This is one of the base recipes as seen in our Whole Life Meal Plan. As dietitians, we get a lot of questions about healthy snacks; this trail mix base recipe is our go-to recommendation for a satisfying snack. Trail mix is lightweight, temperature-stable, energy-providing, and well-balanced. It’s easy to pack for a day on the trails, at the office, on the run, or even at home! This recipe will teach you how to build a healthy trail mix that is versatile and customizable to your taste!
Three Must-Know Cooking Skills
Culinary Tips for Making this Easy Trail Mix Recipe
Trail mix doesn’t need a lot of ingredients and requires just one simple step, so it’s a great recipe to practice customizing to your taste!
Feel free to leave your measuring tools in the cabinet for this recipe! There is no need for precise measurements. Our ingredient quantities are just suggestions based on purchased bag weights.
Trail mix is a great recipe for kids to help make. They love stirring, mixing, and shaking the ingredients together!
- Nuts: use any nut or combination of nuts. For best flavor, buy lightly-salted roasted nuts or toast nuts yourself. Almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia, peanuts, pecans, pistachios, and walnuts are all good options.
- Dried Fruit: use any dried fruit. Look for unsulfured and sugar-free varieties. Some sour or bitter fruits such as cherries and cranberries have added sugar, and that’s okay. Avoid artificially-sweetened varieties. Apples, apricots, blueberries, cherries, cranberries, dates, figs, mangoes, prunes, and raisins are all good options.
- Seeds: use pumpkin (pepitas) or sunflower seeds. We don’t recommend using tiny seeds, such as chia, flax, hemp or poppy seeds.
Base Recipe Variations
Remember that this is a base recipe, so the goal is for you to customize it to your taste!
Want to make trail mix without nuts? Replace the nuts with the same volume of other add-ins, such as granola, seeds, pretzels, or popcorn.
Do you want to make a sweet, salty, or sweet and salty trail mix recipe? Adding extra ingredients can satisfy all of your snack cravings! Here are some of our favorite trail mix recipe additions:
- Spices: sweet (allspice, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, ginger, nutmeg) or savory (chili powder, chipotle powder, cumin, garlic powder, salt, turmeric) toasted with the nuts
- Chocolate Chips or Chunks: semisweet or dark
- Popcorn: air-popped or a low-sugar kettle variety
- Coconut Flakes: unsweetened, flaked (not shredded)
- Granola: homemade or a low-sugar variety
- Pretzels: break into bite-sized pieces if large
Use this recipe variation for inspiration, then have fun exploring other flavors, ingredients, and textures!
Is Trail Mix Healthy?
A lot of store-bought trail mixes aren’t super healthy, but building your own trail mix at home allows you to choose the ingredients you use, which certainly means that it can be a healthy snack! The featured ingredients in this healthy homemade trail mix recipe are nuts, seeds, and dried fruit.
Nuts & Seeds
Nuts and seeds of all varieties contain plant-based protein, fiber, and healthy fats. These nutrients help you feel satisfied until your next meal. Making this trail mix recipe with walnuts adds a boost of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids that promote brain and heart health. (1)
Dried fruit contains carbohydrates, vitamins, and antioxidants. For optimal nutrition, choose sugar-free varieties such as raisins, dates, or figs.
What can you do with trail mix?
Eat trail mix on its own, use it to top yogurt for a balanced breakfast, or sprinkle over homemade pancakes. Depending on the ingredients you use, trail mix could even be a tasty addition to a green salad or grain-based salad.
What is a serving of trail mix?
One serving of trail mix is about ¼ cup or 2 ounces. If you need help with portion control, divide the trail mix into small, reusable containers in 2-ounce portions.
Trail Mix Storage Suggestions
How long does homemade trail mix last? We recommend storing trail mix for about one month. Nuts might start to go rancid after that point.
Want more healthy snack ideas?
Check out our other favorite snack recipes:
Trail Mix Base Recipe
- 1 ½ pounds (~5 cups) roasted, lightly-salted nuts (walnuts, almonds, cashews)
- 1 pound (~3 cups) dried fruit (cherries, raisins, cranberries)
- ½ pound (~1 ½ cups) seeds (pumpkin, sunflower)
- Place all ingredients in a large bag or container and shake to mix. Enjoy!