Trail mix is one of those snacks that we enjoyed as kids and continue to love as adults. Whether you’re hiking through the wilderness with your mix by your side or sneaking from the stash in your office desk, trail mix is the perfect snack. In one mix you can pack a variety of important nutrients and have something yummy and filling to eat.
Stores from Trader Joe’s to Whole Foods and even your local drugstore, carry various brands of trail mixes that are similar or even the exact same. If they’re the trail mixes from your childhood they likely have M&Ms as their main event or if it’s the trail mix you grew into maybe it’s chocolate chips. Sure, these are great and very yummy, but why buy someones else’s idea of what makes a good trail mix, make your own instead.
For your mix I suggest buying your ingredients in bulk – it helps you save money and you can control exactly how many peanuts are in there.
Here’s a list of 10 delicious and interesting trail mix ingredients that will make your homemade mix better than any store-bought bag.
Every trail mix needs its fair share of nuts. High in healthy fats and vitamins and packed with protein and fiber, nuts are not only a great staple for trail mix but for your diet overall. Sure, the classics are good like almonds and walnuts, but add in some more interesting kinds like pistachios and cashews, which add a nice salty factor if you buy them roasted and salted.
Hazelnuts are a great addition to trail mix because they add a rich nuttiness that nuts like almonds or walnuts don’t have and pair very well with chocolate.
Cashews, whether love them or you hate them, there isn’t another nut quite like them. Creamy and slightly salty, cashews are perfect for a balanced trail mix and a balanced diet.
Pistachios are special. Their earthy salty flavor is unlike any other nut and they will make your trail mix unique. Buy them shelled and you’ll end up eating slower.
Full of omega-3 and excellent for brain health, walnuts should deffinitely be included in your mix. Not only are they delicious, they are filling too and a handful as a snack will keep you full for hours.
You’ve got your nutty now you need your fruity. Dried fruit is the perfect way to get some sweetness into your mix, do it right and and you can avoid unnecessary sugar. Just like with the nuts. you don’t have to choose the usual fruits. Raisins and dried cranberries are delicious when paired with nuts but fruits like goji berries cherries are a great addition, they’ll add to the flavor of your mix and amp up the protein and antioxidants too.
5. Goji Berries
Goji berries are the wonder berry. Excellent for sleep, stress and your immune system, these little red berries are perfect when dried and thrown in your trail mix. They’re chewy and sweet and go with just about everything else you could pair them with. You can also buy them covered in chocolate if that’s your thing.
6. Dried Cherries
Dried cherries are a treat. They’re larger than raisins or dried cranberries and pack much more sweetness in every bite. You don’t need many to sweeten up your mix and you can even slice them to make them last in smaller portions.
7. Dried Cranberries
Ever since Craisins hit the food scene, dried cranberries have been the star of the dried fruits. Small and sweet, dried cranberries will go best with the saltier items in your trail mix.
This is the unofficial category of trail mix but oh-so-important. It’s great to stay healthy but a little treat is always more fun, and doesn’t have to ruin your diet. Throw in a few of these and you’ll be more motivated to eat your trail mix and thrilled when you pop one of these goodies in your mouth.
8. Banana Chips
Whether you buy them sweet or salty, banana chips are the perfect, slightly naughty, trail mix addition. If you’ve already covered your bases with dried fruit, I would suggest choosing the saltier variety to add another layer of flavor.
9. Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans
I’m sure you’ve been wondering where the chocolate was in this mix and here it is. Sure you could add chocolate chips or some other chocolate candy but really, what’s more fun than coffee covered in chocolate. Especially for those snacking on the job, a little caffeine wrapped in chocolatey goodness is the pick-me-up of the trail mix, both mentally and physically.
10. Nori Peanuts
Maybe you usually eat roasted peanuts in your trail mix, but try these nori-coated peanuts for a more interesting peanut experience. It’s like Christmas presents but with peanuts, you know what’s inside but you can’t wait to open them anyway.
No matter what ingredients you choose, the great part of a homemade trail mix is that you get to make it, so get creative and mix it up!