Travellers snack on it on long trips, school kids eat it on breaks between classes, and those who work out, walk, and hike chew on it for energy. Back in the day, only health food enthusiasts bought trail mix. Today, people eat trail mix, because it’s heart healthy and tastes funny. What are the benefits of trail mix? Can you make it yourself?

Benefits Of Trail Mix

Trail mix usually contains a mixture of nuts, granola, dried fruits, seeds, and sometimes grains in the form of cereals. The mix provides heart healthy fats, proteins for the building of muscle and maintenance of the immune system among other things, as well as antioxidants from the fruits.

One of the benefits of trail mix is that it can be anything you want it to be. For example, those who can’t chew the nuts might substitute different dried fruits. Not into seeds? No problem, just add shredded coconut. You can add or subtract any ingredients you wish. You’ll still be eating a healthy mix.

Other benefits of trail mix include being mostly plant based, a great source of fiber and antioxidants, it keeps users feeling full, and gives users a great burst of energy.

Store Bought v Homemade Trail Mix

When people began buying trail mix because it tasted good, manufacturers bgan to add things to it to make it more attractive. Thus, pretzels and candy like M&Ms and chocolate chips found their ways into otherwise healthy snacks. Once users recognized this, they started making their own trail mix at home.

It’s because they recognized that empty calories from salty additions like pretzels or cracker bits don’t do a thing for the energy hikers need on trails. The sugar from candy bits and chocolate chips makes the blood glucose spike, but they don’t help hikers make it up hilly trails. The additional spices such as cinnamon, barbeque, or chipotle won’t get hikers over that last stretch of trail.

Healthy trail mixes use a blend of fruits, nuts and seeds, as well as granola or coconut instead of candy bits. Numerous walkers and hikers begin with dried cherries, dried blueberries, and raisins, throw in half a package of mixed nuts, some pumpkin seeds, and finish it off with a handful of granola or coconut to satisfy a sweet tooth.

Now the fiber in the ingredients will aid in muscle strength. The healthy oils from the nuts will strengthen the heart. The antioxidants in the fruits will fend off free radicals that damage the cells. The proteins will build muscle. The sweet tooth? It’s good for a spurt of energy when you need it most. It’s a natural sweetness instead of processed white sugar which is better for you.

If you don’t have time to make your own, these are the best store bought trail mixes in terms of sodium and sugar:

-Healthy Being offers a lot of different healthy snacks (including trail mix) that is full of good nutrients. If you are looking for healthy snacks to buy, this is a good place to start.

-Planter’s Nut-rition Omega-3 Mix. Cinnamon apples, raisins, cashews, walnuts, and that’s all. Simple goodness with no added sugars or sodium.

-Enjoy Life Seed & Fruit Mix Mountain Mambo. Those allergic to nuts will find this trail mix of interest. It includes raisins, dried apples, cranberries, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and chocolate chips (it’s not that much added sugar.)

-Trader Joe’s Rainbow’s End Trail Mix. The base of the mix is nuts and raisins. The addition of chocolate pieces made from turmeric and spirulina give it a sweet touch. It has no more added sugar than any other trail mix, but you don’t want to overdo it.

Homemade Trail Mix Recipes You Have To Try

For hikers and walkers who have nut allergies

½ cup raw pumpkin seeds

½ cup sunflower seeds

1/3 cup dried blueberries

1/3 cup dried cherries

1/3 cup dried cranberries

Combine the ingredients and store in an airtight container or zipper baggie.

Users Who Prefer More Fruits Than Nuts

¼ cup dried apples

¼ cup dried banana chips

¼ cup dried apricots

¼ cup raisins

¼ cup unsalted pumpkin seeds

¼ cup unsalted sunflower seeds

Combine the ingredients and store in an airtight container or zipper baggie.

Users Who Want More Granola Than Trail Mix

Homemade granola is healthier than store bought, and it only takes seven ingredients and 20 minutes.

½ cup extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil

½ cup honey or maple syrup

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon salt

3 cups rolled oats

1 cup sliced or slivered almonds

1 cup raisins or other dried fruit

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine the oil, honey or syrup, cinnamon, and salt.

Add the oats and almonds and stir well.

Place mixture onto the baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Press down.

Bake for 20 minutes. Stir after 10 minutes. Add fruit when you take it out of the oven. Cool thoroughly before storing in an airtight container or zipper baggie.

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