Chia seeds are awesome. Yes, chia, as in the classic Cha-Cha-Cha-Chia Pet. I’ve been adding them to my overnight oats for the last year or two for added nutrition but what I didn’t know is that chia seeds are magic!

Chia seeds are packed with Omega-3s and are a good source of calcium, magnesium and iron. As a bonus for dieters, chia helps you feel fuller longer after eating. But one one of my two most recently discovered favorite uses for chia is as a gel thickener in homemade fruit jams!

We are cane sugar and high-fructose corn syrup free, so finding “j” for my kids’ pb&j sandwiches is both challenging and expensive. I’d been working on coming up with a homemade solution to this problem when I came across these Healthy Strawberry Oat Bars with Homemade Fruit Jam (which are fantastic, by the way, with a couple of sugar-free tweaks).

It’s amazingly easy. You just cut up or blend whatever fruit is on sale, heat, add chia and some sweetener if you want it and you have a healthy homemade jam. Not to mention you just turned your kids’ favorite (corn syrup/sugar candy-fest) sandwich into a super nutritious meal!

Homemade Chia Jam

2 Cups of diced or coarsely blended fruit
1 T chia seeds
Pure maple or agave syrup to taste (optional)

1. Heat fruit in a saucepan until it begins to sweat.

2. Add chia seeds and cook, stirring, on low-med heat for about 10 minutes.

3. Stir in sweetener and let cool.

Serve with peanut butter or almond butter on bread, plain in a pita for a picky eater, or over banana ice cream (frozen bananas blended until creamy). Be creative!

Note: Chia seeds look kinda nasty with some fruits like these peaches. In which case you can grind seeds in the food processor and get the same effect.

Add arrowroot powder if needed for extra thickening but be sure to mix it with water first to avoid clumping.