Create a trail mix to satisfy hunger and be nutritious
Chances are, when you think of trail mix, the first thing you think of is snack time in elementary school. At least I do. We were served something called Gorp, which was just a mix of cheerios, m&m’s, dried fruit, marshmallows and nuts. Fast forward a few decades and you can use this same concept to create snacks that are healthy and satisfy your between-meal cravings.
Trail mixes need four main ingredients. Choose one or more item from each category and you have yourself a delicious snack. Make these in bulk and you’ll save money on snacks you would have purchased from the vending machine! I usually make a huge portion and divide it into small snack bags so I can grab and go. Here are your choices.
Almonds are a good source of maganese and copper, minerals that help fight free radicals.
Brazil nuts were found to be more effective than supplements at providing selenium, an essential micromineral.
Macadamias deliver about twice as many healthy monounsaturated fatty acids as almonds.
Peanuts have been proven effective in preventing colon cancer, which is likely due to the concentration of beta-sisterol.
Pecans, according to a USDA study, display four times the antioxidant activity of almonds and nearly six times that of peanuts.
Pistachios are often overlooked for other nuts, but if you find them shelled, they make a flavorful and nutritious addition to trail mix.
Walnuts contain an impressive 2.5 grams of omega-3 fats per ounce. Research shows these fats can help ward of depression and heart disease.
Sunflower seeds contain about half your day’s vitamin E in each ounce. That helps slow the visible effects of aging.
Pumpkin seeds contain phytosterols that can lower cholesterol and bolster the immune system.
Hemp seeds are a good source of essential fatty acids.
Sesame and hemp seeds are nutritionally stacked, but they tend to slip through your fingers when you eat by the handful. As a general rule, limit them to mixes bound for spoon-worthy foods like yogurt and cereal.
Chia seeds deliver three times the fiber of sesame seeds and a payload of omega-3 fats. Find them at BobsRedMill.com.
Crunch…filler…whatever you want to call it
General Mills Fiber One. Other cereals work just as well. Experiment at will with Grape-Nuts, Cheerios, and Kix.
Soy nuts are mature, roasted soybeans, so they bolster your mix with fiber, folate, and 11 grams of protein per ounce.
Wasabi peas are perfect for a spicy kick. The best varieties are those made without artificial coloring or dubious additives like monosodium glutamate.
Pretzel are a reliable source of salty crunch. They’re nutritionally weak though, so sprinkle in sparingly.
Sesame sticks are like pretzels made with sesame seeds, which means they deliver an extra mineral package that includes copper and manganese
Raisins are a top source of boron, a trace mineral crucial for bone health.
Dried apricots are a great source of fiber and vitamin A, an antioxidant that also protects your vision.
Blueberries have been shown in promote healthy cognitive functions.
Cranberries help prevent breast, colon, lung, and prostate cancer.
Dried goji berries are a great addition for both their antioxidant potency and sweet-tart finish.
Dried cherries boost your polyphenols, a cancer-fighting antioxidant nutrient group.
Banana chips are tasty, but often they come packaged with a dose of trans fats. Avoid the problem by seeking those varieties that have been fried in canola or coconut oils instead of partially hydrogenated oil.
Dark chocolate chips are proven mood boosters, and the darker the chocolate, the better. We like Ghirardelli’s 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Chips.
Ingredients and descritptions taken from www.womenshealthmag.com
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