5 criteria for a good-for-you trail mix and a yummy D.I.Y recipe for you guys By GoodnessMe Box Nutritionist and Health Editor Melissa Fine.
1) Nuts and Seeds
A trail mix essential, nuts and seeds provide texture and crunch and are also super satisfying thanks to their fibre, healthy fat and protein content.
Whether you’re buying a premade trail mix or making one yourself, make sure the nuts are raw, dry-roasted or activated; Roasted varieties from the supermarket are cooked in vegetable oil, which we’re not fans of at GoodnessMe Box for several reasons, including that:
1) It oxidises or goes rancid easily, and
2) It’s high in omega-6, which can be inflammatory when consumed in excess omega-3, which is typically the case in the Western diet because so many processed foods contain vegetable oil.
Coconut is actually a fruit, and the perfect one to be adding to your trail mix because unlike most stick-to-your-teeth dried fruit, it’s low in sugar. It imparts a slightly sweet taste though and a nice nutty flavour and chew; We’re loving adding the Coconut Chips from Absolute Organic to our trail mix at GoodnessMe Box HQ.
3) Natural and Organic Ingredients
Read the ingredients on a commercial trail mix and you’ll probably come across numbered preservatives like preservative 220. Note that preservatives 220-228 are all sulphite compounds; Commonly used to preserve non-organic dried coconut, apricots, apples, peaches and pears, asthmatics in particular can be intolerant to sulphites.
We also just prefer our dried fruit in its most natural form, and the best way to ensure this is to choose organic varieties that we know are preservative and pesticide free. Absolute Organic has a great variety of dried fruit which you can assure has nothing else added – We like to break up a couple of their Banana Chips and throw them in our trail mix for a touch of sweetness, some crunch and a potassium hit.
4) A Bit of Chocolate
I knew that would get your attention! You probably know by now that when I say ‘chocolate’, I mean the unadulterated stuff, like unsweetened cacao nibs or minimally processed dark chocolate with a cacao content of 85-90%.
Chocolate like this in your trail mix can satisfy a sweet tooth the healthy way, as because it’s bittersweet, just a sprinkle of the stuff hits the spot – unlike the sugar-laden, highly addictive milk chocolate variety. It’s also a healthier, low sugar alternative to a trail mix loaded with dried fruit. The caffeine content can come in handy too, putting some pep in your step mid morning or afternoon.
5) A Portion-Controlled Serving
Trail mixes – even the healthy ones – are a bit like chips, super moreish and easy to eat more than one serve of - especially if you’re eyes are glued to the computer or TV.
It’s worth decanting a handful or two into mini containers or zip-lock bags so you can take one serve with you for the day; Keep it in your desk draw or handbag so you can make a healthy choice when you start to feel a bit peckish.
Nutty Choc-Banana Trail Mix
We like to make our own trail mix so that we can control what’s going into it. No nasties in this delicious combo.
- ½ Cup Absolute Organic Coconut Chips
- ½ Cup raw almonds
- ¼ Cup Absolute Organic Banana Chips
- 2 Tablespoons cacao nibs
Mix everything together in a bowl and store in a sealed container in the fridge.
Absolute Organic Coconut Chips and Banana Chips are certified organic and GMO free. Try them in your homemade trail mix, muesli, desserts and baking. Visit their website here www.ecofarms.com.au