One of my favorite snacks back in the day were those raisins coated in yogurt that you scoop out of the communal bins in the supermarket. This was partly because at that time I considered bin food to be, essentially, free, and partly because I thought yogurt covered goodies were healthy.
It wasn’t long into my master’s program in nutrition that I learned to read a food label and figured out that there really wasn’t any yogurt in my yogurt-covered raisins. But there was plenty of other stuff I really didn’t care to eat, such as partially hydrogenated fat and corn syrup. I stopped snacking on them, and I stopped stealing from the bins; I was in graduate school, after all.
It’s ingredients like yogurt covered raisins, along with artificially colored candies and sugar-sweetened dried fruit, and nuts that taste like they are two years old, that got me making my own trail mix instead of buying the pre-mixed kind at the supermarket. Plus, my way is cheaper, and I have a say in what goes into it. I hate picking around all those sunflower seeds.
In our house, we get out a big bowl and mix together our favorite nuts, seeds, dried fruits, pretzels, and breakfast cereal. Sometimes we include a little dose of chocolate. Our current mix here includes chopped dried apricots, dried cranberries, golden raisins, granola, salted peanuts, toasted pumpkin seeds, Puffin cereal, whole grain pretzels and dark chocolate chips.
I’d say we add each element in equal measure, plus double amounts of pretzels and cereal, and store it in an air-tight jar. The pretzels and cereal add crunch and interest, and cut down on the caloric density of the mix. It’s a no-brainer grab and go snack.
What’s your favorite trail mix combo?