Trail Mix: The Nutritional Value of this Snack
As the weather starts to cool, long hikes in nature are the perfect way to spend a weekend. Plus, it allows you to keep fit and healthy. But, how do you sustain yourself through hours of activity? The answer is trail mix. In today’s blog, we’ll talk all about what goes into this hiking snack. As well as, how to make your own!
What is Trail Mix?
Trail mix is a type of snack, typically a combination of granola, dried fruit, nuts, and sometimes candy, developed a s food to be taken along on hikes. It’s ideal because its lightweight, easy to store, and nutritious. This is because of the energy boost from the carbohydrates in dried fruit or granola, and the sustained energy from fats in nuts.
In the past, trail mix was named “GORP” which stood for “Good Old Raisins and Peanuts” or “Granola, Oats, Raising, Peanuts”. This mix finds itself in may cultures and time periods. For example, Native Americans ate a version that included dried buffalo meat. However, the first modern version is attributed to Horace Kephart. In his camping guide, publish in the 1910s, he outlines the recipe for a combination of nuts, raisins, and chocolate as a trail snack.
As we’ve learnt, trail mix helps to sustain your energy when out hiking. But, how does it do that? Well, it involves the type of food that makes up the GORP combination.
Nuts and Seeds. These ingredients are high in protein and rich in heart-healthy fats. Protein is an important nutrient essential for muscle growth, tissue repair, immune health, and more. Unsatured fats decrease cholesterol levels while omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and protect against chronic health conditions.
Dried Fruits. Another staple of trail mix, these perceived fruits are packed with 3.5 times the fibre, vitamins, and minerals of fresh fruit. Fibre is a great source of antioxidants: therefore improving blood flow, better digestive health, and decreasing oxidative damage. Raisins are one of the best choices of fruit because they don’t spike sugar levels and lead to the increased feeling of fullness.
Chocolate. When making the choice between white, milk, and dark — go for the latter! Dark chocolate is rich in minerals such as iron, magnesium, and zinc. It helps lower blood pressure and has anti-inflammatory effects. Inflammation is part of the body’s natural immune response to germs and harmful substances — something that could easily occur when hiking.
Shredded Coconut. Made from the dried white meat, coconut promotes bone health and the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and cholesterol. Thus making it the perfect partner for the other ingredients in the GORP.
Ginger. Crystallised ginger is a fun additive to your trail mix. Not only does it give a punchy flavour, but it also has strong medicinal qualities. Ginger treats many forms of nausea, treats joint pain and stiffness, lowers blood sugars, aids indigestion, and fights infections.
How to Make Your Own
The beauty of trail mix is that it is catered to your own dietary needs and preferences! However, here are some easy combinations we recommend.
Sweet and Fruity:
- Dark chocolate chunks
- Dried cranberries
- Dried coconut
- Sunflower seeds
- Wasabi Peas
Peanut Butter Cup:
- Dark chocolate