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Saturday, July 20, 2024


Aug. 29, 2002 – School's back in session, or will be soon. While a nutritionally balanced lunch is available to most Virgin Islands students in the school cafeterias, snacks are another matter. Healthful treats sent from home need to be crush-resistant if they're to survive being carried about in school bags. A snack that's nutritious, delicious, non-crushable and non-perishable is trail mix -– and it's something you can make at home.
One of the most famous types of trail mix is called "gorp," which stands for "good old raisins and peanuts." The term "trail mix" itself takes its name from a hiker's snack that can be eaten quickly and easily, provides a source of fast energy, and can be carried safely for long periods of time. Today, both gorp and trail mix have evolved from simple mixtures of dried fruits and nuts to elaborate combinations that also include other novel ingredients.
A basic trail mix can be pretty much what you want it to be. Walk down the supermarket aisle and choose packages of dried fruits and nuts to your liking.
I looked for a tropical slant, so bite-size dried pineapple and mango slices went into our shopping basket. For color and contrasting flavor, we added dried cranberries. I opted for a can of mixed nuts, since my two children couldn't agree on one kind of nut to go in the mix. Beyond this, we decided to add some candy – specifically, chocolate. We chose semisweet chocolate baking chips.
Some people add oat, corn and other cereals; granola; or salty snacks such as pretzels or goldfish crackers. But if these dry foods sit very long with dried fruit, they get soggy. Also, they can easily be crushed into crumbs in a book bag.
So, our recipe below is simply fruit, nuts and chocolate. I ladled half-cup quantities into resealable sandwich-size bags and sent them off to school in the kids' book bags. What I received back at the end of the day was an empty plastic bag and a "More, please." I guess that gives the recipe below an A-plus!
Tropical Trail Mix
1 bag dried pineapple chunks
1 bag dried mango slices
1 bag dried cherries
1 12-oz. can mixed nuts
1 6-oz. bag semisweet chocolate chips
Combine all ingredients in a large bow and mix well. Apportion into resealable sandwich-size plastic bags. Store any remaining mix in a plastic container with a tight-fitting lid.
Makes 5 cups, good for 20 quarter-cup servings. Per 1/4 cup: 245 calories, 5 gms protein, 15 gms fat (54 percent fat calories), 9 mg sodium, no cholesterol.

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