Trail mix is one of my favorite snacks. I prefer to make my own for both nutritional and monetary reasons. Many premixed trail mixes are high in added sugars and oils, or include products like milk chocolate that I no longer eat, or raisins that I will never eat (I loved dried fruit, except raisins…I have no idea why!). I also find that all too often premade mixes do not contain a ratio of sweet to savory that works for me, usually being either too sweet, too salty, or sometimes, too spicy. Finally, while the premixed trail mixes boast clever names and yummy flavor combinations, they have a price tag to match.
The key to DIY trail mix is finding what you like, buying sale items in bulk, and combining them on your own, which takes very little time. I am logging the trail mix that I made for this post under More Recipes because for the life of me, I couldn’t decide on a formula. This is mainly because what I put in my trail mix in a given week depends on what is on sale in bulk at my local grocer.
Nuts, seeds, chocolate, and dried fruits are expensive, so I never go into making a trail mix with set ingredients in mind; I build a trail mix based on what is on sale. I typically seek out mostly nuts and seeds, as they are a primary protein and fat source for me. Chocolate and dried fruits are less of a priority (I eat tons of raw fruit), but I grab them when the price is right.
Whenever possible, all of the nuts and seeds I purchase are raw, as to avoid excess fat and salt. Today’s mix includes all raw nuts with the exception of roasted, unsalted cashew pieces that were so incredibly marked down, I couldn’t pass them up!
Additionally, whenever possible, the dried fruits I purchase are free of added sugars, oils, and preservatives. Sulfur dioxide, which is often added to dried fruit to preserve color, is known to cause allergic reactions, so I never buy dried fruit with it listed in the ingredients. Today’s fruits include dried cranberries that have a touch of added sunflower oil to prevent sticking together and dried pineapple that has no added oil, but does have a little added sugar to balance the tartness.
Trail mix is quite often the only dessert-like item I consume in a day, week, or sometimes, even month, so I add dark chocolate when it’s on sale. With the decadent milk variety available everywhere, I was never a fan of dark chocolate growing up. Now that I’ve gotten used to the flavor, I eat it here and there for its antioxidants, and truthfully, don’t much care for ultra-rich, super sweet milk chocolate anymore.
I eat ¼-½ cup of homemade trail mix every day. It’s filling, delicious, and nutritious (mostly! 🙂 ), and satisfies my sweet tooth with less fat and sugar than a traditional dessert. Enjoy!
SWEET AND SAVORY TRAIL MIX
- ½ cup raw almonds
- ½ cup raw red walnuts
- ½ cup roasted, unsalted cashews
- ¼ cup dried pineapple
- ¼ cup dried cranberries (these were flavored with 100% blueberry juice)
- ¼ cup dark chocolate covered peanuts
- ¼ cup dark chocolate covered edamame
Combine all ingredients and store in your pantry in an airtight container for up to two weeks. If you anticipate going through your trail mix more slowly, store in the fridge as the oils in nuts can spoil.