Nope. Not even close. Around here, we eat to live rather than live to eat, and I consider the day a success if I've managed to get a decent amount of nutrients and protein into my kids. I like food, really I do (particularly when it's prepared by someone other than I), but between food allergies, picky-eaters, bottom-of-the-growth-curve-huggers, oral sensory issues, and my 4-year-old's vegetarianism-by-choice, food is stressful.
I do have one secret, though, for taking some of the stress out of mealtimes: Snacks. If I can pack enough healthy goodness into snack time, I can relax a bit if Picky McPickerson doesn't touch his dinner. We have a couple of easy, healthy go-to snack ideas, but I'm always looking for new ideas to shake up our snack rotation.
I was recently invited by Nuts.com to create a trail mix recipe to enter into their contest in honor of National Trail Mix Day (August 31). I was excited to get involved because I like a good challenge, but also, with the start of school right around the corner, I'm thrilled to have a few new lunch-box ideas.
Here are my two entries (one nutty, one nut-free). Try mine or head on over to Nuts.com, browse their amazing selection of nuts, seeds, sweets, and dried fruits, and come up with your own favorite mix.
Goji-Nut High Five
- goji berries: In addition to being called an anti-aging Superfood, Goji berries are a good source of vegetarian protein. They are rich in Vitamins A and C, a good source of 18 amino acids (including all 8 essential amino acids), and contain selenium, a trace element which has been shown to fight bacterial and viral infections. A little sweet and chewy like a raisin, Goji berries are a perfect addition to trail mixes.
- pistachios (Roasted, no salt, no shell): Pistachios are an excellent source of dietary fiber, vitamin B6, thiamin, phosphorus, and copper. A good source of protein, these little nuts also have as much potassium as half of a banana!
- cashews (Roasted, no salt): Cashews are an excellent source of protein and fiber. They also contain copper, zinc, magnesium, and biotin.
- chocolate covered sunflower seeds (Natural colors from vegetable juices, no synthetic food dyes): Sunflower seeds are rich in protien, calcium, and iron but, let's be honest, these chocolate-covered goodies are to add a little sweetness to this savory blend!
- pretzels: for a salty crunch!
I usually don't measure out our trail mix ingredients. I just add a little of this and that until we have a pretty blend of salty, sweet, crunchy, and chewy. Our Goji-Nut High Five fits the bill perfectly. This one will definitely going into Max and Molly's snack rotation.
Most of the trail mixes we make in our home are nut-free, not to exclude our nut-allergic kiddo. For him, we came up with the Rainbow Pop trail mix. Although this mix does not contain any nuts, please be aware that when ordering from Nuts.com, all products are manufactured in a facility that does process nuts.
Rainbow Pop Trail Mix
- pepitas (When ordering from Nuts.com, please note that roasted pepitas contain peanut oil): Pepitas, or pumpkin seeds, are a powerhouse seed rich in protein, iron, and phosphorus. They are also a great source of healthy fat and dietary fiber.
- chocolate covered sunflower seeds (Natural colors from vegetable juices, no synthetic food dyes): Sunflower seeds are rich in protien, calcium, and iron
- dried cherries: a little sweet, a little tart, these dried cherries are the perfect addition to this trail mix. Cherries are rich in potassium and Vitamins C and B. They also contain specific antioxidants thought to aid in the prevention of heart disease and cancer, while also promoting pain relief and healthy sleep.
- popcorn: We pop ours on the stove in a little bit of coconut oil and add a sprinkle of pink Himalayan salt (chosen by Max, at Costco, for it's color...who could blame him?).
I love a good old, traditional, nutty trail mix. This light, nut-free alternative is an excellent combination of flavors and textures. It's visually appealing to selective eaters and, maybe best of all, it's School Safe!
Thanks, Nuts.com for inviting me to participate! If you have never visited the site, head on over to Nuts.com. Their products are of the highest quality and their customer service is outstanding. The website is pretty incredible, too. Looking for something high in protein? Antioxidant-rich? Something sweet but packed with nutrients? You can find out tons of nutrition information on each product page, not to mention tons of recipes and snack ideas. That has to be my favorite part of Nuts.com.
Well, the recipes and the chocolate covered sunflower seeds. Mmmmmmmm!!