The idea of a “trail mix” conjures up various memories of candy mixed with roasted peanuts and raisins, and for some, a hike in the mountains - literally snacking on the trails!
Trail mix has become more of a staple in the day-to-day snacking options, and still comes with a wide variety of options. Combination possibilities for trail mix are endless and it could be a great healthy snack or a total sugar dump that’s masked by a few salty nuts. When making your trail mix, proceed with caution!
The great thing about trail mix is you can find it in almost any convenience or grocery store, making it a great go-to while traveling or out of your norm. But making your own is so simple that you may never have to rely on packaged options again! It’s not perishable, doesn’t get taken away by TSA at the airport, and can easily be stashed in snack bags or reusable containers.
Just keep these 3 simple tips in mind to maximize your mix, and you’ll have a healthy snack ready to go anywhere with you!
1. Start with nuts and/or seeds
The base of your mix should be made up of the healthy fats and proteins from nuts and seeds, to ensure this snack will actually fill you up and satisfy your hunger! For most nuts, one serving is 1/4 cup. For most seeds, one serving is 2 tablespoons.
2. Toss in dried/dehydrated fruits
Adding fruits will give it a little bit of sweetness along with a lot of micronutrients and antioxidants. Fruit also provides the mix with carbohydrates, so you can get all of the macronutrients (carbs, protein, fat!) Get creative with less traditional options such as coconut flakes, dried blueberries, strips of dried mango, or dehydrated banana chips.
3. Bump up the volume with whole grains
This step is optional, but most people have a hard time looking at 1/4 cup of trail mix and thinking it looks like an actual serving. Nuts, seeds, and dried fruits are dense and their calories do add up quickly! If you like to have more volume with your snacks, add in some dry whole-grain cereal (see my favorites below), or a serving of your favorite granola, for some extra crunch and fiber.
- Love Grown Foods’ Gluten-Free Power O’s or Mighty Flakes (any flavor)
- Puffins (GF options)
- Cascadian Farm Organic Cereals
You can make trail mix in bulk, or just toss together a mix to take on the go right away! It’s an easy, healthy, and well-balanced snack for anytime!
Heather Caplan is a registered dietitian and running coach based out of the San Jose, CA area. She’s usually training for a marathon, traveling, teaching or practicing yoga – or all of the above! You can find her life anecdotes or work with her over at HeatherCaplan.com.
Main Photo Credit: Robyn Mackenzie; Second Photo Credit: denio109/Shutterstock.com; Third Photo Credit: marekuilasz/Shutterstock.com