SO, IS TRAIL MIX GOOD FOR YOU OR NOT?
Uhm yeah! And we absolutely love it! Here's why and answers to all you wanted to know about trail mix.
A FEW FACTS ABOUT TRAIL MIX
Who invented trail mix?------
It is difficult to pinpoint who exactly invented the trail mix. Still, the original trail mix can be traced back to 1833 in Denmark as a mix known as 'studenterhavre,' meaning student oats. It consisted mainly of raisins and almonds, and often at Christmas, chocolate pieces were added. In the 1910's it gained more popularity when outdoorsman Horace Kephart recommended it in his popular camping guide. "A handful each of shelled nuts and raisins, with a cake of sweet chocolate, will carry a man far on the trail, or when he has lost it," he said.
Why is it called trail mix?------
Before the name evolved to trail mix, it was known as GORP (good old raisins and peanuts). It was developed as a food to be taken along on hikes or trails because it's easy to carry, nutritious, helpful for energy, lightweight, and easy to store.
What is trail mix made of?------
Trail mix is made of various ingredients, but most varieties include granola, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit. You may find varieties that also contain candy, chocolate chips, popcorn, or cereal. Spices and seasonings are often added, like sea salt, garlic powder, thyme, cinnamon, and paprika.
What is the difference between trail mix and granola?------
Granola is a cereal made from toasted oats and nuts and is typically enjoyed as breakfast with milk or yogurt. Trail mix is enjoyed more as a convenient snack eaten straight from the bag or your hand like you would on a trail or hike!
Is trail mix good for you?
Like most foods, it depends on the ingredients. Trail mix can be very beneficial and good for you when enjoyed in moderation and if it contains healthier ingredients.
A trail mix containing unsalted nuts, dried fruit with no added sugar, seeds, and no added extras like chocolate can be an excellent snack option. It will provide essential protein, good fats, fiber, and energy - all needed for optimal functioning.
If we had to compare trail mix with a bag of chips or energy bar, trail mix would definitely be the healthier option!
Beware, not all types of trail mix are considered healthy and can be quite the opposite. Some varieties contain unhealthy ingredients like chocolate, candy, or cereal that increase the calorie, sugar, and sodium content of each serving.
An excess in these can cause weight gain and contribute to heart diseases, cholesterol, and high blood pressure.
What are the benefits of trail mix?
High in protein
Nuts and seeds in trail mix are excellent plant-based protein sources. Protein is essential for tissue repair, immune health, and strong muscle development.
Source of heart-healthy fats
Nuts and seeds are rich in good-for-you fats, such as poly-, monounsaturated, and omega-3 fatty acids. These healthy fats decrease harmful LDL cholesterol levels and help reduce inflammation, which is the cause of many chronic health conditions.
Contains fiber for the gut and to fill you up
The fiber found in the seeds and granola of your trail mix helps to keep your gut healthy and regular. It also helps to control your appetite and keep you feeling fuller for longer.
A boost of energy
Dried fruits and granola are great for an instant (and prolonged) energy boost, hence why trail mix is so popular on hiking trips or other physical activities!
Source of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals
Did you know that dried fruit still counts as one of your 5-a-day portions as it keeps most of the nutritional value found in fresh fruits? The nuts and seeds in trail mix are also packed with nutrients and antioxidants.
How to make a healthy trail mix
Making a healthy trail mix is not hard. You only need 3 basic ingredients for the base of the mix - nuts, seeds, and dried fruit.
These will ensure you get all you need from the mix, including protein, energy, fiber, and healthy fats. You could add granola to bulk up your mix and add more carbohydrates.
Use any kind of nuts that you enjoy most! Walnuts, pistachios, almonds, and pecan nuts are some great options. Use raw, unsalted nuts that haven't been coated and roasted in hydrogenated or soybean oils.
Seeds pack a serious nutritional punch. They provide protein, fiber, healthy fats, iron, magnesium, and an array of vitamins and minerals. Larger seeds, such as pumpkin or sunflower seeds, will work great.
Dried fruit will boost your low blood sugar during or after physical activity. It will also amp up your vitamin intake and add that desired sweetness. Use dried fruit that isn't coated in sugar and is ideally unsulfured.
Granola will add extra crunch to your mix, bulk it up, and provide additional fiber and carbohydrates for energy. We absolutely love our range of granolas, and we are 100% sure you will too!
Feel free to add a handful of your favorite treats, such as pieces of dark chocolate, popcorn, pretzels, or coconut. Just remember that portion control we talked about ;-)
Is trail mix good for losing weight?
Trail mix can be good for losing weight, but only if portion control is applied. Nuts, dried fruit, seeds, and granola make trail mix a calorie-dense snack that should not replace a well-balanced whole meal.
But instead, enjoyed in small portions as a snack for a quick energy boost or to damper your hunger until your next big meal.
Still, the protein, good fats, fiber, and carbs found in trail mix can help you stay fuller for longer and provide essential energy, making you less inclined to snack on unhealthy foods.
Is trail mix gluten-free?
Trail mix is not necessarily gluten-free; it all depends on the ingredients used in the mix.
A trail mix consisting of only nuts, dried fruit, and seeds will be gluten-free. However, it will not be gluten-free when adding pretzels, granola, or all-bran cereal. Unless, of course, gluten-free products were used.
If you want your trail mix to be completely gluten-free, ensure it isn't produced in the same facility and equipment that make wheat products.
Does trail mix go bad?
Yes, trail mix can go bad, but only after a long while, and it is likely safe to eat considerably past its expiration date.
However, nuts may go rancid after about one month due to the oil content. Dried fruit can also lose its nutritional value and benefits over time.
The great news is that trail mix will stay fresh in a backpack for a long time since it's shelf-stable. No need to worry about keeping it cool.
Want to store trail mix for a longer period? Extend its shelf-life by storing it in airtight containers or a ziplock bag in the fridge.