Build your own Trail Mix

Trail Mix is a perfect snack to eat on the go. From sweet to savory, there are thousands of combinations to appeal to any taste buds or cravings. But store-bought trail mixes can be loaded with sugar and preservatives. The fix? Make your own mix so you’re in control of the ingredients.

Here are four strategies for building your own trail mix:

1. Choose whole grains: Popcorn, whole grain cereal (such as Cheerios, Quaker Oat Squares, etc.), mini pretzels, puffed wheat, puffed rice. (Look for low-sugar products that include a whole grain stamp or whole-grain ingredients.)

2. Add dried fruit: Raisins, apricots, dried cranberries, pineapple, blueberries, banana chips, apple chips, etc. (Dried fruit is naturally sweet, so remember to avoid products that include added sugar or corn syrup in the ingredient list to avoid extra calories.)

3. Include nuts and/or seeds for protein: Almonds, walnuts, cashews, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, etc. (Buy them unsalted to help keep your sodium intake low.)

4. Add just a dash of sweet: Marshmallows, M&Ms, chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, etc. (Dark chocolate that has at least 70 percent cocoa offers the most health benefits with not as much fat and sugar as other chocolates.)

Mix up the ingredients in a big bowl, then stash the mix in an airtight container in a cool, dry location to prevent spoilage. When ready to go, place two handfuls of your trail mix in a small zip-top bag.

Mason Jar Trail Mix

1 cup almonds
1 cup pepitas (green pumpkin seeds)
1 cup large unsweetened coconut flakes
1 cup favorite whole grain cereal (such as puffed brown rice)
1 cup Sunsweet PlumSweets (dark chocolate or Greek style)

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Spoon mixture into mason jars or zip-top bags.