Over the years, trail mix has developed into a snack enjoyed by hikers and non-hikers alike. Not surprisingly, the ingredients you put into your trail mix determines its impact on your health and diet. If you plan on taking a hike through the great outdoors in the near future, or are just looking to make a nice midday snack, here are some tips that should boost the nutritional value of your homemade trail mix.
Lay Off the Candy – Sure, we all have a sweet tooth, but putting candy in your trail mix only serves to fill it up with empty calories. In lieu of candy, try putting some mini mochi rice cakes in your mix. Dried cranberries might also fit the bill.
More Almonds, Less Peanuts – Peanuts are certainly tasty, but almonds have them beat when it comes to protein, calories and overall nutrients. This doesn’t mean you should cut out peanuts from your mix – just try and find room for both kinds of nuts.
Give Dark Chocolate a Chance – If you just have to have chocolate, opt for dark chocolate chips, which contain less sugar and are a good source of antioxidants.
Find Out How Your Trail Mix Was Made – Unfortunately, a number of trail mix producers salt their nuts and roast them in oil, thereby adding sodium and saturated fat to their product. Take a close look the trail mix’s nutrition labels to find mixes that are made with raw and unsalted nuts.
Balance Your Mix – It’s a good idea to mix the sweet dried fruit in your trail mix with crunchy nuts. Not only does this improve the texture and taste of your mix, but it also helps ensure that your snack provides a balanced helping of various nutrients.
Get Creative – If you really want to boost the nutritional value of your trail mix, try adding some exotic fruits into the equation, such as red goji berries, mulberries and goldenberries. Goji berries provide similar benefits to carrots, in that they can improve your eyesight. Mulberries have a sweet taste and are high in vitamins A and C. Goldenberries are also a good source of vitamins A and C, and contain a hearty amount of protein.
Pack Some Pistachios – Feeling stressed out? You may want to consider eating some pistachios, as research has found that this nut can lower stress levels. They are also chocked full of potassium and fiber. In fact, a one ounce serving of pistachios contains as much fiber as a half-cup of cooked broccoli and as much potassium as an orange.