What kind of snacks do you prepare for your kids? Are you the sandwich-and-milk types? Alternatively, do you give them cookies and chips? What kind of drinks do you give them at snack time? Do you even know what’s inside their lunch boxes and snack bags?
Snacking is essential if you want to keep your kids’ hunger at bay. There’s a long gap in between lunch and dinner, so your kids are guaranteed to get hungry any time, especially when they are active and doing multiple tasks in school. When they get home, the first thing they will do is look for food. As such, it is important to keep a good stash of snack food in the kitchen or pantry.
However, what kind of snack food is ideal for your kids? Are chips, cookies, and donuts okay? Alternatively, would you rather give them sandwiches? Well, now that people are becoming more conscious about the food they eat; parents should also take the cue and start giving their kids healthy snacks.
The first time your kids hear the term healthy snacks, they might react negatively. This is because healthy snacking has been described as “blah!” and “meh!” for the longest time. Kids automatically think they will not like the taste of healthy snacks.
However, we now have a lot of delicious, satisfying, and crave-worthy healthy snacks. One good example is trail mixes. They look and taste delicious, and they are completely healthy!
What you and your kids should keep in mind from now on is that healthy snacking can also be fun and exciting. The secret is in choosing the snacks guaranteed to satisfy your kids.
Who Needs Trail Mixes?
Trail mixes are ideal snacks for everyone, not just the kids. However, of course, since kids are pickier than adults, they are the ones who should be encouraged to try trail mixes for healthy snacking.
Additionally, those who are trying to lose some excess pounds can also benefit from eating trail mixes at snack time.
Though, anyone who wants to eat healthier snacks needs trail mixes. These snack foods are the perfect alternative to the usual chips, cookies, and sodas you serve your kids at snack time.
What is a Trail Mix?
If you are planning to give your kids trail mixes for snacks, and if you are in search of the best trail mix recipe, it is essential that you first understand what they are.
A trail mix is what you call a dried snack mix that usually contains dried fruits, granola, nuts, grains, and in some instances, chocolates. It was originally intended as food for hikers as it is convenient to carry around, easy to eat, nutritious, and can help boost energy. A trail mix is also easy to store.
The trail mix was an idea of Horace Kephart, an outdoorsman who was one of those responsible for plotting the Appalachian Trail route. In his book entitled “The Book of Camping and Woodcraft,” Kephart suggested that hikers bring nuts, chocolate, and raisins mix when they trek their trails.
Over the years, the trail mix grew in popularity worldwide, including its reputation for being a healthy snack. In some European countries, the trail mix is called student snack or student food. There are also hikers that use the term “gorp” when about trail mixes. “Gorp” stands for “good old raisins and peanuts” (oats, granola, raisins, and peanuts).
In 1968, the term “Original Trail Mix” was registered by Hadley Date Gardens. This mix combined processed seeds (sunflower and pumpkin), raisins, processed cashews, processed peanuts, processed almonds, salt, and oils (cottonseed and canola and soybean and almond). The term trail mix, however, is not trademarked. As such, it has become the standard product name for healthy dried fruit and nut mixes available in the market.
The common ingredients of a trail mix are nuts and legumes (baked soybeans, peanuts, cashews, almonds, and walnuts), dried fruits (raisins, cranberries, apples, and apricots), breakfast cereals (oats and granola), seeds (sunflower and pumpkin), chocolates (usually M&Ms), and in some varieties, banana chips.
Trail mixes are healthy snack alternatives because of their ingredients’ nutritional profiles. Nuts contain omega-3 fatty acids, unsaturated fats, vitamin E, fiber, protein, and L-arginine. The dried fruits provide essentially the same nutrients that fresh fruits offer. In fact, in some instances, there are dried fruits that have higher nutrient levels compared to fresh fruits.
The best trail mix recipe should contain more nuts, and dried fruits and only a sprinkling of chocolates (or no M&Ms at all!) to achieve the maximum desired effect
Trail mixes can be taken as is, straight from the container or pack. Some people, however, add their favorite trail mixes to their healthy shakes (like fruit and vegetable shakes) and as toppings to healthy desserts (fruit bowls, for example). Check out more info on fiber supplements for toddlers here
Additionally, trail mixes are considered the ideal travel food because: 1) they are lightweight and convenient to carry around, 2) they do not require refrigeration, and 3) they are delicious and filling.
What are the Benefits of Trail Mixes for Kids?
Some parents think twice about giving their kids trail mixes because these snack alternatives contain nuts, and nuts are believed to contain a lot of fat. What these parents do not know, however, is that these fats are the kinds their kids need. Nuts contain polyunsaturated and mono-unsaturated fats, which are considered essential fatty acids. These EFAs help maintain good heart health.
Here are several benefits that your kids will enjoy the moment you choose to give them trail mixes for snacks.
The best trail mix recipe has significant amounts of antioxidants. Trail mixes contain many antioxidants, an important factor in achieving good health and protecting the body against diseases. Antioxidants fight against and remove free radicals, which have damaging effects on your health. They keep the skin healthy and young and strengthen the immune system.
Additionally, antioxidants are also good for the eyes and the heart and can even help improve memory and mood disorders.
Trail mixes contain healthy oils (and none of the unhealthy partially hydrogenated oils or fats). As previously mentioned, nuts contain healthy oils, the oils our body needs. They have zero trans fats (of bad fats). An example of an ideal nut combination with the best benefits is a mix of walnuts (for omega-3 fatty acids), pecans (vitamin E, fiber, magnesium, copper, and oleic acid), and almonds (phytochemicals that prevent cardiovascular-related and chronic diseases).
Nuts are also essential for providing your body the protein (without the cholesterol) it needs. They also help you feel full faster and longer, which means your kids will not be forced or tempted to overeat.
Finally, nuts are low-glycemic foods, so you will not have to worry about your kids’ sugar level going up.
The best trail mix recipe has essential vitamins and minerals. Trail mixes contain seeds, the most common of which are pumpkin and sunflower. These seeds are healthy and nutrient-rich. They do not contain preservatives and additives. Also, they contain essential vitamins and minerals like zinc and iron (aside from the ones already enumerated earlier).
Giving your kids trail mixes for snacks will help make their bones stronger because of its zinc content (from pumpkin seeds). Also, these healthy snacks can help reduce inflammatory symptoms without side effects. Other benefits of pumpkin seeds in trail mixes include an improvement in sleep behavior (courtesy of L-tryptophan and other essential amino acids) and protection of the prostate.
Sunflower seeds, on the other hand, helps protect against cardiovascular diseases, among others. These seeds contain antioxidants (chlorogenic acid/phenolic acids), betaine and vitamin E (tocopherols) for good cardiovascular health, arginine, lignans, and choline (for improved cognitive function and memory).
The raisins in trail mixes are essential for fighting against bacteria in the mouth. According to several sources, raisins have phytochemicals that can help protect your kids from oral bacteria. As such, they get significant protection against gum diseases and cavities.
Additionally, raisins are also good sources of antioxidants and inulin, which is important for preventing abnormal cell growth, as well as for promoting healthy colon cell growth.
The dried fruits in the best trail mix recipe offer the same benefits that fresh fruits provide. Unsweetened dried fruits are rich in vitamins and minerals, and are not loaded with sugars. Fruits are already naturally sweet, so they should not have added sugars or fructose. The ideal dried fruits used in trail mixes are not sugar-coated; they are naturally sweet. Perfect examples are cranberries and apples.
Trail mixes contain oats that help lower cholesterol levels. Aside from being rich in fiber, oats are also effective in reducing or lessening cholesterol levels. As such, they offer good protection for the heart.
Trail mixes are convenient and easy to eat. Trail mixes are the ideal snack food for your kids because they are lightweight. They can be carried around wherever they go – to school, to the park, to field trips, and to many other places or destinations. In addition to this, they are also easy to eat. You (or your kids) do not need to cook or refrigerate trail mixes. So even when there’s no electricity or no kitchen where they are, they can still enjoy their snacks.
What are the Precautions of Trail Mixes for Your Kids?
While the best trail mix recipe contains healthy ingredients, there are those that deviate from the norm and add other ingredients. As such, it is crucial for you to check the labels of the trail mixes you choose to make sure that you are getting the right one.
The ingredients you need to avoid are sodium, trans fat, food coloring, unhealthy oils, confectioners glaze or artificial sugar, juice concentrate, preservatives, and other similar ingredients. Additionally, make sure that the dried fruits in the mix come from real fruits and not their synthetic alternatives.
Also, make sure that your kid or kids are not allergic to nuts – to any nuts.
What are the Best Trail Mixes for Your Kids?
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Fredlyn Nut Company has a variety of trail mixes in their products list. This type – the Hawaiian Mix – is one of their most popular. It is a simple blend of dried fruits and unsalted nuts. More specifically, it is a mix of natural dried pineapple, papaya, blanched peanuts, walnuts, cashew pieces, almonds, hazelnuts, and banana chips.
Its nutrition label includes protein, calories, saturated fat, sugars, sodium, carbohydrates, fiber, and 7 grams of fat.
- Provides the energy boost needed.
- Dried fruits are soft and easy to chew.
- A good mix of saltiness and sweetness.
- Good and affordable price.
- Tastes good you cannot help but want more.
- Comes in a reclosable bag.
- This product contains sulfur dioxide that’s used as a color preservative.
This product can be the best trail mix recipe because just one bite will give you the perfect combination of the sweet and salty taste that most kids love. It does not contain gluten and other unhealthy ingredients. It is also a good source of protein.
Children will love the fact that this trail mix combines sunflower seeds with peanuts, raisins, and milk chocolate candies.
- It is ideal for both kids and adults.
- It tastes great; you will not be able to stop once you open it!
- Convenient to bring to school or to eat even late at night.
- Has a long shelf life (more or less six months).
- Has the perfect sweet and salty mix.
- This product comes in individual packs.
- Has a good balance of each ingredient.
- This can be too salty for some kids.
- Some people may not like the taste.
This Planters trail mix has a right combination of sweet and salty flavors. It contains peanuts, almonds, raisins, and chocolate M&Ms. It is low in sodium and contains proteins and other essential nutrients. It can also provide the extra energy you need and can help satisfy your kids’ hunger.
- This product is packed in a resealable bag.
- Made and manufactured by Planters, one of the most trusted consumer-oriented companies in the world.
- This trail mix is safe for kids (and adults) because it is low in sodium.
- This trail mix is delicious.
- This product comes with a reasonable price.
- Some consumers find this trail mix a tad too sweet.
- Others still prefer organic trail mixes over this variety.
This trail mix comes in a stand-up, resealable bag. It is a good blend of sweet, salt, chewy, and crunchy raisins, cashews, almonds, peanuts, and M&Ms. All the ingredients are fresh and of the highest quality. This product undergoes strict and rigorous tests before it is sent to the market.
- This can be the best trail mix recipe because it tastes good!
- Just the right sweet and salty.
- Ingredients ratio is well-balanced.
- Ingredients are fresh and are of the highest quality.
- The chocolate-fruit-nuts sweet and salty combination of this product does not work for all taste buds.
- Some people found this trail mix either bland or weird-tasting.
This Kosher trail mix comes in different sizes: 2-packs, 3-packs, 4-packs, and 5-packs (all equivalent to 4 lbs). Kirkland’s trail mix can be the best trail mix recipe contains an all-healthy ingredients list: peanuts, raisins, cashew nuts, almonds, and other nuts. It also has M&M chocolate candies
- This is a delicious snack alternative!
- It is also quite a filling snack.
- The mix of saltiness and sweetness is just right.
- The nuts in the mix are of good quality.
- Effectively provides the extra energy your kids need.
- There can be too much sugar in this trail mix. One consumer says the raisins are often covered with sugar powder.
- Some packs have more raisins; others have more chocolates and nuts.
All the trail mixes in this list offer a good combination of dried fruits, nuts, raisins, and chocolates; as well as a healthy mix of saltiness and sweetness. However, our choice is Fredlyn Nut Company Hawaiian Mix mainly because most of the consumers that have tried the product are happy with their choice. It may have the best trail mix recipe, of course; but what’s more definite is that it has a good blend of dried fruits and nuts, plus some banana chips. Not all trail mixes have banana chips, and this can be one of the major come-ons of this product.
Additionally, a Hawaiian mix is quite interesting – taste-wise – because it contains pineapple and papaya, which are not common ingredients of trail mixes but are just as nutritious as the more popular options.
The only downside of choosing this trail mix is its sulfur dioxide content. However, that is just a small factor because this product’s nutritional benefits are still the major come-on.
So, if you want quality, the best trail mix recipe, a taste you cannot help but crave for, and nutritional benefits, go for Fredlyn Nut Company’s Hawaiian Mix trail mix.
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