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How To Make The Perfect Trail Mix

trail mix

I’m nuts about nuts – and seeds. I eat them everyday…raw, activated, roasted, salted and spiced. They’re a staple in my kitchen and an important part of my diet. Most weeks I make up a big batch of trail mix, which is a lifesaver when I’m busy travelling or when I want a quick, high-protein meal at my desk.

What’s great about it:
Research shows there are many benefits of eating nuts and seeds regularly, including a lower risk of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity. They’re a wonderful source of dietary fat, particularly monounsaturated and essential polyunsaturated fats like omega 3. These help to promote satiety and regulate appetite, whilst promoting healthy cholesterol levels. Nuts and seeds are also a great source of plant-based protein, vitamins and minerals,  essential for people following vegetarian diets.

Nuts and seeds are packed full of fibre, both soluble and insoluble, which promotes healthy gut flora and digestive function.  The secret to the perfect trail mix comes down to a few basic components like choosing the right nut and seed for your health and taste. Each nut has different nutritional benefits as well as flavour, so it’s important to design one that best suits your own needs.

CHOOSE A NUT

Almonds
These are my favourite nut of all time. They are a great source of vitamin E, folic acid, potassium, magesium and calcium. Perfect for bone health, immune function and healthy skin.

Cashews
Cashews are high in the amino acid tryptophan which helps to make serotonin – the FEEL GOOD hormone responsible for feelings of wellbeing. Serotonin is also crucial for the proper development of the enteric nervous system (ENS) to support digestion.

Brazil nuts
A larger nut with a lot to offer, Brazil nuts are the highest source of dietary Selenium, an essential mineral and potent antioxidant involved in thyroid hormone production, metabolism and immune support.

Macadamias
These nuggets of golden goodness are high in thiamine (vitamin B1) and manganese, essential nutrients needed for energy production. Macadamias also contain the highest amount of mono-unsaturated fats amongst the nut family.

Pecans
Pecans are a delicious source of plant based omega 3 EFA’s, antioxidants and fibre. Pecans have been shown to help lower the levels of oxidized LDL cholesterol in the blood, which may help to protect against heart disease.

Pistachios
These colorful nuts are a fantastic source of arginine, an amino acid involved in hormone production and healthy blood vessel function. Pistachios are also high in reversatrol, a phytonutrient with antioxidant, anti-cancer, immune supporting and cardio-protective properties.

Walnuts
Walnuts are a delicious source of omega 3 EFA’s (essential fatty acids) which are critical for good health. They are a rich source of tryptophan, an amino acid used to make serotonin.

CHOOSE A SEED

Sunflower seed
These sunny seeds are a rich source of vitamin E, a potent antioxidant linked to healthy cardiovascular function. Sunflower seeds also provide a decent dose of vitamin B1, B6, copper, selenium and manganese.

Pumpkin seeds
Also known as pepita’s, these large seeds are rich in magnesium and zinc, vital minerals involved in metabolism, nutrient utilization, mood, sleep and digestive health.

Sesame seeds
What they lack in size, they make up for in taste, with just a small sprinkling transforming the flavor of an entire dish. Sesame seeds are high in manganese, copper, calcium and magnesium. They also contain CoQ10, an important vitamin involved in energy production and heart health

CHOOSE YOUR FRUIT + AROMATICS
I love using fruits like sun-dried pineapple rings and goji berries in my trail mix. Pineapple is kind to my digestive system and the enzymes help digest the goodness of the protein. Other great fruits are sun-dried mango cheeks, organic apricots, mulberries, Persian figs, raisins, freeze dried raspberries or cherries. Scent your trail mix with aromatics such as dark chocolate or cacao nibs, vanilla or cinnamon.

MY FAVOURITE RECIPE
1 cup  almonds
1 cup brazil nuts
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
handful goji berries
small sprinkle of toasted coconut flakes
2 sun-dried organic pineapple slices

Combine all the ingredients and store in an airtight container in the fridge.
Divide into handful size portions and enjoy as a quick meal or healthy snack.

Notes + Inspiration:
Serve with lush organic yoghurt and fresh berries for a delicious breakfast.
Add a spoon of chia seed or flaxseed and soak in almond milk for a delicious bircher muesli or chia pudding.

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Download My Free Smoothie E-Books

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Comments
7 Responses to “How To Make The Perfect Trail Mix”
  1. Lisa Yates says:

    Hi Teresa, love your nutty post! Just wanted to say thank you for your support of the Australian Tree Nut Industry. For all things nuts like recipes, tips, images, infographics, research, fact sheets your followers may also like to visit http://www.nutsforlife.com.au – the Australian tree nut industry’s health education site. Follow Teresa’s lead and enjoy a daily healthy handful of nuts. Cheers Lisa Yates Program Manager and Dietitian, Nuts for Life

  2. Suzy says:

    Hi Teresa
    If I were to choose just one protein powder to cover most recipes, which one would you recommend?
    Suzy

    • Both proteins are very versatile…Healthy Chef Native WPI is delicious in smoothies, protein balls, porridge, bircher mueslie, chia pudding, pancakes and more…Organic pea protein is delicious in smoothies, baking, bircher muesli or raw foods such as protein balls.

      I would try the WPI Vanilla or Natural first and see how you go. T:) x

  3. Emma says:

    This is a great artical and interesting to read what different nuts offer nutrionally. I’m particularly interested in Brazil nuts helping with thyroid hormone production as I have an issue with my thyroid. Is there an optimal amount to be eating daily to get the most from the Brazil nut and are there other ingredients I should introuce into my diet to further help?
    Thanks

  4. Rachael says:

    Thank you for this great post. Homemade trail mix’s are the best :) Definitely going to try dried pineapple in mine!

  5. Robert says:

    I also add some glazed fruits, such as Guava, orange peel rinds sultanas also get thrown in….I make my own breakfast cereal mix with just plain old corn flakes, some puffed wheat and a very generous helping of my trail mix.

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