Mixing It Up: Making Your Own Trail Mix

Whether the kids are going out to summer camp or you’re looking for a healthy snack in the office, trail mix can give you a powerful pick-me-up outside the hiking trails.

It’s convenient because it’s lightweight, easy to store, and full of nutrients. Trail mix is also a much healthier alternative to sugary snacks, which sap our energy after an initial rush.

While peanuts and almonds may make the bulk of your mix, here are a few ideas to add some flare — and some nutrients — to your homemade trail mix:

  • Banana Chips: they have a good amount of fiber, iron, and potassium to keep your metabolism and your body balanced.
  • Crystallized Ginger: while they can be sugary, this root plant is full of benefits, such as lowering cholesterol and treating an upset stomach. Just don’t go overboard with the sugar!
  • Dark Chocolate: if you must add something sweet to your mix, throwing in dark chocolate lowers high blood pressure and it will give you extra antioxidants.
  • Dried Apricots: dried fruit provides fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins. Apricots, in particular, offer a lot of vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium.
  • Pumpkin Seeds: seeds are full of minerals and protein — and they’re a great alternative if you or anyone in your family has nut allergies. Pumpkin seeds contain a healthy amount of magnesium, zinc, and plant-based omega-3 fats.
  • Shredded Coconut: from help burning fat to improving cholesterol and boosting brain function to increasing your energy, coconut does it all. Pour some shredded coconut in your mix so you can have all of the benefits on-the-go.

Creating your own mix can also be a fun way to engage children about healthy eating. We’ve taught a social studies lesson to our 5th-grade on the different methods settlers used to preserve food. Students then worked in small groups to create their own trail mix by choosing up to 10 ingredients and meeting certain nutritional standards.

Try it at home. After all, candy and pizza seem to find its way across family dining rooms and picnic tables during the summer. But preparing healthier alternatives for a quick boost will provide more energy in the long-run, whether it’s for work indoors or for play outdoors.

(Image by Flickr member bastique licensed under Creative Commons)

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