If you are looking for a convenient snack before your workout or while you are on the move, then trail mix is the answer. However, don’t be fooled by the size of the packet, this energy-dense food is jam-packed with calories and is meant to nourish the body during strenuous activities like hiking. If you are following a keto diet, you may want to steer clear of prepackaged trail mix brands because of the hidden sugars in the dried fruits and the carbohydrate-dense grains and legumes. Instead, prepare your own keto-friendly trail mix at home to keep in your bag or a drawer at the office.
Dried Fruits To Use In A Keto-Friendly Trail Mix
Most fruits are off-limits on a keto diet because of their high fructose and carbohydrate content. But what is a trail mix without the tangy-sweet bite? Many pre-packaged dried fruits are processed with extra sugar to make it more palatable so it’s best to avoid them altogether if you want to keep your ketones in check. Fortunately, a few of nature’s candies are approved on the keto diet and can be safely added to your trail mix for that sweetened crunch.
Unsweetened Dried Coconut
The white flesh of a coconut is like a gift sent from ketone heaven. On the keto diet, coconuts can be almost anything you want them to be. It is the perfect substitute for grain flours, vegetable oils, or in this case, used as a substitute for other fruits that are high in carbs. Coconuts are great for stabilizing blood sugar, boosting heart health, and promoting weight loss. What sets coconuts apart from most foods on a keto diet is that it contains medium-chain triglycerides or MCTs. This type of fat is absorbed quicker than most by the body and is transported directly to the liver, where it is either used immediately for energy or converted directly into fat-burning ketones. There are many unsweetened dried coconut brands on the shelf, but you can also dry out the flesh yourself at home.
A single cup serving of coconut flesh provides:
- Calories – 283Kcal
- Total Carbs – 10g
- Fat – 27g
- Protein – 3g
- Fiber – 7g
- Net Carbs – 3g
Unsweetened Dried Blueberries
Blueberries are without a doubt one of the most nutrient-dense fruits you can eat on any diet. They are low in sodium and cholesterol but pack a hefty punch when it comes to vitamins and antioxidants. These juicy berries have a low glycemic index meaning that they won’t cause a spike in blood sugar, making them the perfect sweet addition to your low carb trail mix. Some may argue that blueberries may lose their potent antioxidant properties once they have been dried, but studies reveal that there is no significant decrease in antioxidant activity.
A ¼ cup serving of unsweetened dried blueberries provides:
- Calories – 32.56Kcal
- Total Carbs – 6.91g
- Fat – 0.45g
- Protein – 0.22g
- Fiber – 1.44g
- Net Carbs – 5.47g
Seeds To Use In A Keto-Friendly Trail Mix
Anyone who has been following the keto diet for quite some time will know that seeds are a great way to hike up your fat and protein content for an extra boost of energy. Seeds, which are essentially plant embryos, are abundant in nutrients that not only help plants grow, but also provide us with a wide range of health benefits. Here are a few of the best seeds to add to your low-carb trail mix.
Chia seeds are a superfood must on the keto diet. They may be small in size but are rich in antioxidants, calcium, protein, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids. Chia seeds have a long-standing reputation of promoting weight loss and providing the body with a boost of energy. The nutty flavor and potent antioxidants make these seeds the perfect addition to any meal or low carb trail mix.
A one-ounce serving of unprocessed chia seeds provides:
- Calories – 138Kcal
- Total Carbs – 12g
- Fat – 9g
- Protein – 5g
- Fiber – 10g
- Net Carbs – 2g
Pumpkin seeds are a great addition to any low carb diet because of their nutritional benefits. They are packed with powerful nutrients such as magnesium, iron, manganese, copper, and vitamin K. Pumpkin seeds are also very rich in vitamin E and carotenoids, which provide potent antioxidant effects. They are also a great source of insoluble fiber which helps to promote a healthier gut and regulate bowel movements.
A ¼ cup serving of dehulled pumpkin seeds provides:
- Calories – 187Kcal
- Total Carbs – 6.15g
- Fat – 15.83g
- Protein – 8.48g
- Fiber – 1.35g
- Net Carbs – 4.8g
Nuts To Use In A Keto-Friendly Trail Mix
Despite their size, nuts come with a whole range of health benefits. Most nuts are a great source of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, protein, and fiber, which is what makes them the perfect ingredient for most meals and snacks. Whether you are eating trail mix as a post-workout or mid-day treat, you are guaranteed to feel a spike in energy thanks to these small but potent botanical bullets. Some studies also suggest that nuts can promote weight loss and weight maintenance. Here are a few types of nuts to add to your homemade low carb trail mix.
Pecans hold the top spot for the fewest carbs per ounce. If that’s not enough to get you excited, then this will. The modest pecan contains over 19 beneficial vitamins and minerals, which includes vitamin E, vitamin A, several B vitamins, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, and folic acid. Pecans are also rich in fiber and account for almost 10% of the recommended daily intake (RDI).
A one-ounce serving of pecans provides:
- Calories – 193Kcal
- Total Carbs – 4g
- Fat – 20g
- Protein – 3g
- Fiber – 2.5g
- Net Carbs – 1.5g
Another contender on the low carb scale is macadamia nuts. Their smooth butter taste and nutritional benefits make this a wholesome yet tasty addition to a keto trail mix. They are exceptionally high in monounsaturated fat and magnesium, accounting for almost 9% of the recommended daily intake (RDI). Macadamia nuts are also a rich source of palmitoleic acid or omega-7, an important fatty acid that has anti-thrombotic effects and could help prevent the risk of strokes.
A one-ounce serving of macadamias provides:
- Calories – 200Kcal
- Total Carbs – 4g
- Fat – 21g
- Protein – 2g
- Fiber – 2.5g
- Net Carbs – 1.5g
Other Ingredients To Spice Up A Low Carb Trail Mix
There are thousands of options when it comes to trail mix. It is so easy to make at home and many of the ingredients can be roasted or dried in the oven. If you are looking for other ingredients to spice up your keto trail mix here are a few suggestions:
- Unsweetened chocolate chips (70% or more cocoa)
- Unsweetened dried cranberries
- Molasses (in moderation)
- Organic unsweetened peanut butter
- Squash seeds
- Pork Rinds
It doesn’t take much effort to make your own low carb trail mix at home. All you need is a bit of creativity, a mason jar, some delicious seasoning and voilà! You have a power snack to keep you fueled for the rest of the day!