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Monday, January 18, 2016

Beyond M&M's and Marshmallows

One cold, drizzly Thursday afternoon, the Girl Scouts troop I co-lead took a short walking field trip from the library where we usually meet to a park a couple of blocks away that lies on the banks of the Willamette River. As a treat for the girls, we let them make trail mix that they could munch on along the way. Each girl was asked to bring one ingredient to add to the mix. One girl brought a bag of M&M's, one brought a bag of chocolate chips, one brought a bag of peanut M&M's, one brought a bag of marshmallows and one brought a bag of mini pretzels. Yum! The girls were excited about their custom made trail mix, and it turned out to be the highlight of the field trip. It was a yummy treat for our troop, but definitely not a source of sustainable energy! 
From road trips to backpacking trips, trail mix can be a fun, convenient snack to have on the go, and it’s so easy to customize according to your own personal tastes! But to make this snack a healthy one, we need to get beyond the M&M’s and marshmallows! Here are some basic guidelines to making a healthier snack mix: 

1. Nuts Use any kind of nuts you like, but try to stay away from ones that have been coated and roasted in hydrogenated or soybean oils and salt. Raw nuts are ideal.

2. SeedsSeeds are actually packed with protein, iron, magnesium and an array of vitamins and minerals. Like with the nuts, go for raw, unsalted seeds.

3. Dried Fruit Dried fruits have a high sugar content, which makes them a great snack for boosting low blood sugar after physical activity. Be careful when picking dried fruit! Lots of dried fruits are coated in sugar, so be on the lookout for sun dried fruits that are unsulfured. They tend to be more expensive, but are a much healthier option.

4. Fun Stuff!Just because it’s healthy doesn’t mean you can’t throw in a little fun! Feel free to add in a handful of your favorite treat. Dark chocolate and popcorn are good options, but don’t limit yourself to that; try some pretzels, peanut butter chips or other sweet treat! (Don’t let your sweet treat outweigh the healthy stuff!)

Here is a list of 7 customizable trail mix recipes, provided by Super Healthy Kids. Try one out or use my guidelines to create something totally unique! Next time you hit the trails or head to the park with the kids, slip a bag of your delicious and healthy mix into the pocket of your Sweet Spot Tights, and snack happy!!

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