October brings harvest and Halloween. The combines and trucks are out in force, harvesting this year's corn and soybeans. And the pumpkins are out too, as a popular decoration on doorsteps, porches and fall displays. So, what do soybeans and pumpkins have in common besides it being October? How about using them to create a healthy and fun harvest trail mix?
Soybeans and pumpkin seeds, in addition to other types of seeds and nuts, are tasty as well as nutritious. Enjoying a handful of nuts is a pleasure for most people. But the thought of the fat in nuts may keep some people from savoring that pleasure. It is true that nuts are high in fat, but more and more research is showing that most nuts contain "healthy" fats, like monounsaturated fat. This type of fat may actually help lower blood cholesterol.
Aside from the healthy fat found in nuts, another nutrient, magnesium, is also found in nuts. There have been a couple of recent studies that show the important role magnesium plays in our diets. Seeds and nuts are also good sources of protein and fiber.
A one ounce serving of nuts amounts to about 170 calories and 14 grams of fat. It's easy to go overboard if you like nuts and the calories can count up quickly. Other ways to add seeds or nuts to your diet is to put them on your salad, sprinkle them into your cereal in the morning or bake with them. Or you can make a tasty trail mix by combining your favorites with some dried fruit. Following is a recipe that uses some easy-to-find ingredients to create a healthy fall trail mix. You can adjust the recipe to include your favorite nuts, seeds or dried fruits. Enjoy!
Soy Crunch Trail Mix
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup roasted soybeans
1/2 cup roasted sunflower seeds
1/2 cup roasted pumpkin seeds
Mix together. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.
Makes: 8- 1/4 cup servings
Calories per serving: 110 calories
(Substitutions - you can substitute other dried fruits such as dried apricots, banana chips, or raisins and other nuts or seeds per your individual preferences.)
Cheryl Rude is a registered dietitian at Avera Marshall Regional Medical Center.
In addition to her column, you can also find nutrition tips and ideas on the blog she writes at www.averastorycenter.org.