It happens every year; your kids go trick or treating; your office mates’ kids go trick or treating and candy dishes abound everywhere! Your candy of choice calls out your name. For some its peanut butter cups, for others its Smarties or tootsie rolls. Whatever candy it is, it’s going to sabotage your nutrition goals! Fear not because I have a sweet, healthy and delicious solution for you! Make your own trail mix!
Common Components you can use in your Trail Mix:
These nutritional dynamos are loaded with healthy unsaturated fats, protein, fiber, antioxidants, vitamin E, and other essential vitamins and minerals. These should be the base of your trail mix.
Whether they’re raw or roasted, go for unsalted, unsweetened nuts to keep sugar and sodium under control.
Some of my favorites are: almonds, pistachios, cashews, peanuts, and walnuts.
For those with nut allergies (or just looking to mix things up), seeds provide many of the same nutritional benefits as nuts. Hemp seeds, and Chia seeds for example, are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, gamma linolenic acid, protein, zinc, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and calcium.
Sprinkle a handful of pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, flax, or hemp seeds in trail mix for an extra boost of nutrients.
Add some complex carbohydrates to your custom blend for extra fiber, which boosts overall energy and helps to keep you full .
Choose whole grains whenever possible and avoid highly processed cereals that add unnecessary sugar and sodium.
Shredded wheat cereal, pretzels, whole-grain cereals like cheerios or chex, bran flakes, whole-wheat crackers, granola, toasted oats, puffed rice cereal, and air-popped popcorn can all add a little bit of crunch.
Lastly, t’s totally acceptable to have a little something sweet in your trail mix. This will help deter you from the candy bowl.
Dried fruit can be a great source of fiber, antioxidants, calcium, and vitamins A, C, and K.
Look for dried fruit options with as little added sugar and preservatives as possible.
Dried apples, cherries, cranberries, goji berries, blueberries, strawberries, apricots, raisins, banana chips, figs, pineapple chunks, mango, and dates.
Dark chocolate chips are a good source of antioxidants.
And once in a while, don’t fret adding a little bit of M&Ms.
Some of My Favorite Combos:
Peanut Butter Lovers:
Try some of these combos and make some unique signature recipes. You have so many options! It’s a great way to defeat the candy bowl and also the holiday sweets that are around the corner. I suggest making little baggies of them to bring to work, carry in your purse, etc. It is possible to overindulge so be careful not to do that. Depending on the ingredients< I recommend ½ cup to ¾ cup serving.