Trail mix for me is always associated with two things, holidays and travel. Every year when we travel south for a week of sunshine in March, we take along a large bag of homemade Five Minute Trail Mix to enjoy as an afternoon snack around the pool. Five Minute Trial Mix is an easy to prepare energy-boosting snack to keep at the office, in the car, or in your gym bag for a quick pick-me-up any time, and it’s an awesome poolside snack while on holidays, or any day for that matter.
If you buy a trail mix in a bulk store, you’ll be purchasing nuts roasted in inflammatory canola or sunflower oil, a significant amount of which are peanuts (not even nuts), and dried fruit with sugar and sulfur dioxide. Some dried fruits, like diced papaya also contains artificial color including tartrazine (1). Peanuts are a source of aflatoxins, which are associated with liver cancer (2).
Instead of inflammatory oils and dried fruit with sugar, sulfur dioxide and artificial coloring like tartrazine that can cause allergic reactions and may cause cancer, why not just take five minutes and make your own healthy trail mix?
What do you need to make trail mix?
Nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and if you ask for my opinion, you also need some chocolate.
Benefits of nuts
- High in fibre
- High in beneficial unsaturated fat
- Nut consumption is related to reduced risk of heart disease (3)
- Nuts have some of the highest antioxidant content of all plant foods (4)
- Nuts contain phytosterols that help lower blood cholesterol by interrupting intestinal cholesterol absorption
- Nuts contain magnesium, calcium, and potassium, and also have low sodium content. This combination has been shown to prevent coronary heart disease
- They contain folate, an important vitamin in preventing cognitive decline.
- Walnuts have the highest plant source of the omega-3 fatty acid (5)
Benefits of seeds
- Seeds are nutrient dense, so a small amount provides a significant health benefit
- They help to maintain blood sugar balance
- Seeds contain antioxidants for immune health
- Seeds contain immune boosters zinc and selenium as well as minerals magnesium, calcium, potassium, iron and manganese.
- Contain essential fatty acids which are integral to nervous system function
Benefits of gogi berries
- High in antioxidants to combat oxidative stress, free radical and inflammation and support immune health (6)
- Anti-aging and anti-viral properties (7)
- High in carotenoids for eye health and beneficial effects on macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy (8)
Benefits of chocolate
- Chocolate, particularly dark chocolate is a source of magnesium and the bliss chemical anandamide
- Chocolate contains antioxidants with anti-inflammatory and immune system benefits (9)
- Read more about the difference between cacao and cocoa here.
- Nuts and seeds should be stored in tightly sealed container in a cool dry place, and preferably in the fridge or freezer to maintain freshness.
- Nuts contains natural oils that will become rancid over time if left at room temperature.
- Nuts can be an allergen for some.
- Almonds are high in oxalates, so should be avoided if you have a kidney condition.
- Gogi berries are part of the nightshade family, so should be avoided if you have a nightshade sensitivity or intolerance.
Five Minute Trail Mix
- ¼ cup raw almonds unblanched
- ¼ cup raw cashews
- ¼ cup walnut pieces
- ¼ cup raw pecan pieces
- ¼ cup raw sunflower seeds
- ¼ cup raw pumpkin seeds
- ¼ cup gogi berries
- ¼ cup dairy-free mini chocolate chips (Enjoy Life is a good brand)
- Measure all ingredients into a large bowl. Toss to mix well. Store in glass jar.