This shop has been compensated by Safeway. All opinions are mine alone. #AStockUpSale #Safeway #CollectiveBias
Chances are there is a time in your day that you need a quick snack for yourself or family while on the go or in a rush. And chances are you have a cupboard full of granola bars and snack size bags of chips picked up from the grocery store. You buy these because they are easy to grab in a hurry or pack into a lunch. But did you know that you can easily make the perfect trail mix to always have on hand and it makes a wholesome snack for those game days when the kids need energy and nutrition for a day on the field. First, you need to get to know what makes up the perfect trail mix and why. You want a trail mix full of nutrients and protein, not fatty calories. Some of the ingredients are on sale now at your local Safeway Stock Up Sale.
Nuts are the protein you need in a snack on a busy day to keep you full and energized. The right nut gives you healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and protein. The wrong nuts give you added calories. All nuts will give you about the same fats, protein and Omega-3’s and they assist you in feeling fuller longer so you do need to consume in moderation so you do not ruin your appetite for the day. Almonds have the lowest calories with cashews coming in second and pistachios take third place. The healthiest choices are raw or dry roasted as opposed to ones roasted in oils or honey. The worst nuts would be macadamia and pecans as they pack the highest calories. However, these are still healthy nuts and the calorie difference is not huge. Just remember to use portion control, when consuming any nuts.
Many seeds are packed full of nutrients but don’t make the best trail mix additive because of their size and the ability to grab by the hand and eat them such as chia seeds and hemp seeds are great in so many ways (they do not contain THC so no worries about it’s relation to the hemp you hear of), but unless they are mixed in a yogurt or dressing they don’t taste the best. So the seeds I would choose for a trail mix are pumpkin seeds that offer you B vitamins, protein, iron, magnesium and zinc and even is known to lower anxiety levels due to the protein source, Tryptophan. My kids favorite are sunflower seeds and they offer you Vitamin B, Vitamin E for healthy cells and folate (great if you’re pregnant).
We all know that a handful of berries is such a great benefit in so many ways, but unless you plan to consume that trail mix right away I don’t recommend fresh berries in a mix that will be dropped in a soccer bag and sit out on a field in the sun all day. The alternative is dried fruits, but choose wisely. Dried fruits have their water removed so they are more concentrated and higher in calories than fresh fruit. Dehydrated peaches are so delicious and I find mine at my local Safeway with the other dried fruits and are a great source of Vitamin A and iron. Dried apricots are my son’s favorite! These are an excellent source of Vitamin A, E, copper and Potassium. Just make sure you pay attention to any added ingredients such as added sugars so look for ‘no sugar added’ on the package labels.
The best way to up the calories and sugars into your snack is dumping chocolates into the mix. If you want to add some healthy sweetness, consider coconut flakes, more dried fruits like cranberries and if chocolate is a must-to get your kids enticed-then stick to organic kinds like mini chips that don’t pack on the calories or even some dry oat cereals for a touch of sweetness but just add a little bit. I’ll throw in some Honey Nut Cheerios because it excites my son, but where he gets a few cereal pieces, he picks up a handful of nuts and fruit with it. Lightly sweetened granola is also a delicious sweet addition. There are all natural flavored coconut chips my son loves sweetened with cocoa too!
I just completed my trail mix shopping at my local Safeway during the current Stock Up sale. In this sale I can grab some Honey Nut Cheerios and Nature Valley Granola for a low price to add to the nuts, seeds and fruits. Once home it takes no time at all to throw it all together and make individual servings so they are ready to grab. I always take some while running errands and let my son grab handfuls at his sports games when he comes in from play. I also like to switch it up each time with changing the fruit or nuts so the family does tire of the same mix.