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Tuesday, May 28
The Indiana Daily Student

opinion

OPINION: Trail mix changed my life

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Before understanding the importance of nutrition and what it means to truly “fuel your body,” I  not only had a terrible diet but poor eating habits. I’ve always been a consistent snacker but never put an emphasis on eating proper meals. I often ruined my appetite as a child and young adult due to my mediocre food and time management; for example, I would frequently eat a large bag of chips twenty minutes before my father prepared a meal for the table.  

I ended up in a situation where I was eating often, but rarely had full meals and ate long into the night, usually right before I fell asleep — a habit I’m still working on abolishing. None of these snacks were particularly healthy either. I found myself starting the day and feeling exhausted before I got out of bed. I realize now that it was because I wasn’t properly giving my body the nutrients it needed. 

It wasn’t until recently that I discovered trail mix and how impactful it can be. Yes, trail mix. I grabbed a large bag of it while at the grocery store one day as a sort of failsafe food — something to eat when necessary. In retrospect, this was one of the most mature decisions I’ve ever made. I ate it at random times throughout the day whenever I was feeling peckish. I began to feel a change in my energy levels just from this new eating habit alone. I felt less sluggish and drank less caffeine. I cut out my habit of eating unhealthy snacks and replaced them all with this overarching snack, trail mix.  It makes sense to me now why Germany and other parts of Europe call this food “Studentenfutter,” which translates into “student feed.” It’s the human equivalent of a bag of grains and vegetables for livestock.  

Trail mix has immense health benefits. The snack is designed around its balance of protein, carbs and fats, so it allows you to scale the food pyramid. It most commonly uses only plant-based protein, so you’re enjoying the energy that’s coming directly from plants into your body. I felt, for the first time in my life, fueled, and this was a feeling that made me expand upon my eating habits even more and start more lifestyle changes, such as frequent exercise. 

The most important benefit I received from trail mix was its ability to provide you with a rudimentary eating plan. You buy a large quantity of it in whatever mix you prefer, as the selections can range from omega-3 mixes to sweet and savory ones, and you can eat it at times you normally find yourself snacking. This basic principle opens the door to eating other healthy foods, feeling more energized and having a better diet. You can only experience the benefits once you try it for yourself.  

This 20th-century snack truly did change my life in ways I am so grateful for. Sometimes the decisions that need to be made to enhance your way of living are as simple as trail mix. Next time you’re at the grocery store and you find yourself pondering over multiple snack isles, grab a bag of trail mix and see just how it can change your life, too. 

Vincent Winkler (he/him) is a freshman studying sociology.  

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