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Food & Dining // Heart-y Chef
Diana Helfand

A Healthier Trail Mix For A Healthier Life

After healing herself of cancer more than 10 years ago with a variety of natural cures, including kinesiology, massage, nutrition and hypnotherapy, Lori Chaffin today is the picture of natural health.

These days, she’s working with the new Hawaii Wellness Network TV show on USTREAM.

This column is dedicated to Lori for her commitment to helping people stay healthy.

Nuts and fruits are part of a healthy diet, and in moderation are a great snack food.

This is a pleasing combination of palate-pleasing sweet fruit and salty nuts. It’s easy to make, and it costs a lot less than pre-made trail mixes. You can vary the fruit to your taste and use any nut mixture you like, including peanuts.

Almonds are an ancient food and have been written about in the Bible. They are thought to have originated in western Asia and North Africa.

It is thought that the Greeks were the first civilization to have cultivated them.

Dry-roasted almonds have a nice flavor and texture, and are not cooked in oil. When purchasing dry-roasted almonds, it is important to read the label to be sure that no additional ingredients such as sugar, corn syrup or preservatives have been added.

Almonds are a very good source of vitamin E and manganese, and are also a good source of magnesium, copper, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and phosphorus. Fortunately, although 1/4 cup of almonds contains about 18 grams of fat, most of it (11 grams) is heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, and almonds have been linked to increased heart health and lower cholesterol levels.

HEALTHIER SNACK MIX

* 1 cup dry-roasted macadamia nuts
* 1 cup dry-roasted almonds
* 1 cup shelled dry-roasted pistachio nuts
* 1 cup dried cranberries
* 1/2 cup sultanas or golden raisins
* 1/2 cup diced driedapricots
* 1/2 cup chopped dates

In a large bowl, toss together all ingredients until well-mixed. Serve in a festive serving dish.

Note: Store in plastic bag in refrigerator for up to a week to keep the mix fresh.

Great for potlucks or to keep on hand when friends drop in or when the keiki want a treat. Only you will know it’s good for them!

Diana Helfand, author of “Hawaii Light and Healthy” and “The Best of Heart-y Cooking,” has taught nutrition in the Kapiolani Community College culinary arts program. Email heartychef@hotmail.com.

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