As college students, I am sure you find yourself on the go almost all the time. Sometimes classes, work, sports, and internships can just pile together in one day leaving you with very little or no time to eat. However, everyone knows you just can’t operate on an empty stomach. That’s why it is so important to carry snacks with you for when you’re feeling burned out and need some quick fuel. One of the best types of quick snacks that you can easily carry in your backpack is trail mix. It’s lightweight and non-bulky, can be eaten without utensils, doesn’t need to be refrigerated, and best of all- it is packed with nutrients!
Trail mixes usually consist of a mix of nuts, seeds, dried berries, and other dried fruits. They are perfect for customizing to your own tastes because you can mix and match to whatever blend suits you! Nuts such as peanuts, almonds, cashews, pecans, walnuts, etc. are excellent sources of plant-based protein. For example a quarter cup of peanuts contains approximately 8 grams of protein. Nuts are also a great source of fiber. Almonds contain about 4 grams of fiber per quarter-cup serving and peanuts about 3 grams. Nuts are also a great source of healthy fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats) and oils. These fats have been linked to lowering cholesterol levels. Nuts also contain omega-3s. Omega-3s are fatty acids that have been shown to reduce blood pressure and improve heart health amongst many other benefits. Walnuts and pecans have higher levels of omega-3s. To make your trail mix uber-tasty mix in seeds such as roasted sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds. Seeds are also an excellent source of plant-based proteins, healthy fats, and fiber. Both seeds and nuts also are great sources of vitamin E.
Dried fruits are an essential part of a trail mix. Just a few of the many choices you have are dried blueberries, cranberries, apples, mangos, bananas, raisins, or dates. These fruits will give you a healthy sugar boost as well as provide essential vitamins and minerals such as fiber, vitamin B, C, A, and potassium. Just make sure to use dried fruits with no added sugars!
If you’re feeling it, add extra things to your trail mixes such as popcorn (low or no butter and salt), dark chocolate chunks or chips, or toss it in cinnamon, nutmeg, or a pinch of salt. Toss your choice of ingredients together and bring it with you in a reusable bag or Tupperware when you’re on the go and you will thank yourself!