When I am at work my snack of choice is homemade GORP also known as trail mix. The word GORP is thought to be an acronym for “good old raisins and peanuts” or “granola, oats, raisins, and peanuts” or “gobs of raw protein.” Besides containing carbohydrates and proteins, which provide a good boost of energy, there are a few other reasons why I take GORP to work. It can be eaten a pinch or a handful at a time which makes it easy to sneak in as a quick snack. Plus, there’s no mess to deal with or odor to be worried about.
There are primarily three categories of ingredients in GORP. Nuts, dried fruits, and extras. For convenience I include legumes and seeds in the nut category. Most nuts are nutritious, but studies done on walnuts show that they contain a higher amount of omega-3 fatty acids than other nuts. Almonds are high in monounsaturated fats, which are believed to reduce the risk of heart disease. If you buy raw nuts, toast them first in an oven to bring out their flavor.
Dried fruit is not a substitute for the one to three cups of fresh fruit recommended every day and most drying processes cause a significant loss of nutrition and a concentrated sugar content thereby increasing the calories. However, there are some benefits of eating dried fruits. They tend to have higher amounts of antioxidants and fiber. Some are also high in iron, potassium, and selenium, which are important nutrients in maintaining healthy blood and muscles. Eating dried fruit is better than eating other sugary snacks and because of its size it travels well.
Adding extras to your GORP can be both good and bad for you depending on what you select. Dark chocolate, for instance, is good for you. It is reported to lower blood pressure and cholesterol because it contains flavonoids, which act as antioxidants. A high fiber cereal would be a good choice, too. Forty-five mini marshmallows have 22 grams of carbohydrates and are ninety calories. Average trail mix has 140 calories and 9 grams of fat per ounce, so as you select ingredients to make GORP from the lists below – choose wisely!
Here are some commonly found ingredients in GORP:
Dried apricots, quartered
Dried papaya, cut into chunks
Dried mango, cut into pieces
Dried apple, cut into pieces
Crystallized ginger bits
Candied orange peel
Note: Although these items are shelved in health food sections of stores, be aware that banana chips are normally fried in coconut oil, which is a saturated fat and coconut shavings contain saturated fat.
Bittersweet chocolate chips
Peanut butter chips
Chocolate covered soy nuts
Yogurt covered raisins
M & M’s
Oriental rice crackers
How To Make Gorp
It’s a great clean-out-your pantry type of snack. I always have a variety of dried fruit, nuts, and chocolate on hand. Select your ingredients and put them into a large bowl or large Ziploc. Stir or shake gently to distribute ingredients evenly. Store in an airtight container. There’s no end to what can be added to GORP. Why not clean out your pantry, let your imagination go and make some GORP today!