It's common knowledge these days that nuts are good for you. They have healthy fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, two types we don't tend to eat much of as Americans.) They are also relatively high in fiber and vitamins and minerals.
What you may or may not already know is that they are very high-calorie. I was just talking today with a client about what may have caused some recent weight gain. It turned out she'd been eating trail mix. Now, trail mix is a very healthy snack, but you might be surprised if you carefully checked the portion size. Of this particular mix, you could eat 3 tablespoons for 170 calories. However, if you were to check the portion size by weight (in grams,) you'd notice that you don't get to round out those tablespoons or "estimate." The actual portion is tiny for those 170 calories. It turned out that my client's small handfuls were about 500-700 calories each!
Even if you are able to control your portion size to not overdo the trail mix, you still might want to consider something where you get more food for your calories. For example, you could have two large apples instead of that microscopic serving of nuts.
On the other hand, if you are having trouble eating enough or reaching your calorie goal, trail mix is an excellent option. It's also great to take with you on hikes where you don't want to weigh down your pack with too much food.
Another great thing about trail mix is that it keeps your blood sugar levels constant. This helps you to avoid the "roller coaster effect." If you have a carefully measured portion of nuts or trail mix at around 2 pm, you'll avoid that 3 pm crash. Avoiding the 3 pm crash could mean avoiding those stale doughnuts or birthday cake the office is passing around!
The morale of the story: trail mix is a wonderful tool, when used correctly. Just don't forget to measure carefully (preferably with a scale.) One great way to do this is to pre-measure and keep controlled portions in snack-size zipper bags. Or, buy the snack size packs of nuts or trail mix.
To learn more about portion control, healthy eating, and most importantly, eating for *your* body and metabolism, click here!
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