Any raw nut (about 1 part)
Raw nuts, as opposed to roasted nuts, provide optimal unrefined nutrition that is otherwise lost in the heating process of “cooking” the nuts.
- Almonds: Lower LDL (bad cholesterol), improve blood fats.
- Cashews: Possess a lower fat content than most other nuts.
- Hazelnuts: A good source of B1, B2 and B6, this nut helps with blood formation and mental health.
- Walnuts: High in heart-healthy Omega 3 fatty acids.
- Sunflower seeds: Technically not a nut, but altogether nutritious.
Something starchy (about 1 part)
A little crunch can go a long way. Get creative with a carb-packed ingredient.
- Old-fashioned rolled oats: Loaded with unrefined fiber.
- Pretzels: An easy option.
- Sesame sticks: For those looking for a unique and savory taste.
- Cheerios®/Chex®: Choose any version of a healthier cereal for a little variety.
- Popcorn: Air pop and toss it in. This addition is high in fiber and low in calories.
Something for seasoning
Just a little dash of flavor at the very end. Add just enough to complement the other ingredients you’ve already added.
- Sea Salt: Generally much healthier than table salt and a staple to any mix.
- Cayenne Pepper: Packed with capsicum and shown to improve circulation.
- Cardamom: Combat a sour stomach with this super spice.
- Curry: Give aching joints a break by adding this spice to your diet daily.
- Cumin: Boost your immune system with the southwestern aroma of this spice.
Any dried fruit (about 1 part)
Even though these shriveled fruits contain a high concentration of sugar, in small amounts they’re a healthy snack with body benefits.
- Raisins: Have been shown to improve eye sight and oral hygiene.
- Pineapple: Strengthen your bones with this manganese-packed fruit.
- Apricot: A great source of iron, this fruit is a super energy booster.
- Banana: Have been shown to improve blood pressure and reduce water retention.
- Dates: Cleanses the blood with its incredible tonic effects.
Something sweet (about 1/2 part)
If you’ve got to have something a little decadent added to your trail mix, add in a half part of one of these sweet sensations.
- Dark Chocolate Chips: A staple to most mixes. Less is best!
- Carob Chips: Contains no cocoa and are a great alternative to chocolate.
- Yogurt-covered pretzels: Give trail mix a built in sweet/savory flare.
- Shaved Coconut: Countless benefits, including intestinal health due to high amounts of friendly bacteria.
It’s easy to go overboard when enjoying your trail mix. If portion control becomes a problem and one generous handful is just not enough, store in an air tight container with a tablespoon scoop and place out of sight. Save for picnics, hikes, post-workout snacks, post-lunch pick-me-ups, or as a nutritious snack for the kids. Or simply keep it on hand to sprinkle on top of a salad or grab a handful on-the go.
Traci is a nationally recognized health and fitness expert who has been featured on The TODAY Show and Dr. Oz. Traci is available for corporate speaking events and wellness coaching, as well as private training. Contact Traci here.