Trail mix was a great creation for indoor and outdoor enthusiasts because it is lightweight, portable, and reduces hunger. It has become a staple in lunch bags for the ‘health conscious’. It’s one of my favorite snacks, right behind potato chips. But like most foods, once the “industry” put its spin on it – the result: a once healthy snack is now filled with excess sugar, oils, and preservatives.
Originally, trail mix was the heart healthy choice due to the combination of dried fruits, nuts and granola. There is a difference though, in heart health and weight health. Where nuts are full of heart healthy fats, they can be extremely high in calories.
Red flags started to wave once the food industry got involved and decided to prepackage trail mixes. Yes they are extremely convenient but a quick glance of the ingredient list shows extra salty nuts, sugar-packed fruits like dried bananas (which are actually fried) and of course chocolate. What was once a nutrient rich snack is now a heavy, fatty dessert sabotaging your weight health.
Trail mix is an energy-packed snack and where it is far better than a candy bar, it is no longer a health snack (despite being marketed as such). If you choose it as your snack of choice while sitting at your desk for 8 hours a day, or for your Saturday errand run, prepackaged trail mix could be doing more harm than good.
For ‘safer’ results, make your own. Visit the nearest health store where nuts and berries are sold in bulk and start mixing and matching. Keep an eye out for almonds, walnuts, and peanuts in their low or no-salt versions. Raw is better than roasted and never choose candied. Complement them with naturally dried fruits such as raisins, apricots, or cranberries. You can also add seeds, such as pumpkin or sunflower and even wasabi.
As with all things, practice moderation!
PS. Watch out for The Dirty 30 coming September 22. My list of the top 30 foods that are sabotaging your health and wellness.