Not much bigger than a grain of pepper, these little seeds may become your new best friend. There versatile, nutritious and are a great weight loss aide.

Here are the facts:

1 tablespoon contains 40 calories, 3 grams of protein and no sodium. They are also a sources of calcium, soluble fiber and Omega3  fatty acids and antioxidants.

From a health perspective, including chia seeds in your diet may help you keep blood sugars more stable, reduce your appetite by keeping you feeling full longer, this may, in turn, help you with weight loss. The soluble fiber may also help prevent constipation and the fatty acids may help reduce risk of cardiovascular disease.

How to use:Add a to your protein shakes and then blend well or make chia pudding (see recipe below). You can also let them soak for 10 minutes in water and add to hot cereal.

Overnight Chia Pudding:

In a mason jar or similar container that seals tightly so you can shake rigorously add 1/8 cup plus 1 T chia seeds to 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (non or low fat skim milk can be used). To make a thicker version stir in 1/4 cup rolled oats. Seal lid tightly and shake rigorously for a minute and place in the refrigerator overnight. You can add berries and or chopped nuts before serving. Makes 2 servings or add a couple of tablespoons into your oatmeal or yogurt.

Flavor variations:

Add in 1/8 cup dark cocoa powder, 1/8 cup pure maple syrup or a packet of stevia and 1/2 scoop protein powder. 1/4 tsp cinnamon or 1 tsp of unsweetened fine coconut is optional, but a nice flavor addition.

Add 2 T peanut protein powder. Add  1/4 cup mashed banana and 1 T mini dark chocolate chips before serving.

Where to buy chia seeds: Most grocery stores in the natural products section and online.