Today's post is inspired by a great article that I found on greatist.com with an abundance of colourful ideas for putting together your own healthy trail mix to snack on. I'm trying to eat a little smarter at the moment after a few months of quite frankly not being too great with my food. The problem is that I do like to snack - especially on sweet things and especially when I'm sat at a computer for most of the day - not a good combination.
So it occurred to me that alongside increasing my physical activity (more on that to come soon) maybe I should also look into what I can snack on that is still going to taste good but perhaps provide me with a little more nutrition (just to note that I'm not a food expert of any kind and am just sharing ideas that I think are interesting and useful).
Now don't get me wrong, I know that nuts and seeds such as I'm about to feature here are still high on the calorie count side of things and these mixes also include small amounts of chocolate and dried fruit which should also be eaten cautiously. As mentioned in the greatist article when sitting around at your desk or at home your portion size should be limited to a smallish serving - a 1/4 cup as the article suggests which I believe equates to around 32g. You want to prevent this from tipping over from a balanced snack to more of a demon one!
However with moderation in mind the benefits of these ingredients in small measures can be truly great providing healthy unsaturated fats, vitamins and minerals, antioxidants and much more - the list goes on. Much better than my usual packet of crisps or bar of chocolate (I know terrible!)
So of the 21 really inventive combinations and ideas in the article I picked out my favourite 4 and gave them a go. Simple and easy to do, relatively cheap and easy to keep provided they are stored correctly in a cool, dry location.
I'll run you through the 4 that I made below but for a lot more combinations and a really useful heap of information then you should definitely check out the article that inspired me here and generally have a look around the site. If you're looking for some healthy food and fitness advice it's really quite a good read.
First up I gave the Power Mix a go. This is a combination of goji berries, pistachios, dried blueberries, flax seeds and dark chocolate chips. It's bright, colourful and very tasty! I had to replace the dark chocolate chips with chocolate buttons which probably doesn't count as being as healthy but I only put a teeny amount in! I very much only wanted to use what I could find easily enough at home. I also omitted the flax seeds but added in pumpkin seeds instead. Just an example of how you can pretty much mix it up however you like - the variations just give you a starting point.
I stored this mix in these great little recycled brown boxes that I got from Pipii and that are great for storage and travel. Plus at £2.90 for a pack of 5 they come in pretty useful.
Next up the Cereal Lovers Mix. I love cereal so this sounded like a good idea to me. This contains bran flakes, shredded wheat cereal, puffed rice (I used this one from Rude Health), granola, cashews, dried cherries, dried cranberries and dried blueberries.
I do like this but it's a little bit dry for me to eat as a snack. I might actually try using it as cereal and put almond milk over it for my breakfast one morning - in small quantities!
I've stored this in an old glass jar with an airtight screw top lid. I think it originally had gherkins in it so it's been washed (very well!) and then kept aside for an occasion such as this.
The third and penultimate mix that I put together was the Monkey Munch. This contains banana chips, peanuts, sea salt, almonds, dark chocolate chips, raisins and coconut flakes. I left the chocolate chips out but this is still a great little snack. The banana and coconut give it a tropical feel and makes it a little more interesting than the usual nuts and raisin selections that you might normally buy.
This was neatly packed into a nice glass storage jar from Ikea. These come in very handy as they can be used multiple times for multiple things.
Finally I went for the first one on the list, I don't know why I did it in reverse! The Simple and Sophisticated mix consisting of almonds, dried cherries, dark chocolate chips, sea salt and cinnamon. I over did it a tad on the cinnamon, as I like cinnamon it's actually ok - but do watch out for this.
This one is probably my favourite as the mix of the sweet cinnamon with the small amount of crunchy sea salt goes perfectly over the nut and fruit selection and really lifts it from something quite nice to something a little more special. Delicious.
Now I mentioned portion size as well as storage a little bit above. I came across some really nice mini Picnic Bowls in Waitrose recently - £6 for a set of 4 so not too bad. They have a very secure lid and are just the right size for decanting a small portion to take to work with you - or if you're like me to carry upstairs to your desk to prevent you from eating the whole jar. Something like this would be ideal for taking your pre-prepared trail mix to work to snack on throughout the day.
So I hope you found this little article useful and let me know if you try any of the mixes or have any healthy snacking ideas of your own?
Happy snacking, happy weekend and look out for some more work inspired health and fitness tips coming soon.