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National Trail Mix Day: Mix it up on or off the trails

Trial mix, the hikers companion since the 1910’s. Trail mix is a combination of dried fruit, grains, nuts, and sometimes chocolate, developed as a ...

Trial mix, the hikers companion since the 1910’s. Trail mix is a combination of dried fruit, grains, nuts, and sometimes chocolate, developed as a snack food to be taken along on outdoor hikes. Popular with sports enthusiasts and roadtrippers alike to get a burst of protein and carbohydrates on the go. While it was designed to give you a lightweight and nutritious energy boost, is trail mix diabetic friendly? Can we make and enjoy it with type 2?

How do I pick my trail mix?

We know that choosing healthy snacks can be difficult with type 2. Creating and choosing nutrient-rich foods that promote overall health is always your best bet. When we snack or plan our meals we should be looking for high fiber, protein and healthy fats. Keep an eye out to add some antioxidants and plenty of fresh vegetables and you have yourself a very healthy diet. The nutrients found in this will help keep your blood sugar levels consistent and healthy.

A 1-ounce (28-gram) serving of trail mix provides almost 4 grams of protein, which makes it a filling snack that may promote blood sugar control in people with diabetes (National Library of Medicine, 63). Trail mix also provides some healthy fats and fiber from the nuts and seeds, which have been shown to help reduce blood sugar and insulin levels (National Library of Medicine)

With everything we snack on, moderation and serving sizes are KEY to the question, “Is this good for me?”. Trail mix is no exception. Keep an eye on your portions, with snack foods it is easy to overdo it and lose track of how much you are consuming. The reason why trail mix is great for hiking is because it is condensed nutrition.  So open the jar or bag, take out one serving and put it away. Most trail mix serving sizes are around ¼ cup, the amount that fits in one cupped palm. Not so bad if you stop after one or two servings—but toss back a bunch of trail mix and calories from even the healthiest blends can add up.  

Blends can range from salty, spicy, or sweet with a huge variety of ingredients. So what should we be looking for when we buy our trail mix? The basics: mostly nuts, legumes and seeds with some dried fruit and minimal extra add-ons such as extra seasonings, pretzels, or bonus treats like chocolates, or yogurt covered fruit. Keep an eye on the added sugars and sodium in the mix. The trail mix will be just as delicious without added sugars, salt and hydrogenated oils. 

How can I make my own t2d friendly trail mix? 

Recipe from Low Carb Diet Life

Ingredients

Instructions

  • To prepare, simply toss all of the ingredients in a container with a lid and give it a little shake or stir.

Can I add dried fruit?

Diets with high glycemic index (GI), with high glycemic load (GL), or high in all carbohydrates may predispose to higher blood glucose and insulin concentrations, glucose intolerance, and risk of type 2 diabetes. Therefore, people with diabetes should look for foods with a low GI score. Most nuts all have low GI scores, between 0 and 20. The nut with a higher GI score is the cashew (22). The glycemic index of some common dried fruits includes dates-62, dried apples-29, dried apricots-30, dried peaches-35, dried plums-29, figs-61, raisin-59, prunes-38. 

According to the International Journal of Medical Research and Health Sciences, A diabetic patient can eat dried fruit but not in excess. A typical 1/4 cup consists of one serving of dried fruit which is equal to 15 grams of carbohydrate or 1 serving. This can be included in daily meal plan as fruit alternative provided no added sugar is used. Due to dehydration, dry fruits are naturally higher in sugar per gram condensed in small volume. While eating dried fruit, added sugar is very unnecessary especially if a person is diabetic. So feel free to add some of your favorite dried fruits but keep your trail mix MOSTLY nuts, legumes and seeds. 

To sum up, trail mix with or without dry fruits like every other food contain both healthy and harmful effects. Although they are harmful in some aspects, their benefits outweigh their risks. So when you plan out your healthy meals and snacks this week, don’t forget your serving of trail mix. It has all the things you need for a healthy and satisfying snack that is safe for type 2’s. Find other awesome recipes, tips and support by joining our facebook group - Winning Type 2 Diabetes Together. It is an ever-growing group of almost 50,000 diabetics who help each other, support each other, and laugh together! We want YOU to join us!