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Eat Well Feb. 28. 2014
Beverages

Bubble Water | Chia Fresca

Feb. 28. 2014
Beverages
McKel Hill

McKel Hill

MS, RDN, LDN, Dietitian

Bubble Water (a.k.a. Chia Fresca) is something I created several summers ago when I was craving a classic drink I used to love, bubble tea. I wanted something similar but also far less in calories, carbohydrates, and refined sugar. Bubble Water is a combination of naturally flavored water + chia seeds. Simple as that! It’s incredibly hydrating, filling, loaded with healthy fats, protein, and fiber all into one easy-to-drink glass. It’s also a delicious way to stay hydrated by using whatever “base” you enjoy!

Let’s rewind a bit, I’ve always loved the Taiwanese drink bubble tea, a tea made with milk or sugar sweetened flavors and large tapioca pearls in it, it’s an incredibly unique and fun drink. I loved the combination of a liquid and a solid/gel in one drink, almost like drinking and eating gummy bears at the same time! Unfortunately it’s also loaded with carbohydrates and sugar; herein lies my inspiration for creating a similar idea behind bubble tea, only healthy and more nutrient dense with the addition of chia seeds instead of tapioca pearls and pure water or other variations, and no added sugars.

Bubble Water/Chia Fresca is a perfect drink to have on hand with the warmer months approaching, but also to keep our cells and bodies hydrated in the winter months as well. Don’t forget, our bodies require water to do so much more than keep our thirst at bay, check back at my Spotlight On Water post for more of my tips. Chia Fresca is the perfect drink to take with you on days hiking, picnicking in the park, or just working around the house. I love mixing up the juices and flavors by season and by my mood and I encourage you all to do the same!

I also love making several variations of these and storing them in my fridge for a quick drink on the go or whenever I’m feeling slightly hungry, but not enough that I need to eat a snack- it’s a very filling drink due to the fiber in the chia seeds. I’m using water as the base here instead of milk + tea or tea + sugar as most traditional bubble teas contain. Here are a couple of variations to my “recipe”:

Bubble Water/Chia Fresca “base” options |

Here’s how to make it! 4 cups liquid + 1/4 cup chia seeds = Bubble Water/Chia Fresca

 

You see how simple and how many varieties you can make, here is one of my favorite recipes and my personal go-to when I’m making my Bubble Water:

Bubble Water/ Chia Fresca
Recipe Type: beverage
Author: McKel Hill, MS, RD, LDN
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: 2-4
A delicious and hydrating beverage made of omega-3 rich chia seeds and water.
Ingredients
  • 4 cups of filtered water
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds, whole
  • juice of 1 meyer lemon
  • 2 tablespoons fresh grapefruit juice
  • 1/4-1/2 inch fresh ginger root
  • a small pinch of raw stevia (to taste, optional)
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients into a glass or shaker bottle.
  2. Allow chia seeds to soak for at least 20 minutes or longer.
  3. Give it a good shake or stir.
  4. Enjoy cold or room temperature!
Notes
You can also make several batches at once, keep well in the fridge.

I can’t be the only one out there who LOVES bubble tea, who else does? What were your favorite flavors? Hope you all enjoy this recipe and be sure to share using my hashtag #nutritionstripped so I can see your recreations!

xx McKel

 

The Recipe

Serves 2-4

Print

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups of filtered water
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds, whole
  • juice of 1 meyer lemon
  • 2 tablespoons fresh grapefruit juice
  • 1/4-1/2 inch fresh ginger root
  • a small pinch of raw stevia (to taste, optional)

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients into a glass or shaker bottle.
  2. Allow chia seeds to soak for at least 20 minutes or longer.
  3. Give it a good shake or stir.
  4. Enjoy cold or room temperature!

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Did you try it out?

Share Your Thoughts & Images

  • Misty

    Bubble water! I love the name of it! I lOVE chia drinks. I can’t help but swish it around in my mouth like a kid!

  • This is such a fun idea! I haven’t had a bubble tea in forever, but I used to love getting them when we would take trips to Chinatown in the city. I can definitely see how the chia seeds would mimic the tapioca balls.

  • Natasha

    Oh man… I’ve loved bubble tea hardcore since I was in high school. Honeydew, Watermelon, and Taro were my favourites.

    Much like Dana in the comment above, my friends and I used to trek down to Chinatown in the downtown area of my city during spares in High School or on weekends. Actually, come to think of it, we used to get it after dim sum on weekends too.

    Thanks for this recipe, I’m excited to give it a try. Maybe I can make a watermelon or honeydew type flavoured one!

    • Yes they were SO good! I hope you love it- you can easily blend watermelon to make it flavored as you used to like it 😉

  • marlies

    This looks awesome! Do you just add the ginger root in whole, or grate it first? Thanks! 🙂

  • Amy

    Can’t wait to try it especially once it gets warmer. 🙂 I’m pretty much a boba addict. :'(

    Cassey Ho of blogilates did a healthier version of bubble milk tea but couldn’t get rid of the tapioca and some people in the comments recommended using nata de coco as a substitute if you want to attempt something even closer.

    • Excellent, glad you’re going to try it out! Yes, there definitely are similar things to use like tapioca, but chia seeds are far more nutrient dense than anything else I’ve come across 😉

  • Jenn

    This sounds very yummy but I am wondering about the texture? I have to say I have never had bubble tea and only heard of it once I moved to the city when I was going to college.

  • Anne-Marie Kilgour

    Thank you thus sounds great. If I’m using herbal tea as my base, would I make it, let it cool, then add the chia seeds & leave to soak? Anne-Marie

  • Candace

    I love this! I made it with Jasmine Green tea and a little soy milk. Delicious!

  • Maddy

    I gave up drinking bubble tea for obvious reasons – so much sugar! And stumbling across this blog has been the best thing, healthy bubble tea! genius! xx

  • Daniel

    I bought a bag of chia seeds a few months ago, but never knew what to with them! Now that I am considering meal-prepping, I decided to try this drink. I normally love lemon water, the chia seeds bring a texture that makes drinking it fun! Plus it has all the nutrition. Thanks!

    • McKel Hill

      So glad you’re going to give this a go Daniel! Enjoy 😉

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