Is trail mix healthy? This is a question that we get a lot. And the answer is… it depends!
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You may have seen trail mix in the grocery store and wondered if it is a healthy snack. Trail mix is a mixture of dry ingredients such as nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and sometimes chocolate or other sweeteners. It is a convenient snack that can be eaten on the go, and it can be a healthy option if you choose the right ingredients.
There are some things to consider when choosing trail mix. First, look for a mix that has a variety of different ingredients. This will give you a mix of different nutrients and flavors. Second, choose trail mix that is lower in sugar. Too much sugar can offset the health benefits of the nuts and seeds. Third, choose trail mix that is high in healthy fats. Healthy fats can help you feel fuller longer and give you sustained energy throughout the day.
When made with healthy ingredients, trail mix can be a nutritious snack that provides lasting energy. Be sure to choose a mix with a variety of nutrient-rich ingredients to get the most benefit from your snack.
The Benefits of Trail Mix
Trail mix is a popular snack food that is made of a mix of nuts, dried fruit, and sometimes chocolate. It is a healthy snack option that is high in protein and fiber. trail mix can also be a good source of vitamins and minerals.
It’s a Good Source of Healthy Fats
Trail mix is a popular snack for good reason. It’s portable, easy to eat, and usually contains a mix of healthy ingredients like nuts, seeds, and dried fruit.
But is trail mix actually healthy? After all, it can be high in calories and fat, and some brands add less-than-healthy ingredients like chocolate or candy.
Here’s a closer look at whether trail mix is healthy and how to choose the healthiest option.
Trail mix is generally considered a healthy snack. It’s a good source of fiber, protein, and healthy fats. Plus, it’s relatively low in sugar compared to other snacks like candy bars or cake.
However, the nutritional content of trail mix varies widely depending on the ingredients. For example, a recipe that includes mostly nuts and seeds will be higher in fat than one that includes mostly dried fruit.
Some brands of trail mix also add unhealthy ingredients like chocolate chips or candy. These can add extra sugar and calories to an otherwise healthy snack. Therefore, it’s important to read the label before purchasing trail mix to make sure it contains mostly whole food ingredients.
When choosing a trail mix, look for one with a balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fat. This will help you feel fuller longer and provide sustained energy throughout the day. Also, aim for a mix with mostly unsaturated fats, like nuts and seeds, as these are associated with health benefits like lower cholesterol levels and reduced inflammation.
It’s a Good Source of Protein
Trail mix is a great source of protein, which is essential for building and repairing muscles, bones, skin, and other tissues. Protein is also necessary for the production of enzymes and hormones. A one-ounce (28-gram) serving of trail mix contains about 7 grams of protein, which is about 14% of the Daily Value (DV)
It’s a Good Source of Fiber
Dietary fiber is an important nutrient that most Americans don’t get enough of. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, men should consume 38 grams of fiber per day, and women should aim for 25 grams. One ounce (28 grams) of trail mix provides about 3 grams of fiber, or 10–12% of the Daily Value (DV) (2).
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that the body cannot digest. It passes through the gut largely intact and helps add bulk to stool, which prevents constipation and promotes regularity (3).
Fiber may also reduce your risk of heart disease. Soluble fiber, found in oats, nuts, and psyllium husk, can help lower cholesterol levels by binding to cholesterol in the gut and preventing its absorption (4).
Meanwhile, insoluble fiber — found in carrots, celery, dark leafy greens, and wheat bran — helps move food through your digestive system by adding bulk and softening stool (4).
A high-fiber diet has been linked with a reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and obesity (5).
It’s a Good Source of Antioxidants
It’s a good source of antioxidants: “Trail mix is a good source of antioxidants, which are nutrients that help protect your cells from damage,” says Kelli McGrane, RD, for Lose It!. These powerful nutrients scavenge harmful toxins and byproducts that can damage cells, and have been linked with a reduced risk of some chronic diseases.
The drawbacks of Trail Mix
It can be high in sugar
If you’re looking for a nutritious snack to take on a hike or to pack in your child’s lunch, you may think trail mix is a good choice. Unfortunately, trail mix can be high in sugar, calories, and fat.
A 1-ounce (28-gram) serving of commercially prepared trail mix can contain up to 130 calories and 3 grams of sugar. That’s more sugar than what’s in a candy bar!
It can be high in calories
While trail mix can be a healthy snack option, it’s important to be aware of the potential drawbacks. One of the main drawbacks is that it can be high in calories. This is because it’s easy to eat a lot of trail mix in one sitting, and the calories can add up quickly. Additionally, many store-bought varieties of trail mix are high in sugar and fat, which can offset the health benefits. Finally, some people may be allergic to some of the ingredients in trail mix, such as nuts or chocolate. If you have any allergies, be sure to check the ingredient list before you buy or make your own trail mix.
The Bottom Line
So, is trail mix healthy? Overall, it can be. It’s a convenient, easy-to-eat snack that provides a good balance of protein, carbs and fat. It’s also relatively high in fiber and nutrients like vitamins and minerals. However, it’s important to watch out for trail mix that is high in sugar or salt, or that contains unhealthy ingredients like candy or chocolate. When choosing a trail mix, look for one that is made with whole nuts and seeds, dried fruit and whole grain cereals or granola.