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For the past several years, I’ve been watching my calorie intake and managed, at least until my retirement, to lose several dozen pounds. One problem when dieting, even when it’s a permanent lifestyle change, is what to do when you are hungry but limited in food intake.

A decade ago, as I closed in on my target weight and the one year mark since I began limiting calories, I thought about my go-to snacks, such as frozen lemonade, low-cal pumpkin bread, slow-churned vanilla ice cream and trail mix. Trail mix, in particular, seems to be nature’s perfect concoction. Peanuts and mixed nuts, raisins and M&M’s give both the salt and sweet I crave, seemingly without adding a single pound to my weight. At least, that’s the way it feels.

When I searched the Internet for trail mix articles, I found that some strongly railed against both M&M’s and craisins in trail mixes as unreasonable sources of sugar. My own results seem to contradict these reports. Sometimes a little sugar keeps me from eating a lot of sugar. Finding go-to, low-calorie snacks is vital to a successful weight-loss program. As a thoroughly non-professional in nutrition and dietary matters, I highly recommend this perfect food.

So, I began using Mountain Trail Mix as my go-to munchie and found that my weight changed very little due to this incredible snack mix. One day I thought that the mix could use more cashews and started adding them to the pre-packaged mix, then some craisins, and finally decided I might as well make my own trail mix from scratch. I don’t think it’s any cheaper this way, but I get exactly what I want in the mix. I’ll include costs so you can judge for yourself.

Here’s what to purchase (2020 costs):

Mixed NutsGreat Value- 26 oz container $8.98
Cashews- Halves and PiecesGreat Value- 24 oz container$10.25
Craisins​Ocean Spray- 24 oz bag $5.88
RaisinsGreat Value- 20 oz container $2.94
Chocolate CandyM&M®/Mars​- 24 oz bag $4.86

These represent the brands and sizes I normally purchase for one batch of Huberville Trail Mix, and there will be leftovers from the craisins, raisins and M&M’s to use in future batches. I find that store brands work fine for the nuts and raisins but the name brands are worth springing for on the other ingredients. Feel free to use whichever brands you like.

I start by gathering my largest mixing bowl, a 2-cup measuring cup and a 1-gallon re-closable plastic storage container. I have found that the mix will last longer in a hard plastic container than in a zip-lock bag. Here is the process:

Wash your hands

Place the full contents of the mixed nuts (26 oz equals approximately 6 cups) into the mixing bowl.

Add the full contents of the cashew halves and pieces (24 oz equals approximately 6 cups) into the mixing bowl.

Measure 3 cups of craisins and add into mixing bowl

Measure 1-3/4 cups of raisins and add into mixing bowl

Measure 1-3/4 cups of M&M’s and add into mixing bowl

With clean or gloved hands, mix the contents together, repeatedly bringing the ingredients on the bottom of the bowl to the top and turning the bowl several times

Using the measuring cup, pour your trail mix into one or more storage containers

I find that this recipe makes a little over 18 cups of Huberville Trail Mix, which fills a gallon container with almost three cups left over. Go ahead, fill and store the gallon container, then pour the remaining mix into a serving bowl and enjoy the snack!

My best guess on calories would be approximately 300 per 6 tablespoons, or about a third of a cup of trail mix. That’s about how much I eat in a single sitting. Because of the sweet, salty, chocolaty and fruity aspects of the mix, I find a small handful easily tides me over until my next regular meal. I even keep a small container in my headboard for a late night snack.

The total cost of this 18-cup mixture is around $28.00, or about $1.50 per cup (again, 2020 costs), a very affordable goodie, and one that just may save you from devouring many more calories between meals.

One last thought- I will sometimes add different ingredients to change things up, such as dried bananas or fruit, semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips, chocolate-powdered or flavored almonds, and so on. I only do that on occasion… and I always come back to this recipe, unmodified. Enjoy!

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