Trail mix is a great traveling snack, provided it’s filled with healthy nuts and berries rather than bad-for-you candy and sweets. This trail mix recipe is filled with healthy ingredients that make it easy to pack healthy snacks for your family vacation.
Healthy Trail Mix Recipe
There are a whole range of nuts, seeds and fruits that provide countless options for creating the ideal healthy trail mix for your family. If you’re new to the world of healthy snacks, look at this as an opportunity to introduce your child to unfamiliar fruits and nuts, and maybe try something different from the standard raisins, chocolate, and peanuts. If you let your kids help pick the ingredients, they might be more likely to try the resulting healthy trail mix.
Choose Healthier Fruits and Nuts
Instead of raisins, try adding berries like dried goji berries, mulberries or goldenberries to your trail mix recipe.
Bright red goji berries have become popular as a superfruit and with good reason. Like carrots, goji berries are high in beta carotene, which can help eyesight. They are sweet, but not as cloying as raisins can be. Dried mulberries have a fig-like taste, are crunchier, and high in vitamin C and iron.
If your family prefers a tart citrus flavor add some goldenberries. They are not as sweet as the others, but contain a punch of protein and vitamins A and C. Golenberries were originally cultivated by the Incan empire, and most Americans have never tasted this exotic berry. Navitas Naturals sells all three berry varieties individually, as well as already mixed together.
Nuts are a perfect crunchy complement to balance out sweet dried fruit with protein and healthy fats. The key here is to get nuts that are unsalted and raw as opposed to salted and roasted in oil, which adds unnecessary sodium and unhealthy fats. Between the popular peanuts and almonds, the latter are a better bet if you’re looking for fewer calories, more protein and minerals such as calcium and magnesium. For more adventurous eaters, try dry roasted unsalted edamame, or soybeans. They have an excellent crunch and a higher protein to fat ratio than most nuts.
Go Easy on the Candy Treats
Candy treats like gummies, M&Ms or chocolate are not necessary, but if your kids clamor for some candy in their trail mix, just make sure that the ratio of candy to fruits and nuts is small. Maybe try adding mini mochi rice cakes for a pillowy burst of sugar. These chewy treats are popular as a frozen yogurt topping, but the chewy texture offers a nice contrast to crunchy trail mix.
If you need a little chocolate, aim for bittersweet dark chocolate chips, which pack more intense flavor with less sugar. Or try carob chips, a nuttier and more bitter chocolate alternative that’s lower in calories. Carob chips are available in a sweetened variety too and can be found next to chocolate chips at the grocery store.
When you make your own trail mix, you can easily tailor combinations to match each family member’s preferences. Just try to make sure there is a healthy mix of protein, healthy fats, fiber and sugar to tide you over to the next meal.
Read on for more tips for eating healthy on the road.
Amber Gibson is a food journalist, model and journalism student at the Medill School of Journalism. She has written for NPR, Plate Magazine, Time Out