seeds and maple syrup on hand – the only other ingredient for chia jam is lemon juice. Unfortunately I did not have any lemons or lemon juice today – but I did have some 100% orange juice left over from when Luciana was sick last week. I figured I’d try OJ instead of lemon juice this time. Chia seeds can soak up a lot of liquid and provide this recipe the thickness it needs to mimic the texture of jam.
Before I share the recipe and photo progression, you may be wondering why anyone would make chia jam when jams and jellies are readily available. I used to think this too – until I realized how SIMPLE chia jam is to make, what an EASY swap into my meal planning it is and how DELICIOUS it is. We make a lot of PBJs, homemade filled bars and eat a lot of jelly toast. I don’t always have homemade chia jam for these items, but I love when I have time to make some and keep on hand. Just swap this chia jam in wherever you’re currently using store bought jams & jellies – with the lower sugar and higher fiber content it should provide a steadier release of glucose and keep you feeling satisfied longer.
Strawberry Chia Jam
Makes 2 cups. Prep time: 5 minutes Cook time: 10 minutes Chill time: 2 hours
Don’t have maple syrup? You can use honey, agave nectar or sugar. Clearly you can also replace the orange juice with lemon juice. Depending on your preferences, you may want to include a little more sweetener – up to 2 tablespoons will work.
Cooking with a toddler?
Luciana’s jobs (she's 2 years old):
This recipe isn’t horribly hands-on and is very forgiving, so I was able to read a few books while it cooked once Luciana was done ‘helping’ since she is really into "books again" these days!
1 Tablespoon is only 10 calories (2g of sugar) versus traditional jelly with 60 calories (15g of sugar).
I want to hear from you - How will you incorporate this chia jam into your meal plan?
I'm a busy mom with a passion for sharing practical advice to help you live the healthy and balanced life you envision. Warning: the information is evidenced-based, but the delivery will often contain humor!