When I was a kid, there was nothing quite like Boy Scouts. It sounds a bit cheesy, but I had a lot of fun learning about duty, leadership, and proper health. Plus, living in Idaho and Wyoming, I was lucky enough to go out on some incredible adventures. On literally every one of these trips, my scout leader touted the benefits of our staple hiking food: trail mix.
Many of us, if not all, have had a handful of the stuff before. There are dozens of varieties, but the idea is the same behind it all: a healthy mix of nuts, dried fruits, and maybe even some sweets for a tasty addition.
Heart Healthy, Organic Trail Mix
If you’re looking to get the full range of benefits from trail mix, you’ll want to be sure to go with an organic variety. Trail mix was originally created by ancient nomads for those long journeys, and only the freshest, healthiest ingredients were chosen (there’s no use hauling around something that won’t nourish the body!). For us, that means going with organic. Anything else may contain high levels of pesticides used from growing and preservatives for shipping. Organic, by all means, contains far less preservatives (if any, depending on the food) and absolutely no trace of synthetic pesticides.
Here are some ingredients you should look for in your trail mix. A nice blend of these is always nice, so don’t be afraid to mix and match!
- Nuts and Seeds! All varieties are going to pack a powerhouse of energy. Look for a mix that contains peanuts, almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, cashews, or all of the above. These will provide your body with a healthy source of fat, protein, and fiber. Each variety also contains a healthy set of phytonutrients and antioxidants.
- Granola! Granola is always a great filler for trail mix. Depending on how you make it (or buy it), it can be a great source of carbohydrates and fiber with little strings attached.
- Dried fruit! This is an excellent way to add some sugars into the mix without going overboard. Some of our favorites include coconut shavings, raisins, pineapple, apple chips, and banana chips. Each fruit helps add a bit of pizzazz to the mix, making it perfect for those picky kids who demand the sweetness.
- Superfoods! In addition to the regular dried fruits of the mix, be sure to add in superfoods – dried goji berries or mulberries are great additions to any mix. These will give you a super boost of antioxidants and vitamins, helping to ensure a long-lasting energy supply on the trail.
- Dark Chocolate! Yes, dark chocolate is making this list. In small amounts, dark chocolate has helped reduce blood pressure and even reduce risk of strokes. Don’t go overboard, but adding a handful of dark chocolate shards is always a nice touch!
Customize Your Mix
So maybe you can’t find any good trail mixes in your local markets – perhaps they aren’t organic or perhaps you just don’t like the taste. Well, the solution is simple: make your own or find a good base mix, then add to it! There are no rules against trail mix customization, so do what you must to get the mix working right for you.
With a nice bag of trail mix at hand, you’ll feel energized and prepared to tackle even the most challenging of trails!