Make Your Own Trail Mix
The sweet and crunchy combo of nuts and dried fruit makes a satisfying snack you can enjoy just about anywhere. But when you buy pre-made kinds, there’s usually something in there you don’t really like. The solution: Make your own signature blend in three simple steps.
On average, a 1/4-cup serving of trail mix has about 175 calories. While these are good quality calories, they can get out of control fast if you don’t mind the portions. Here's the trick: Use a quarter-cup measure as a scoop when serving yourself a handful and portion out into individual bags ahead of time for snacking on the go.
All you need to do is combine equal parts of nuts, dried fruit, and a little something for extra crunch. To finish, a sprinkle of a few “bonus” ingredients. Make a big batch and store in an air-tight container for up to 1 month.
Nuts are a good source of hunger fighting fiber and heart-healthy fats. Choose raw or dry-roasted and unsalted nuts to avoid too much extra fat and sodium. Walnuts will give you some omega-3 fats, while almonds are packed with vitamin E and iron. Other good choices are pecans, pistachios and macadamia nuts.
Dried fruit contributes natural sweetness as well as more fiber and vitamins to the mix. Dried apricots are high in iron and dried cranberries are packed with vitamin C. Other fun choices are dried blueberries, cherries, dates, mango, pear or pineapple.
Whole grain cereal, mini pretzels, toasted soybeans ("soy nuts") or air-popped popcorn will give you a dose of crunch to balance out the flavors and give your mix some extra texture. Crunchy foods also help relieve stress making trail mix a wise choice to fend off an afternoon slump.
Once you have your main ingredients, add in a few teaspoons of any of these flavor-packed extras.
- Toasted coconut
- Dark chocolate chips
- Sesame seeds
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Chili powder or Cajun seasoning (just a sprinkle)
- Raw almonds, dried apricots and mini-sized shredded wheat cereal
- Cashews, dried cranberries, puffed rice and toasted coconut
- Walnuts, golden raisins, mini pretzels and dark chocolate chips
- Almonds, dried blueberries, oat cereal (such as Cheerios)
Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. See Dana's full bio »