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Healthy, Tasty Trail Mix

Written by Lauren Rae, Wellness Coach and CPT at TRYM Fitness

trail_mix_dried_fruit_nuts_picMany of us are looking for fast and easy snacks to supplement our daily nutrition. But choosing what to buy can be so hard with all of the choices on the market today. Large company marketing makes it even more frustrating when impulse says to buy the items labeled “high protein” and “high fiber” when they are generally full of chemicals and junk foods.

To make sure you’re getting all the healthy goodness you need, I’ve put together a completely junk and guilt free snack mix that doesn’t disappoint even the pickiest palate. You’ll find most of what you need in the bulk section of your health food store. Buying items in the bulk section allows you to control the amounts of each ingredient in addition to saving you some serious cash! So when grocery store shelves are stocked with junk and trail mixes have more sugary treats than nutrients, mix together my healthy trail mix for a junk-free snack on the go. Whatever ingredients you choose, just toss them together and keep in an airtight container.

Here’s what to look for in the bulk section at your local health store:

Raw Nuts: cashews, almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts, macadamias.

trail_mix_homemade_picPacked with protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and of course healthy fats, raw nuts are the snack of health-food dreamers. Nuts offer a whole list of health benefits including lowering the risk of serious chronic disease. Portion control is important to consider when eating nuts because the proper serving amount (being around ¼ to ½ cup) isn’t that much. Not only are they very calorie dense, they are packed with omega-3 and omega-6.

Dried Fruit, No Sugar Added: coconuts, apples, apricots, figs, cherries, mangoes, papayas.

Dried fruit is a great addition to snack mix because it offers a different texture and flavor profile to keep things interesting. In addition, fruit is a very healthy alternative to refined sugar snacks, but still satisfies that sweet tooth. Be sure when you are buying dried fruit you check and double check the ingredients as many options—like bananas, pineapple and cranberries—almost always contain added sugar. Eaten in moderation, dried fruit can be one of the best tasting ways to get the nutrients and vitamins you need in a busy day without losing flavor.

Dried Seeds & Beans: dried edamame, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds (pepitas), pine nuts.

Dried beans and seeds add an additional crunch-value to your mix. In addition, packed with nutrients like calcium, fiber, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, and more, the nutrients in seeds have been linked to the prevention of many diseases. Seeds are also less calorie dense than nuts so snack away without guilt. Always double check that your seeds are raw and unsalted—then get to crunching!

(Optional) Something Sweet: try adding carob chips to your trail mix instead of candy!

bulk_nuts_picIf you’re used to trail mixes that are packed with M&Ms and other chocolaty treats, opt for Carob Chips which will give you the same sweetness without the added cane sugar and food coloring. This alternative to chocolate contains no caffeine or theobromine, chemical stimulants affecting the nervous system and pulmonary systems. They are generally also vegan friendly and contain no dairy or eggs. Happy hunting! Carob is usually in the baking isle!

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