How To Make The Perfect 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
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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 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
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.
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.
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.