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August
22

Trail Mix

If you're itching for one last chance to get out there and enjoy the beautiful summer weather, National Trail Mix Day (August 31st) is the perfect excuse to do it. Store-bought trail mixes don't even scratch the surface of what this snack can be, and many are unhealthy to boot. Instead of picking up a bag from the store, why not make your own? 

Today, we'll talk about what makes a good trail mix, tell you how to make one of your own in just a few minutes, and discuss some of the many scenic hiking locations that surround our Augusta County homes for sale where you can put it to the test.

The Macronutrients of Trail Mix

Trail mix takes its name from its original purpose: to serve as fuel for hikers out on the trails. To do this, it must include:

  1. Proteins and fats to shore up your energy reserves and keep you feeling full
  2. Sugars and other carbohydrates for an immediate energy boost

Macronutrients

With both bases covered, you'll have a portable, easy-to-eat mix that can keep you going all day long, even on the most intensive hikes.

Sodium can also help replenish the salt your body loses as you sweat, but make sure you don't go overboard – too much salt may make you even thirstier than all the physical activity you're doing. You don't want to run out of water before your trip is over. 

Assembling a Trail Mix

The best trail mixes are made of four different components:

  • Nuts, such as peanuts, walnuts, cashews, almonds, pine nuts, and pistachios
  • Seeds, such as sunflower, pumpkin, flax, chia, or sesame seeds
  • Dried fruit, such as raisins, dried apricots, dried berries, or coconut flakes
  • Sweet treats, such as chocolate chips, M&M candies, yogurt drops, or mini cookies

Dried Fruit

Aim for around 1 ½ cups of nuts, 1 cup each of seeds and fruits, and ½ a cup of treats in each batch of trail mix you make. Either nuts or seeds can be subbed for carbohydrate options like cereal rings or pretzel sticks. Keep at least one of these categories intact, though, or you'll end up without enough fat to see you through. 

Each handful of your finished mix contains chewy, crunchy, sweet, and salty elements for maximum snacking enjoyment. You can even top your mix with salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, honey, or even things like hot sauce and cajun spice to give it a little extra kick. 

Choose components that will hold up well in the weather conditions you'll be experiencing. For example, M&Ms are a better choice than chocolate chunks if you'll be out in hot weather since their candy shell will keep the chocolate contained if it starts to melt. 

Making a Mix that Meets Your Needs

One of the best things about trail mix is that it can be customized to suit everyone's personal preferences and dietary restrictions. For example:

  • People with nut allergies can replace the nuts with more seeds or something like popcorn, crackers, or pretzels.
  • People with Celiac disease or gluten sensitivities can swap problematic ingredients like wheat-based cereals and cookie bits for more of the other components.
  • Vegans can use dairy-free milk chocolate or other vegan candies instead of M&Ms or chocolate chips. 
  • People with diabetes can dry their own fruit and choose dark chocolate or sugar-free peanut chips to reduce the amount of sugar that ends up in their mix.

There is no dietary requirement that a homemade trail mix can't satisfy. Our real estate agents love mixing some up for friends and family who can't usually eat the treats they make!

Where to Take Your Trail Mix 

When you have your trail mix assembled and ready to go, it's time to head out on your hike. But where should you go?

Augusta County is packed with gorgeous mountain trails, including the Blue Ridge Tunnel Trail, St. Mary's Wilderness, and even the famous Shenandoah Mountain trail. These long and winding paths offer incomparable scenery and a hearty challenge for avid hikers. You'll be happy to have your trail mix on hand as you ascend these steep and rocky slopes!

Hiking Trails

If you aren't sure if you're up for such a grueling hike right away, you can explore some of the park trails in the area instead. Paths like the Augusta Springs Wetlands Trail and the Natural Chimneys trails at Mt. Solon are still very beautiful, but they won't force you to push yourself quite as hard. Remember to reserve a few minutes to capture the flowing creeks, the local birds, or the Natural Chimneys' famous limestone towers on camera!

Settle Down in a Hiking Haven

Hikes in Augusta County are a treat any time of the year, with or without a bag of trail mix to keep you company. Contact us today for more details on how to make your home in this stunning area of northwestern Virginia. 

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