How To Make Healthy Trail Mix

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Learn how to make healthy trail mix in 5 minutes or less! Choose from your favorite nuts, dried fruit, seeds, and delicious mix-ins to make the best sweet and salty snack. It’s the perfect blend of whole food ingredients to munch on during a hike, pack in lunchboxes, and enjoy as an afternoon snack that’s also vegan and gluten-free.

Making your own trail mix from scratch is almost as easy as grabbing a bag from the store (not to mention cheaper). If you can mix ingredients in a bowl, you already know how to make trail mix!

It’s super easy to customize with your favorite nuts, dried fruits, seeds, and healthy mix-ins -sweet or salty! No two combinations ever need to be the same!

The flexibility allows you to tailor this recipe to your needs. You can control your mix of sugar, fat, salt, and calories. You can make it entirely sugar-free with nuts, dried fruit, and seeds, or add a touch of indulgence with some chocolate.

The ingredient combinations are endless!

It’s the perfect healthy snack to make ahead and grab on the go (I love to bring it with me on road trips or camping adventures). It’s my quick alternative to these no-bake peanut butter balls, granola bars, or coconut date bars when I have literally no time to prep anything!

Top view of trail mix including cashews, chocolate chunks, pecans, walnuts, pistachio, etc

Ingredients

  • Nuts: Nuts will help to keep you fuller for longer and are rich in fiber, protein, and healthy fats. Almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pistachios, and walnuts are great options (feel free to use more than one kind of nut).
  • Dried fruit: Fiber-rich dried fruits also help make a healthy homemade trail mix recipe the perfect snack. Use dried fruit that is free of preservatives and sugar if possible. You can use dried apricots, bananas, cherries, coconut, cranberries, mango, pineapple, dates, and goji berries.
  • Seeds: Seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids. My favorites are sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, and flaxseed. You can toast the seeds in a hot, dry pan before adding them to your trail mix recipe for deeper flavor.
  • Additional mix-ins: I love adding quality dark chocolate chunks (this one is one of my favorites), popcorn, and warming spices like nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom, etc. You can also use dark chocolate chips, cacao nibs, peanut butter chips, gluten-free pretzels, or freeze-dried berries.
Ingredients for trail mix including cashews, chocolate chunks, pecans, walnuts, pistachio, etc

How to build a healthy trail mix

  1. Choose your own healthy ingredients: Select a variety of your favorite nutrient-dense crunchy/salty and chewy/fruity ingredients. A nourishing blend of nuts, dried fruit, and seeds are ideal.
  2. Measure out ingredients: With measuring cups, measure each ingredient. You don’t want too much of one ingredient empowering the other flavors and textures.
  3. Add To bowl: Add all ingredients to a large mixing bowl.
  4. Mix until combined: Mix the ingredients until they are dispersed evenly throughout the mixture.
  5. Store: Store in a mason jar, airtight container, or reusable Ziploc bags.
Close up of trail mix with popcorn, chocolate, nuts, and berries

3 Healthy Trail Mix Variations

Use the method above with one of the combinations listed here to make one of these delicious trail mix flavors. You can check the recipe card for specific measurements.

Glowy Trail Mix

Glowy trail mix including popcorn, dried cranberries, almonds, pumpkin seeds, and chocolate chunks.
  • Popcorn
  • Goji berries
  • Almonds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Dark chocolate chunks (or chips)

This glowy trail mix is perfect if you want to indulge without feeling guilty. It’s filled with whole grains from popcorn, immune-boosting goji berries, protein-rich almonds, pumpkin seeds rich in selenium, and dark chocolate chunks to boost your energy.

Why glowy trail mix? Goji berries are rich in beta-carotene, which is known to improve skin health and reduce the impact of aging and sun damage.

Nutty Trail Mix

Nutty Trail Mix including pistachio nuts, hazelnuts, cashews, dried cranberries, chocolate chunks, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  • Pistachio nuts
  • Hazelnuts
  • Cashews 
  • Dried cranberries
  • Dark chocolate chunks (or chips)
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg

If you are a nuts lover, you’ll love this. It contains pistachio nuts, hazelnuts, and cashew nuts. Dried cranberries are an excellent addition for their health benefits, including a high vitamin C and E content. Plus, they can help to boost your immune system together with chocolate, thanks to their antioxidant content. Cinnamon e nutmeg are optional, but they bring this tasty snack to another level!

Tropical Trail Mix

Tropical trail mix including pecans, walnuts, raisins, coconut flakes, dried mango, hemp seeds, and vanilla powder.
  • Pecans
  • Walnuts
  • Raisins
  • Coconut flakes
  • Dried mango
  • Hemp seeds
  • Vanilla powder

This tropical trail mix is filled with summery flavors. Sweet dried mango and coconut flakes are the base for this delicious snack. And adding a touch of vanilla will make your taste buds happy!

How to store trail mix

Homemade trail mix should be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for five weeks or longer. Keep in mind not all ingredients will hold for the same time at room temperature. For instance, popcorn will eventually become soggy during storage.

You can also freeze your healthy trail mix! Be sure to store it in an airtight container or freezer-safe bag and keep it in the freezer for 2 to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature before enjoying.

Airtight Seal: To keep your homemade trail mix as fresh as possible, ensure your container has an airtight seal. It will keep the ingredients from going stale and/or absorbing other flavors from the ingredients around them.

Tips

Customizing the ingredients: Evenly distribute all the flavors and textures when you mix your ingredients. If you like a specific ingredient (i.e., dried fruit), add more of that.

Nuts: You can use store-bought roasted nuts or raw nuts in your trail mix. Avoid nuts with added oil or salt if you want to keep your trail mix healthy. Another option is roasting raw nuts yourself. Simply roast them on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet in a 325F oven for 6 to 8 minutes.

Savory Trail Mix: Season your trail mix with savory ground spices like garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and mustard powder. Kick it up a notch with cayenne, cumin, and chipotle chili powder. You can also throw in freeze-dried green beans, kale chips, or dried seaweed.

Top view of bowl filled with nuts

Is trail mix healthy?

Absolutely! Making trail mix from scratch gives you the flexibility to make it as nutritious as possible. Many store-bought trail mixes contain preservatives and sneaky added sugar or salt. Homemade trail mix is made with natural, whole-food ingredients and allows you to customize it to your liking. If you make your own, trail mix is a great source of fiber, heart-healthy fats, and vitamins.

Why I love to make homemade trail mix

  • It’s a quick and easy gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan snack.
  • It’s healthier and less expensive than buying a bag at the store.
  • Easy to customize with various nuts, seeds, dried fruits, and mix-ins.
  • It takes 5 minutes to make and stores for weeks.

More healthy snacks you’ll love

And for more plant-based snack ideas, check out these healthy vegan snacks that are insanely good!

If you try this healthy trail mix recipe, please leave a comment and a rating and let me know how much you liked it!

Top view of bowls filled with a variety of healthy trail mix ideas
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Healthy Trail Mix

Learn how to make Healthy Trail Mix in 5 minutes or less! Choose from your favorite nuts, dried fruit, seeds, and delicious mix-ins to make the best sweet and salty snack. It's the perfect blend of whole food ingredients to munch on during a hike, pack in lunchboxes, and enjoy as an afternoon snack that's also vegan and gluten-free.
Prep Time5 minutes
Total Time5 minutes
Course: Snack
Servings: 4
Calories: 280kcal
Author: Sara Trezzi

Ingredients

Glowy Trail Mix

  • 1 cup popcorn
  • 1/4 cup goji berries
  • ½ cup almonds
  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
  • ¼ cup dark chocolate - cut in to chunks (or dark chocolate chips – but I prefer using good quality chocolate)

Nutty Trail Mix

  • ½ cup pistachio nuts
  • ½ cup hazelnuts
  • ½ cup cashews
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup dark chocolate - cut into chunks
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon - optional
  • A pinch of grated nutmeg  - optional

Tropical Trail Mix

Instructions

  • Mix: Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Store: Store in a mason jar, airtight container, or reusable Ziploc bags.

Notes

Note 1: If you like a specific ingredient (i.e., dried fruit) more than others, add more of that ingredient than other ingredients.
Note 2: For a savory trail mix, season your trail mix with savory ground spices or a touch of salt.
How to store: Store in an airtight container in a cool dry place for five weeks.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate per serving, but it will depend on what nuts, seeds, and dry fruit you use.

Nutrition

Calories: 280kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 13g | Sugar: 1g

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