Trail mix isn’t just for the trails. This snack food is as essential for a hike as a hiking stick, but don’t let the name let you think that you have to hit the forest to really enjoy it. If you fail to hit the trail, no worries, because trail mix can be for any venture you embark, from urban landscapes to country roads. In fact, trail mix is the perfect to-go go-to snack, as it’s convenient, energizing, non-perishable, nutritious, and delicious!
One of the biggest problems that most people have about healthy eating is the lack of time to prepare something, thus leading to a trip to the drive-thru or corner store. Sometimes I find myself running late in the morning and skipping the most important meal of the day: breakfast. If I’m lucky, I’ll have a secret stash of trail mix in my glove compartment in my car. I can munch on those for breakfast and snack, and feel completely satisfied. Sure, you can buy a packaged trail mix at any gas station or convenience store, but truthfully, while the mix might be the best choice of snack from there, often it will contain candy or high fructose corn syrup. Why buy something premixed when you can mix it yourself? That way, you won’t be stuck with an ingredient that doesn’t quite strike your fancy. Plus, you’ll be empowered by taking your health under your control.
There are no excuses for making a trail mix (unless you’re allergic to nuts, and not all trail mixes require nuts). All it takes is a little bit of investment money to start off with, and from there, you’ll be able to make and take your trail mix anywhere you go. Yes, nuts and dried fruits are more expensive compared to other foods (ahem, junk food!), but as mentioned earlier, this is an investment for your health, which could even end up saving you in money in the long run. First off, you’ll be providing your body with healthier foods which could prevent health problems in the future. Second, if you pack your snack, you won’t need to pop open a bag of chips or stop at the burger joint for a patty just because you’re hungry. Those few dollars here and there can really add up after awhile, and so can those pounds!
A good trail mix usually consists of any combination of any of the following:
- Nuts and/or legumes: Peanuts, almonds, cashews, walnuts, pistachios, macadamia, and more….oh my! Nuts will add the crunch to your mix and give you that full feeling. It’s healthier to buy nuts that are unsalted or at the least, lightly salted. You’ll really be able to taste and enjoy the flavor of the nuts instead of just a salty taste. Nuts contain loads of protein, which you’ll need for luscious locks, strong nails, and even stronger muscles.
- Seeds: Try sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds for even more protein and crunch.
- Grains: Granola, pretzels, and/or your favorite cereal will be a nice addition to your mix. Make sure that you’re adding whole grains to provide your body with more fiber to clean your digestive system.
- Dried fruits: raisins, cranberries, banana chips, shredded coconut, pineapple, apples, and apricots are a few examples of sweetness that you can mix in. Dried fruits can provide a good boost of energy as they’re a great source for carbohydrates, something much needed for a trek through the woods or a busy day at work. It’s best to get dried fruits that have no added sugar, as dried fruits often contain more sugar than fresh fruits because the sugars are more concentrated. Also, try to buy dried fruits that are unsulphured. Some companies add sulphites to their fruits in order to retain the color and preserve the fruit, and some studies have shown that sulphites could be an allergen to some consumers. Some unsulphured fruits are not as pretty as those treated with sulphur oxide, but with all of the other colors mixed in from the other ingredients, it’ll be a pretty mix regardless.
Sometimes, a girl just needs chocolate, so feel free to add some dark chocolate chips to trail mix to get your fix. I wouldn’t recommend doing this to a batch of mix that you’ll be leaving in your car or purse on a hot day, unless you like sticky chocolate-covered peanuts!
Trail mix can be quite addictive, and even overeating healthy foods can be harmful to your waistline. My general gauge of a serving is whatever fits in a cupped palm. Remember, trail mix is filling, so you may not even have much of an appetite after. Since trail mix is non-perishable, you can leave a stash in your car or your purse. Just make a huge batch of the mix and divide it up into smaller servings in resealable plastic bags. For a more eco-friendly way, use a reusable small container and designate it as your snack jar. Leave some in a basket by your front door so you can grab and go. You’ll be as thankful as I am for your secret stash when you’re running late in the morning.
- Whole Living Action Plan 2012 – Days 13 & 14
- M.I.S.S. Healthy Bites: Give the Way You Live
- M.I.S.S. Healthy Bites: Have a Better Breakfast
- M.I.S.S. Healthy Bites: Don’t Get Tricked into Treats
- M.I.S.S. Healthy Bites: Freshmen 15? Forget About It!