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Hitting the Trails with Trail Mix


Over the weekend, my family and I will be heading to the Kawarthas for some camping, hiking and spelunking (caving). We bring our bikes as well, and look forward to biking and swimming too. It is a fun, active holiday!

Trail mix is a great energy-dense, portable and filling snack to have on hand. The challenge with pre-made trail mixes is they often have added vegetable oil and sometimes too much sugar (on dried fruit, added candies) and salt.

We make our own homemade trail mix to keep some of these unwanted extras out. If you don’t have high blood pressure it is okay to add in some salted nuts, just don’t have all the nuts and seeds in your trail mix salted. But a little bit of salt is good if you are active outdoors, as it helps keep you hydrated. Salt actually triggers the body to retain water. 

A bit of sugar is okay too - if you are active for longer periods of time, you'll need the fuel. By making your own trail mix, however, you can control the quality and quantity the sugar you use.

For energy, dried fruit is a deliciously natural source of sugar. Raisins, cut up dates, apricots and prunes are recommended, as they aren’t coated with sugar like dried mango, cranberries and other dried fruit. If you want to add in a bit of extra sweetness, include one dried fruit with added sugar or some organic chocolate chips.

Caution - if you have an inflammatory condition, the less sugar you consume the better, so stick with my dried fruit suggestions only.

Nuts and seeds are a trail mix staple, bringing in protein and healthy fats to help you feel satisfied and slow down the absorption of sugar (from the fruit or chocolate chips) into your bloodstream. Purchase dry roasted nuts and seeds to cut out added vegetable oils.

If you are concerned about your waistline, keep in mind that trail mix is not only nutrient-dense, it is calorie-dense. A reasonable portion size for an adult woman is ¼ - 1/3 of a cup depending on how active you are, or 1/3 to ½ a cup for an adult male .

Here is the trail mix my family is munching on right now:

  • Raisins
  • Organic chocolate chips
  • Cut up dates
  • Dry roasted, salted cashews
  • Dry roasted, unsalted peanuts
  • Dry roasted, unsalted pumpkin seeds
  • Dry roasted, unsalted sunflower seeds

Happy Trails!

Family on a trekking day looking at wild flowers

Christine Hanlan
Christine is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, and is ORC's Health & Wellness Ambassador.