At the farmers market last week, I met David Romero, who sells nuts and other snacks. He tried to tempt me into buying more than I needed — “buy four and get the fifth bag free,” he said — but I came home with only three four-ounce bags of his wares. I planned to use them in a snack mix.
I knew even as I selected the three bags what they were destined for. Smoked almonds, chile-lime pepitas and dry-roasted pistachio meats make a great snack mix when combined. I ended up with just over 12 ounces of the mix.
You can see the results in the photo. That’s a four-ounce glass custard cup and it’s about one-third full. By weight, it was about an ounce and a half.
Nuts and seeds are great for a snack mix because they’re extremely nutritious. The pepitas offer potassium and zinc; the pistachios are among the best sources of vitamin B-6; and the smoked almonds are high in magnesium and vitamin E. All three also pack plenty of antioxidants, the compounds that slow or stop damage to the body’s cells.
But portion control is important, because they’re also high in calories. An ounce of this mix contains 154 calories, 13 grams of healthy fats, 7 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber. Because it’s easy to overeat nuts and seeds, I measure out a portion before digging in.
A lot of commercial snack mixes include dried fruit and/or chocolate. Since I avoid sugar, I don’t want either in my homemade snack mix. Certainly you can add some if you wish.
This is the basic formula — recipe, if you will — for a nut-and-seed snack mix. Keep track of the weights of each ingredient so you can calculate how many servings there are in your finished mix. Twelve ounces equals 12 servings, and so on.
Combine equal weights (or, less effectively, dry measures) of any of the following. I find three items is the bare minimum for a good snack mix. Use more if you like.
- Nuts: I’m listing these in order of their nutritional strengths. Almonds, walnut pieces, pistachios, pecans, cashews, peanuts
- Seeds: Hulled pumpkin seeds (often labeled pepitas), hulled sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, hemp hearts, pine nuts (which aren’t actually nuts), watermelon seeds
I like flavored mixes, and chile-lime is a favorite flavor profile for me. I might just as frequently use cumin and black pepper, however, or a North African flavor profile of cinnamon, cayenne and garlic. If your ingredients aren’t already seasoned, stir in your favorite seasonings with a bit of olive oil.
Part of eating well is choosing nutritious foods in their most natural forms. Skip the potato and tortilla chips and snack instead on something that will do your body good.