How to Make Trail Mix (Hiking not necessary)

How to Make Trail Mix (Hiking not required)

Trail mix is one of those things that I thought would have no place in my life. The words “trail mix” conjured up images of pleated khaki shorts, puffy socks, ugly hiking boots and lots and lots of dirt.

Don’t get me wrong, I love being in nature. But I’m not one to go hiking… um… ever, and I’ll never understand the appeal of sleeping outdoors. Walking uphill for a long time? Seriously, why?

I was never a fan of trail mix anyway, and I realized recently it was because I’m not a fan of peanuts or raisins. Those two things make up the majority of commercial trail mixes I see in stores. (Probably because peanuts and raisins are cheap!)

It wasn’t until we started having dried fruit and nuts around our house on a regular basis that I figured out how to make trial mix and grew to like the combination, once peanuts and raisins were out of the mix.

Trail mix has become one of my favorite snacks. It’s filling, full of healthy fats, lots of nutrients, and has a bit of sweetness. Making your own is so easy, too! Like any recipe, flavors and textures need to be balanced, so I’m going to share with you some secrets of making a great trail mix.

Dried fruit I had in my pantry: pineapple, cherries, coconut, mangoes, and golden raisins. (I find the golden ones more likeable than the dark ones.)

Secrets to making a great trail mix (according to Natalie)

1. Balance the flavors

Make sure you have something sweet, something salty, and something sour-ish. Dried fruit offers a perfect amount of sweetness, but watch the preservatives and sugar content in those. Sometimes it’s not really dried fruit, but candied fruit they’re selling. Dried cherries or cranberries are fairly tart… just the right amount for me.

Nuts are a perfect bite of savory or salty. Usually I buy raw, unsalted nuts, but I like to throw in one type that’s salted to add some extra saltiness to the mixture. If you have a nut allergy, go for seeds! Sunflower seeds, pepitas, and pinenuts are great.

And here we have sunflower seeds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, sliced almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts, pecans, Brazil nuts, and cashews.
Clearly, I need to clean out my pantry. I wasn’t aware I had that many nuts.

2. Balance the texture and ratio

An all-fruit or an all-nut trail mix wouldn’t be at all interesting. Make sure you’ve got a chewy element (dried fruit) as well as something crunchy (nuts!). I prefer my mixture to be half chewy, half crunchy. Also, if the fruit or nuts are large, chop them so everything is roughly the same size.

3. Add some chocolate.

No, seriously. Do it. Even if you just add a little, chocolate offers so much richness and makes the whole mixture better, no matter what you put in it. I like to throw in a giant handful little bit of semi-sweet mini chips.

I literally threw everything I had in those other photos into one bowl. And it still turned out great. My favorite mixture is equal amounts of dried mango, dried pineapple, dried coconut, salted macadamia nuts, raw cashews, raw almonds, and, of course, chocolate chips.

And there you go. The perfect 3PM sweet tooth snack. The perfect road trip snack. The perfect park day snack.

Oh ya. I suppose it would be good to take hiking, too. (Not that I would ever know…)