The good, the bad, and the perfect blend
Trail mix can play a leading role in your pantry and your healthy lifestyle—you can create customized versions for everyone's preferences and dietary needs. No cooking required, stores well, enhances or even replaces some meals in hot weather—what's not to love?!
Nowadays, people are more aware than ever before of allergies and sensitivities to nuts, but these are easily adapted into your personal special blend of ingredients.
Of course, what trail mix is famous for is its handy practicality for snacks, but keep it in mind as an easy topping for any salad or dairy or dairy-free yogurt (if you're feeling fancy and have a minute create a parfait using local, seasonal fruit or frozen berries. You can also mix it with overnight oats for ready meals for the week.
One thing to be very careful about is portions. Trail mix tastes so good that it’s easy to eat a lot of it and too often. So, let’s break this down. It's both a matter of quality and quantity of ingredients. To the extent you can, prioritize buying organic, raw,* and better yet local nuts, seeds or dried fruit for maximum nutritional density and benefits to the planet... In terms of quantity, consider trail mix a special, concentrated treat. With awareness and practice, even small servings can be perfectly satisfying.
On storage, see how many glass jars you have around and use those to store trail mix ingredients and the mixes themselves in a cool, dry, dark place.
Making, storing, and eating trail mix brings together all the healthy lifestyle themes of Edible San Diego.
Trail mix can offer a nice balance of healthy fats, fiber, and antioxidants. Not all mixes are created equal as many are loaded with unnecessary sugar and fat. Creating your own trail mix allows you to control the ingredients going in and a well-stocked pantry can supply most of the ingredients needed to create a healthy mix. Here’s a few basics to get started with.
Nuts are the nutritional powerhouse of a good trail mix. Stick to raw, unsalted nuts if possible. Leave the savory elements to the fun add-ons that give trail mixes a savory twist. Almonds, walnuts, pistachios, cashews, pecans, and hazelnuts are great options.
Dried fruit has a great shelf life and is loaded with antioxidants and nutrients. Be sure to eat in moderation though as it is still high in calories and sugar. Think dried cranberries, cherries, blueberries, goji berries, and apricots for your trail mix. Look for unsweetened and Unsulfured varieties.
Pumpkin and sunflower seeds are ideal for trail mix mainly because of their size, compared to smaller seeds like chia. They pack a powerful punch in terms of nutrition as well. Both are a great source of protein plus monounsaturated and Omega-6 fats.
DID YOU KNOW?
Pepitas are pumpkin seeds that come from oilseed pumpkins and do not require shelling.
Don’t be afraid to have a little fun with your mix. Add these ingredients in smaller amounts than you would nuts and seeds.
Pretzels (peanut butter-stuffed are amazing)
Spices, such as cinnamon and curry
What To Avoid
Be wary of adding artificially flavored foods and sugary candies.
Sugar-coated chocolate and nuts
Heavily salted items like Chex mix
TIP: Yogurt-covered ingredients may sound healthy but the coatings often contain hydrogenated oils and added sugars. It is best to stick to regular yogurt for health benefits.
3 Blends To Try
Unsweetened banana chips
Who can resist sunburst-colored skin and flavors reminiscent of pear, stone fruit, cinnamon, and toasted coconut sugar?