Whether you’re on a 3-day, hike-in camping trip, or simply going on a long car ride, trail mix is the perfect snack. It’s easy and relatively inexpensive to make, you can customize it according to your needs and preferences, and it’s super-portable.
And it can be an eco-friendly snack option, especially when you follow these tips:
- Shop the bulk foods aisle for the ingredients, and buy enough at once for several batches to minimize packaging waste.
- Rather than using disposable plastic bags, transport servings of trail mix in reusable containers. BPA-free plastic or stainless steel snack containers, reusable zipper food bags, or washed food tubs such as those that contained cream cheese or yogurt are all good vessels to hold a serving or two of trail mix.
- Repurpose a large jar, such as one that contained pickles or tomato sauce, to store your big batches of trail mix.
- If you want a kid-friendly treat: Set out dishes of ingredients and give your kids a container so they can assemble their own. Balance healthy, familiar ingredients (peanuts, raisins, roasted pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries) with a few special treats like mini marshmallows, yogurt-covered raisins, or chocolate-covered sunflower seeds.
- If you need a portable breakfast: No time for breakfast? Make some containers of a trail mix in advance, and you can grab one as you run out the door. Combine a high-fiber cereal such as oat or multigrain O’s or flakes, almonds or walnuts, banana chips, dried blueberries, and toasted oats. You could even pour in some milk to eat it like cereal.
- If you’re looking for a savory snack: If you don’t have a sweet tooth, you can still enjoy trail mix. Choose roasted peas or soy nuts, smoked almonds, roasted pumpkin seeds, and diced beef jerky.
- If you need an energy boost: Before or after a workout, fuel your body with energy-giving ingredients like almonds or walnuts, dried goji berries, dried blueberries, and a few chocolate-covered espresso beans to rev up your metabolism.
- If you crave an indulgent treat: Get fancy with your trail mix by combining your favorite high-end nuts like macadamias, cashews, or pistachio with dried cherries, crystallized ginger, and dark-chocolate chips.
- If you’re headed on a long hike: Include ingredients that are high-calorie to sustain you for hours. Choosing nuts or seeds that are salted is beneficial, so the salt can replace the natural salt in your body as you perspire. Some options include: whole pecans or walnuts; cashews; dried fruit like diced apples, raisins, or pineapple; and candy-coated chocolates like M&Ms (they won’t melt like chocolate chips would).
- If you can’t eat nuts: The old standard trail mix of backpackers everywhere, GORP, stands for Good Old Raisins and Peanuts. But if nuts are off-limits to you, you don’t have to miss out on the crunchy-chewy, sweet and salty goodness. Seeds have just as many beneficial nutrients and deliver the same crunch. Try hemp, sunflower, or roasted pumpkin seeds, as well as other crunchy non-seed options like soy nuts, roasted peas or chickpeas, popcorn, or small pretzel pieces. Raisins, diced apricots, or other dried fruit will add some contrasting chewy sweetness.