Chia Fresca: A Natural Energy Drink!

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on March 1, 2013

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Excuse me, but I must ask you what you are drinking? I’ve never seen anything like it before!

Those are the kinds of questions a girl gets asked when she’s toting this drink to a spin class. You get stares, sideways looks, and nervous smiles. The people out there are curious and they need to know that you aren’t drinking little black bugs. They need to be able to sleep at night. For goodness sake, tell them what you are drinking so they can get back to their workout!

So I tell them with a big smile, Chia bugs. Then there’s an awkward pause and even more confusion.

Ok, ok, it’s actually a healthy beverage called Chia Fresca which has been a popular drink in Mexico and Central America for many years. I’m sure many of you have heard of it before or even made it yourself. It’s made up of water, chia seeds, lemon or lime juice, and sweetener.

When chia seeds are soaked in water a gelatinous coating forms around the seed very similar to a tomato seed. This makes it very easy to swallow so the seeds don’t get stuck in your throat. Chia Fresca probably isn’t for people with texture issues (cough, cough husband), but I’ll leave that up to your discretion. I recently brought it back into my life to get a boost of Omega-3 fatty acids in my diet. It’s so much more fun than drinking plain water! Plus, it’s a total conversation starter much like bringing a Green Monster into the work place. I know you’ve been there. Well, why not bring Chia Fresca and show them just how crazy you can really be?

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Here’s a quick refresher on chia seeds:

  • Chia seeds are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, even more so than flax seed
  • Chia seeds do not need to be ground to be absorbed by the body and they can be stored for long periods of time without going rancid
  • They help with hydration due to their ability to absorb up to 9-10 times their weight in water
  • Chia seeds also contain fibre, protein, calcium, magnesium, copper, iron, and zinc among many other nutrients
  • Chia seeds like to get stuck in your teeth. You were warned.

 

Chia Fresca is said to boost energy levels too. I’m not really sure if it boosts my energy or not, but I sure feel happy and hydrated when I drink it. When I have some on hand, I like to pair it with coconut water for a natural potassium boost after a tough workout, but water is just fine too.

Edited to add: Some of you were asking me about the thickness of this drink so I thought I would add a few words on this. I wouldn’t say it has a smoothie-like texture, but it’s more like a water consistency just with a whole slew of gel-y seeds in it. Does that make any sense? You just have to try it for yourself. My guess is you will either love it or hate it.

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Chia Fresca

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Yield: 2 cups

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups water or coconut water
  • 1.5 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon or lime juice, or to taste
  • Sweetener, to taste (I like 1/2 tbsp maple syrup)

 

1. Add chia and water into a jar or glass and stir very well to combine. Let sit for 10 minutes to allow the chia seeds to swell up. I like to use a jar with a lid so I can shake it up really well and break up the clumps of chia.

2. Add lime or lemon juice and sweetener to taste. Stir (or shake) well to combine and enjoy!

For nutritional info, see here.

Note: Chia seeds will sink and collect at the bottom of the glass quickly. Give it a good stir as needed.

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Wishing you a very happy (and hydrated) weekend!!

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{ 46 comments… read them below or add one }

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Erin October 10, 2014 at 4:04 am

I also like to make it with tea instead of water or coconut water. And it tastes wonderful!

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Joanna October 23, 2014 at 1:28 pm

Girl you crack me up so much. Love this post, I’m drinking my chia bugs right now…. so many in my teeth. I think I’ll just wait for my boss to walk in and give her a giant grin : O

You cookbook, and blog, have changed my life. Currently recovering from an eating disorder, and have been vegan/grain-free/dairy-free for 4 months. The change has been remarkable. Your recipes make me feel good, they make me happy, and they satisfy my salt and vinegar and chocolate cravings….. which come every 6 hours! If I’m this hormonal now, what will pregnancy be like… eek!

I always get a good giggle in reading your posts, and then remember not to take myself too seriously. It feels so good to be able to enjoy food and sweets again, not only NOT feeling guilty, but knowing I’m bringing variety and nourishment to my body!

Thanks for everything, enjoy your new little snuggle bud : ) she looks perfect and precious

Excuse me while I go eat another batch of those almond butter cups
J

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 30, 2014 at 9:20 am

Thanks for your sweet comment Joanna! I appreciate your kind words so much. All the best to you and your recovery! xo

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Linda October 28, 2014 at 8:36 pm

I try to stay away from seeds because of diverticulosis. Anyone know if chia seeds are safe enough?

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Maggie November 22, 2014 at 6:54 pm

Just started on chia seeds yesterday. I’m mixing them with almound milk bananas and blueberries for a smoothie its pretty good.

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Tammy December 3, 2014 at 9:00 pm

Can’t wait to try this. I make my own blend of multigrain flour and include a healthy portion of chia seed so I have it in my bread and muffins as well as pudding, oatmeal, and applesauce. Yum! :)

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Marcia December 14, 2014 at 5:30 pm

Substitute Hibiscus tea for the water. Great taste. Cinnamon can be added. Love drinking

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Kayti Oriti January 23, 2015 at 12:29 pm

Love this recipe! I do lemon juice, chia seeds, raw apple cider vinegar, and stevia. :))

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Jen February 2, 2015 at 9:18 am

I love to make something very similar to this… The only difference is I add fresh pineapple juice instead of lemon/lime juice and then I omit the maple syrup. Delish!

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Kendall Aus February 2, 2015 at 5:16 pm

Thank you of introducing this to me! This drink is what got me through my long days prepping for and writing my exam.

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Carolyn February 9, 2015 at 11:20 am

I make/drink homemade Chia seed drinks regularly. To avoid having to mix the seeds and them sinking, warm a cup of water then add the seeds and mix, put it in the refrigerator for the next day you will see the seeds have hydrated and have that wonderful gel surrounding them and will remain suspended in your drink. Add whatever other type of juice or coconut water you like to it. I use 1 cup of warm water to 3 Tbsp. of seeds this is good for 2 servings. So in the AM I’ll use 1/2 for my drink and 1/2 for my husbands and add whatever other liquid we’re in the mood for in a large sports bottle. Enjoy!!!

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Caitlin March 16, 2015 at 12:04 pm

I’d like to add that fiber is a serious draw to chia seeds too! 2 Tbsp. contains 12 grams of carbs, 11 of which are fiber! Seriously, blend those seeds into anything you want for added fiber… yogurt, oatmeal, smoothies, etc.

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Wendy March 18, 2015 at 8:02 pm

I am in love with this drink. I’m going to make some for my son to take with his lunch. He will love it too.

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Jenn March 26, 2015 at 7:27 am

Made this with mint leaves, lime and agave syrup. Love it! Only trouble is I had to fish out the mint leaves before drinking ;)

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Justine March 28, 2015 at 10:15 am

Instead of sweetener, I add a single drop of a lively essential oil. My usual is grapefruit because it has great benefits including appetite suppressant so you should feel full even longer!

Without the citrus juice, the essential oil can be overwhelming but it’s a great pairing.

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Tiffany March 31, 2015 at 2:04 am

Hi Angela,

I’m new to your blog and stumbled upon your blog because so many of your recipes are on pinterest. I’m doing a 2 week vegan challenge. I have to ask the bottle on your chia fresca recipe. Where did you get that bottle? It looks like such a cool glass jar/water bottle.

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sandy April 24, 2015 at 4:21 pm

Love Chia is so good , tasteless , and cheap 3 bucks one pound ^^

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Wendy August 6, 2015 at 3:37 am

Hi, here’s how I love to have chia seeds. Brew fresh mint and in hot water and let cool, sometimes I use green tea too. In a jug I add lemon juice, organic apple cider vinegar, manuka honey and chia seeds to the tea. I have this as a warm drink first thing in the morning, and the rest I keep in the fridge to have as a cool drink during the day. :)

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Gia Marie November 20, 2015 at 2:18 pm

This sounds awesome. Thank you I will try. Plus I have tons of fresh mint still in my garden. Thanks again

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Rosa October 8, 2015 at 11:30 am

Hey I just started drinking this!! I just have one questions how many cups can I have a day?

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Keith November 8, 2015 at 2:35 am

Hey Great post…and comments….I use chia seeds in water bottles…..leave water bottles upside down at first/overnight so they don’t all gather by bottle cap……i add Blueberries and that Mio flavoring……will try syrup……..also you can just eat a handful……
what else is there to add besides Berries/Syrup

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Gia Marie November 20, 2015 at 2:16 pm

This was awesome, especially with my fave coconut water- Zico. I even have my 77 year old father drinking it so it’s definitively delicious. Thanks so much! Definitely a keeper recipe.

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Ginamarie December 6, 2015 at 2:37 pm

This was so good. I used Zico coconut water , fresh lime juice and maple syrup like you suggested. I’ve been saving and washing out my GT glass kombucha bottles and this recipe fits perfectly in them. I make a few ahead of time and store them in my fridge for quick grab and go access. Do you know the refrigerated shelf life? I even see these at Whole Foods now in their refrigerated section so I’m sure they will be good for a bit. I want to make some for family members for Christmas. Thanks again for this delicious, healthy and easy to make recipe.

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Olga December 16, 2015 at 5:26 pm

I’ve been drinking this after my workout… the first time I had trouble with the texture, but now I look forward to gym days so I can have a chia fresca… my question, however, is should I be drinking this before the gym instead of after?

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Silvio B. January 10, 2016 at 6:53 pm

Thank you for the inspiration (nice pictures).

I have found my favourite drink:
Make a green tea with some fresh ginger in it. before it is cold, mix it with Chia seeds. Add some water and one tea spoon of Xylitol for the sweet taste (and some benefits :-) ) until my bottle is full.
This sweetener is not cheap, but seems healthy, and prevents me from adding any additional sugar in my diet. Of course you can replace it with honey (mix while water is hot), maple syrup, agave syrup, etc..
Leave it in the fridge for the next day.
Drink cold after a workout, delicious ..

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Erica February 11, 2016 at 6:37 pm

I had this in downtown LA at one of the fruit/juice carts. I got mine mixed with half fresh pineapple juice and half chia seed water…. to die for!

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Liana March 12, 2016 at 2:58 pm

Anybody know???
If you grind chia seeds up to put in, say, an iced coffee drink, will the chia powder still soak up fluid from your digestive track and cause constipation?

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Danny Bushacra March 20, 2016 at 6:56 am

Amazing drink!

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Anne April 6, 2016 at 5:07 am

I am researching your awesome recipes for the Wild Rose detox diet. Is it ok to have maple syrup on this cleanse?

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Kayla August 18, 2016 at 11:37 am

This is fantastic. I just started running, I’ve been trying to eat low-carb but because I don’t like to eat a lot of mean or dairy it’s been really trying on my energy. Things like this will help give me energy for my afternoon runs. Thank you!!!

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Kim September 14, 2016 at 9:31 pm

My chia seeds are clumpy after vigorously shaking. Hm… not sure what I did wrong. Help:)

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Kara September 19, 2016 at 9:20 am

Drinking this for the first time right now! Very refreshing! Thank you very much! :)

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Angela Liddon September 19, 2016 at 1:23 pm

I’m happy you like it, Kara!

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Jennifer January 7, 2017 at 11:16 am

My 14 year old son is determined to lose weight and has started keeping this in the fridge. He says to put extra lime juice in it and it is delicious.

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Ian January 14, 2017 at 3:02 pm

Added 1 T of bee pollen. Keeps the top frothy which keeps chia seeds at the top.

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Monica February 1, 2017 at 11:53 am

I’m going to try this one before my next workout. I usually put chia seeds in my salads, but never had a drink with them. Can’t wait to try it :D

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Alana March 12, 2017 at 7:54 pm

How far in advance can I prep it? Like could I make it the night before then take it with me to the gym in the am?

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Angela Liddon March 13, 2017 at 8:36 am

I’ve heard from a few readers, now, that they’ve found prepping it the night before they plan to drink it works great. :) If you give it a go, I hope you enjoy, Alana!

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Desiree Collier-Valerie March 26, 2017 at 10:54 pm

I drink chia with rasberry or blackberry juice. So yummy. I can actually chew the swelled chia’s. So good. I am also trying to loose weight so I will try chia with lemon and a little agave or honey. Can’t wait for the goodness to begin.

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Lorraine January 26, 2018 at 2:44 pm

I want know how many time to drink chia water week?
Before breakfast or no breakfast lunch time or no lunch time etc?
Thank you

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Leonardo January 29, 2018 at 10:50 am

When is the best time to consume this before a running event?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) January 29, 2018 at 3:24 pm

Hi Leo, I’m sorry but I’m not sure!

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Lindsay March 13, 2018 at 10:05 pm

Thank you thank you thank you!!! This is my new fave drink! Sweetened it with honey! Delicious!!!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 14, 2018 at 8:17 am

Whohoo!! So happy to hear that Lindsay :)

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bettymyers August 18, 2018 at 12:04 pm

How long can you store the chia seeds? I have some in the refg. About a year should I throw them out and buy some more? Just trying to change my diet to more healthy things

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Angela (Oh She Glows) August 20, 2018 at 5:37 am

Hey Betty, I think chia seeds tend to last a long time when chilled. I think the expiry date on my bags is usually a year or longer. I hope this helps!

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