Good Mood Trail Mix – 4 Ways

Healthy snacks that make you feel “Oh so good!”

May is Mental Health Awareness month. Your mood is part of your mental well-being and what you eat can have a significant impact on how you think and feel. 

Most of us know about foods that can affect our mood in a not-so-good way like sugar, ultra-processed foods, fast foods and other low vitamin and mineral rich foods. 

Nonetheless, there are still foods that can cheer us up!  To name a few….

Good Mood Food:

  1. Brazil Nuts – Oxidative stress (or an overabundance of free radicals in the brain) can lead to depression. Brazil nuts are rich in selenium, a powerful anti-oxidant that inhibits oxidative stress and therefore lowers your risk of developing depression and improves your mood.
  1. Walnuts – Walnuts are rich in mood boosting Omega 3’s. These essential fats are highly concentrated in our brain. Emerging research is showing they can be an effective therapy for mood disorders. 
  1. Strawberries – Strawberries are rich in phytonutrients which help protect our brains from oxidative stress and therefore put you in a good mood. Even being near a strawberry plant has been shown to improve moods significantly. 
  1. Pineapple – Pineapple is rich in tryptophan, an essential amino acid. Tryptophan is transferred to your brain (especially in the presence of carbohydrates) to make serotonin. Increased levels of serotonin in your brain can elevate your mood. 
  1. Popcorn – Popcorn is rich in complex carbohydrates. Carbohydrates stimulate your brain’s production of the “feel-good” neurotransmitter serotonin. 
  1. Cashews – Cashews are rich in magnesium. This important mineral assists with brain pathways that when functioning correctly can improve mood disorders. Not only that it works to keep us calm which is why it has earned the name “the original chill pill.”
  1. Chocolate – Chocolate is the #1 food that can boost your mood! It not only improves your mood but makes you feel calmer and more content.  It also contains chemicals that simulate the feeling of being “in love” so why wouldn’t that put us in a good mood!

FUN FACT: Nutrition psychology is an emerging field of study that examines the effect of food on our emotional well-being. 

NO BAKE RECIPES

Recipe 1: Tropical Strawberry Mix

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup of walnuts
  • ½ cup dried strawberries – if possible no sugar added
  • ½ cup organic pineapple pieces – no sugar added
  • 1/8th – ¼ cup organic coconut flakes 
  • 1 cup raw almonds

Directions: 

  1. Measure out all ingredients into a bowl. 
  2. Mix together and serve. 

Recipe 2: Goji Pop Trail Mix

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup of cashews
  • ¼ – ½ cup goji berries – no sugar added
  • ¼ – ½ cup goldenberries – no sugar added
  • 1 cup popcorn – I used skinny pop

Directions: 

  1. Measure out all ingredients into a bowl. 
  2. Mix together and serve.

OVEN BAKED RECIPES

Recipe 3: Chickpea Snack Mix

Ingredients: 

  • 1-15 ounce can chickpeas – drained and rinsed
  • ½ tablespoon unrefined coconut oil
  • ½ tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • Sprinkle to taste – cinnamon, sea salt and smoked paprika
  • ¼ cup raw almonds
  • ¼ cup spicy roasted pumpkin seeds – I used Eden brand
  • 1/3rd cup unsweetened dried cherries
  • ¼ cup 100% cacao dark chocolate chips – I used the Pascha, no sugar added brand

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Line a baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.
  3. Place drained chickpeas on a double layer of paper towels and cover with another paper towel to soak up all the moisture in them. 
  4. Spread the chickpeas in a single layer on the baking sheet. Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes.
  5. Remove the chickpeas from the oven and drop into a medium size bowl. Cover with the coconut oil and maple syrup. 
  6. Then sprinkle with the cinnamon, salt and paprika until you have the desired flavor you want. Mix together. 
  7. Place chickpeas back onto the baking pan, spread out and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
  8. Remove from the oven and add the almonds to the baking sheet.  Mix in with the chickpeas.  Bake another 10 minutes.
  9. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
  10. Return to the bowl and add the spicy pumpkin seeds, cherries and chocolate chips. Mix together.
  11. Serve immediately!

Adapted from: https://www.wellplated.com/roasted-chickpea-snack-mix/

Recipe 4: Nutty Good Mood Mix

Ingredients: 

  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • Sprinkle of black pepper, granulated garlic, cayenne pepper and sea salt.
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin, cold-pressed olive oil
  • ½ cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup Brazil nuts

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Line a baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.
  3. Place pumpkin seeds and Brazil nuts into a medium bowl. Then sprinkle on the turmeric, black pepper, granulated garlic and cayenne pepper until you have the desired flavor you want.   
  4. Add the olive oil and mix together.
  5. Spread the mixture onto the baking sheet. 
  6. Place in the oven and bake for 10-20 minutes. You should smell the aroma of the nuts.
  7. Cool and serve.

Adapted from: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/mood-boosting-nut-and-seed-mix

Any leftovers can be placed in mason jars, sealed and stored for up to 2 weeks.