Need something to help curb your appetite? Or maybe looking for a way to help control blood sugars? You may want to consider the chia seed. Best known for growing Chia Pets in clay pots, the chia seed has an impressive list of nutrients and health benefits.

This tiny seed is big when it comes to nutrition value. It's high in fiber, as a half-ounce contains 6 grams of fiber, the same amount of fiber found in three slices of whole wheat bread. The soluble fiber when combined with liquids forms a gel, which may help the body regulate how carbohydrates are digested and stabilize blood sugars. The soluble fiber also may have a role in controlling appetite and cholesterol. It also provides omega-3 fatty acids; in fact, it contains some of the highest amount of plant-based omega-3 fats. The antioxidant content is comparable to fruits and vegetables.

What's even more amazing is how simple it is to eat chia seeds. No need to grind first, just sprinkle or stir and eat. Chia seeds have little flavor, making it easy to add to your favorite foods without changing the taste.

Simply sprinkle one tablespoon on salads, yogurt, cereal, applesauce or smoothies. Or stir the seeds into a beverage such as juice right before meals to help control hunger and feel full longer. Because chia seeds are rich in antioxidants, there is no need to refrigerate to keep the oils present from going rancid.

Strawberry-Kiwi Spinach Salad with Chia Seeds

Serves 12

All you need:

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup canola oil

1/4 cup raspberry vinegar

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons chia seeds

2 (6 ounces each) bags fresh spinach

2 pints fresh strawberries, halved

4 medium kiwi fruit, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch slices

2 medium green onions, sliced

All you do:

1. In a blender or food processor, combine sugar, oil, vinegar, paprika and Worcestershire sauce; cover and process for 30 seconds. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, combine spinach, strawberries, kiwi and green onions.

Stir chia seeds into dressing right before serving. Add dressing to salad and toss to coat.

Tracey Shaffer, RD, LD, is a Hy-Vee dietitian at the Blue Springs location The information provided should not be construed as professional medical advice. Email her at