If you’ve tried finding healthy snacks and settled on the ease of small bags of trail mix, make sure it’s the right type. That’s extremely important if you want a healthy snack that will benefit your body, help you lose weight and keep you fill you up, not out. Commercial trail mix isn’t necessarily the healthiest of snacks, particularly if you choose one that has M&Ms or other types of candy as the primary ingredient. So which type of trail mix should you choose?
Opt for trail mix that’s mostly nuts and fruit.
If you’re munching on trail mix filled with yogurt-covered raisins or yogurt pretzels, you’re missing the whole idea of a healthy trail mix. Those yogurt coated treats come at a price to your body. Not only do they act as a filler, eliminating truly healthy options, they add hydrogenated oils and sugar, without much benefit. Yogurt is good for you, since it’s a probiotic, but there’s no live bacteria in that coating. Those with added chocolate may or may not be healthy. Even those that specifically advertise probiotics aren’t as good as eating live bacteria yogurt.
How is the trail mix seasoned?
Some trail mixes have a high amount of salt, which can up your sodium intake. Others are flavored with seasonings, such as chipotle or barbecue. These also contain salt and may have added sugar for flavor. Always read the label to find the lowest sodium content and added sugar content. It shouldn’t contain any added sugar, as the sweetness from fruit in the trail mix is enough. Sugar in the trail mix should come from the fruit added.
Opt for making your own to control the addition of unwanted sugar, sodium or other ingredients.
You can get creative when you make trail mix at home. Start with raw or dry roasted nuts of any type. Some people believe it’s best to use raw nuts. Choose your favorite or mix it up. Walnuts are good for the brain, while almonds can improve insulin sensitivity and cholesterol levels. Brazil nuts provide antioxidants, while provide heart healthy fat. Hazel nuts are also heart healthy. Peanuts can reduce inflammation that can cause serious conditions. They all have many other benefits, but these are just a few. Add in seeds like pumpkin or sunflower seeds, dried fruit and if you want, a smidgen of fun things, like popcorn or dark chocolate.
- If the chocolate is milk chocolate, you’re not doing your body a favor, but a small amount of dark chocolate can be beneficial. A few high quality dark chocolate bits can be good for your health.
- As of 2020, companies are required to list added sugar information. There’s not only a difference from company to company, but also within different types of trail mix from the same company.
- Always focus on portion size if you’re trying to lose weight. The amount of trail mix you eat should fit in a cupped hand, about 1/4th cup. There’s a lot of calories in trail mix, even though it’s healthy, stick with portion size. increase portion size if adding air-popped popcorn.
- Sip water when eating trail mix, particularly if it has dried fruit. It will help expand the fruit and make you feel fuller longer.
For more information, contact us today at Next Level Fitness