Riley Thornton, RDN
University of Alabama at Birmingham Wellness Specialist

Newswise — "One of the biggest problems with snacking are the portion sizes, even with some of the 'healthier' foods we may think of. For instance, trail mix can be a great snack and alternative to a large bag of regular chips, but when eating more than the recommended portion size – about one-fourth cup – the calories, fat and sugar can add up."

"One full cup of trail mix can be almost 700 calories. When you have a large container of the mix out, you tend to eat more than what is recommended. Reading the nutrition label is important to find out what one serving looks like. Portioning trail mix into small bags or containers can make grabbing a quick snack much simpler and lower in calories. Trail mix can be a great snack because the variety of nutrient-dense items – like nuts and dried fruit – can provide healthy fats, protein, carbohydrates and fiber."

Thornton says to follow these four easy steps to make a great trail mix and get the most nutritious bang for your buck:

  1. Choose a variety of nuts, seeds and dried fruits to provide the base
  2. Incorporate additional sources of fiber such as whole wheat or whole grain cereals – Cheerios work great.
  3. For those with a sweet tooth add dark chocolate chips or coconut flakes
  4. To reduce the amount of salt in your mix, look for raw nuts and seeds 
  5. BONUS TIP: Remember serving sizes are key. Like many things, snacking in moderation is important for weight maintenance