That being said, even the best combinations can be made better by updating, varying and customizing them to your personal tastes. So, if you're looking to create your own ideal trail mix recipe, you've come to the right place. We're breaking down this classic snack so you can choose the best ingredients for your next trip into the great wide open.
Step 1: Choose a Base1 of 6
The base of any great trail mix recipe is nuts. Not only can they hold their own against many other flavors, but they pack a serious protein punch to fuel your outdoor adventures. Consider the following high-nutrient options:
• Almonds: These dietary superstars boast the perfect combination of 14g of healthy fats and 6g of protein per serving.
• Brazil Nuts: An often-overlooked variety, Brazil nuts are a nutritional powerhouse with selenium, vitamin E and magnesium.
• Pistachios: Not only do pistachios have no cholesterol, they boast high fiber and vitamin B6 content.
• Cashews: These buttery crescents are rich in vitamin E, as well as essential minerals.
Step 2: Sweeten the Deal2 of 6
No trail mix recipe is complete without a hint of sweetness. While most commercial brands include processed candies, the following healthier options are just as tasty:
• Raisins: These classic little gems add soft texture, a touch of iron and just the right amount of sweetness. Choose traditional or golden.
• Dried Fruit: But, don't stop at just raisins. Look for additional varieties of dried fruit with "unsweetened" on the label, such as papayas, apricots or even goji berries.
• Coconut Flakes: Raw, shredded coconut is our pick here, in order to avoid sugar overload.
• Chocolate-Covered Nuts & Fruits: We'll never argue with a little decadence in the form of a chocolate-covered nut or raisin.
• Chocolate Chips: Choose dark or semisweet chips for an antioxidant boost you just can't get from milk chocolate.
• Cacao Nibs: Or, try nature's own version of chocolate chips in the form of these bittersweet nibs made from cocoa beans.
Step 3: Add a Salty Touch3 of 6
What's a little sweet without a little salty, too? When hiking a long distance, you need to replenish the sodium levels in your bloodstream. These mix-ins are a perfect to way to do it:
• Pretzels: Mini pretzels add the perfect salty bite, without overpowering the other ingredients.
• Seeds: Salted pumpkin and sunflower seeds add an extra layer of texture and additional protein, too.
• Sesame Sticks: Often found in the bulk aisle, these airy little bites are a fun alternative to pretzels.
Step 4: Bring on the Crunch4 of 6
Round out your trail mix with fun punch of crunch. Here's where you can really get creative and impress your fellow hikers with your mad recipe-making skills:
• Air-Popped Popcorn: Add bulk and up the fun with popcorn. Pop it yourself, or choose a low-fat pre-packaged option.
Freeze Dried Fruits: Don't forget these crunchy counterparts to the chewy options mentioned earlier. Strawberries and raspberries also add a festive splash of color.
• Granola: Full of flavor and fiber, this addition will help fuel your body through a long hike. Again, make your own or choose a high-quality grocery store brand.
• Cereal: Any whole grain cereal will do, from flakes to O's to puffs. Mini shredded wheat is also a crowd-pleaser.
Step 5: Winning Combinations5 of 6
Still not sure where to start? Take some inspiration from these sure-fire hits:
• The Classic: Almonds, chocolate chips, raisins and whole grain O's cereal.
• Tropical Twist: Cashews, dried mangos, dried bananas, coconut flakes and cacao nibs.
• The Sweet Tooth: Pistachios, chocolate-covered raisins, freeze dried strawberries and granola.
• Light Idea: Almonds, golden raisins, air-popped popcorn and whole grain flakes.