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Southern Grove Mountain Trail Mix (Aldi)

I don’t know if I’ve reviewed enough to make it obvious yet, but trail mixes are one of my go-to snacks. They’re actually pretty perfect for any situation: at work, I bring bags to just nibble on throughout my day, since we no longer get a lunch break (well, partially by personal preference, so I can get the hell out of there half an hour earlier); at home, it makes a great snack in between meals, or even a semi-viable meal replacement option in moments of laziness/depression. It’s almost a jack of all trades.

Lately, I’ve been sticking exclusively to the “savory” mixes, but on my most recent trip, all of the “good” flavors seemed to be out. That left me with either the Indulgent variety – which as you can tell from my previous review is fantastic, but not something I was in the mood for – or a more basic option. For reasons that I’m still trying to grasp, I went with the latter: Southern Grove’s Mountain Trail Mix, a combination of peanuts, raisins, cocoa gems, almonds, and cashews. In other words, the “original” trail mix.

How does one even approach a task like this? It seems so simple, and so basic, yet my mind is stuck, as if unable to even comprehend the very idea of doing what I’m setting out to do.

It’s…well, a basic trail mix, with that typical, boring flavor you associate with trail mixes. I can’t really hold that against it much, though, because I already knew that going in. All of the individual flavors are what you would expect, so you already know what you’re getting, and Aldi has packed in no surprises on that front. The “cocoa gems”, which are knockoffs of the colored candies with an “m” stamped on the front, seem to be even sweeter than the national brand; they also seem to be in depressingly short supply. The only other semi-sweet ingredient are the raisins, which I learned to hate way back in my childhood years. I don’t mind them as much when they’re blended with other ingredients – as they are here – but there’s just something about the overall package that I find nearly revolting.

The rest of the mix consists of salty, and familiar, treats that basically dull your tastebuds until they fall asleep.

So then what’s the point of eating something like this if it’s not a pleasurable experience? Well, the number one reason people eat undesirable foods to begin with: it’s healthy. There are 8g of total fat per serving, but only 1.5g of that are the “bad” saturated fats – an additional 2g are polyunsaturated, while the remaining 4g are monounsaturated. I have to admit that I didn’t know the difference between all of the different types of fats; I just assumed all were unhealthy since we’re bombarded with the idea that “fat” is a negative term. However, in doing some quick research, I discovered a revelation of epic proportions: both polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are actually good for you!

The sodium content is also lower than I was expecting, with 95mg (4%) of your daily sodium content (assuming a 2,000 calorie diet). Of course, that’s per ¼ cup serving, and with 26 servings per container, there’s a good chance most people are going to go over that, but still, as long as you can keep it in relative moderation, there’s not as much salt in there as I thought there would be.

Side rant: I’ve got to say the newer nutrition labels – which break the fat content down by type (saturated, trans, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated) – are somewhat misleading. I always looked at the “total fat” and assumed everything underneath was bad, but the mono- and poly- unsaturated fats are actually good. Which doesn’t make much sense, then, that all the total fat is lumped together as one number. Weird.

Overall: 7/10. It’s not one of my favorites, so why does it get such high marks? Well, pricewise, Southern Grove mixes are among the best deals in the biz. Also, it shouldn’t get knocked entirely because of personal bias: what it does, it does well, even if it’s not entirely to my liking. It’s a straightforward trail mix, which I find boring, but the price and health benefits certainly help to overcome a taste that’s blander than I’m used to. I probably won’t get this again until they’re out of all the others, but for fans of healthy things, this should satisfy you without breaking the bank.

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