Jodie, who follows Fooducate on Facebook, asked – “can you let me know any information on Planters new Trail Mix? it’s delicious.. wondering if it’s too good to be good for me?”
Excellent question Jodie. Trail mix is a great mix of protein, heart healthy fats, and carbs that really helps keep people energized for hours on a trail.
A basic mix includes at least one type of nut or seed, with at least on kind of dried fruit. Example – peanuts and raisins – a starter kit!
There are endless combinations you can create in your own kitchen, as well as prepackaged varieties out there. You have to watch out for added ingredients that you may not have counted on. Let’s take a look inside the label of Planter’s Trail Mix – Fruit & Nut flavor…
What you need to know:
Here is the ingredient list:
PEANUTS, RAISINS, BANANA CHIPS (BANANA, COCONUT OIL, SUGAR, NATURAL FLAVOR), SALTED CASHEWS (CASHEWS, PEANUT AND/OR COTTONSEED OIL, SALT), DRIED SWEETENED PINEAPPLE (PINEAPPLE, SUGAR, CITRIC ACID, PRESERVED WITH SULFUR DIOXIDE), DRIED SWEETENED CRANBERRIES (CRANBERRIES, SUGAR, SUNFLOWER OIL), DRIED SWEETENED PAPAYA (PAPAYA, SUGAR, CITRIC ACID, PRESERVED WITH SULFUR DIOXIDE). CONTAINS: PEANUT, CASHEW, SULFITES.
Let’s divide into 3 categories: seeds/nuts, fruit, all other:
1. seeds/nuts – peanuts, cashews
2. fruit – raisin, banana, pineapple, cranberries, papaya
3. other – coconut oil, sugar, natural flavor, oil, salt, more sugar, citric acid, sulfur dioxide, more sugar, more oil, more sugar, more citric acid, more sulfur dioxide.
If you were to make this product at home by buying the main ingredients in bulk, you would be perusing just 6 ingredients.
A 1 ounce serving is 140 calories, and contains 9 grams of fat, mostly unsaturated. The 10 grams of sugar (2 and a half teaspoons) come both from the fruit and the added sugars. The 15mg of sodium (less than 1% of the daily maximum) seems suspiciously low, especially since the cashews are salted. But if this is the true value, then great. In many instances, salted nuts can take your sodium intake ballistic. The protein count is OK at 3 grams.
Back to the ingredients.
Dried fruit is in most cases treated with sulfur dioxide to maintain its color. If you’ve ever bought organic dried apricots, you’ll remember the difference, as they look brown and unappealing compared to the bright and shiny orange apricots that contain the sulfites.
The added sugar is a shame. Dried fruit are sweet enough on their own, except maybe for cranberries.
The oil has 2 purposes – improve the flavor, and keep the various parts of the mix from clumping.
Bottom line: While a homemade version of this trail mix would reduce the number of unnecessary ingredients, overall this is a good snack.
What to do at the supermarket:
Look for the bulk bins and learn to craft your own trail mix. It’s much cheaper, real easy to do, and lets you fine tune the flavors to your specific taste.