Welcome to the third installment of Food Insight’s Build Your Own Series! We are excited to share simple but tasty ways to spice up the healthiness of your favorite foods. Next up is Trail Mix — the portable option that’s perfect for any adventure. If you’re new to trail mix or just want to find more ways to enjoy it, keep reading.
First things first: choose your favorite nut. Eating nuts as part of a balanced diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may help maintain heart health. Choose from salted or unsalted varieties and use one or more of your favorite nuts, such as peanuts, walnuts or almonds!
Next up are seeds. Seeds contain fiber and heart healthy unsaturated fats, like polyunsaturated, which include omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and mononunsaturated fats. There are lots of seeds to choose from, including flaxseed, sunflower, pumpkin and more! Try raw or toasted seeds for added crunch and flavor.
Let’s turn to grains. Grains contain B vitamins, which play an important role in your body’s metabolism and nervous system. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend making half your grains whole, so for trail mix, great grain options are popcorn and whole grain cereals. If you prefer pretzels, look for whole grain varieties.
Now it’s time to add some dried fruit — the sweetest part of your trail mix! Fruit is an important source of under-consumed nutrients like fiber, potassium and vitamin C. Did you know dried fruits come in sweetened and unsweetened varieties? Be an informed shopper and read labels to compare nutrition between dried fruits before purchasing.
It’s time to finish your trail mix with a few extras because you don’t just want to have ordinary trail mix — you want it to be extraordinary! Add a touch of your favorite spice or a sweet or salty treat to tie it all together. Try cinnamon, jerky or dark chocolate.
Based on all the options available, trail mix can have numerous tastes and textures. Try any and all of the combinations listed, and you’ll be set with new recipes for days to come. Pro tip: portion out a couple servings ahead of time for a great on-the-go option!