Before you head out on a hike, run, camp or backcountry adventure of any kind, it is important to make sure you bring along the right food to keep you fueled without taking up too much space in your pack. One of the easiest go-to’s for a quick snack that is easy to pack is trail mix. Not only does it come stocked with nutritious ingredients, but it is also very compact and tasty too!
Instead of just picking up a bag of pre-made trail mix, spice up your next trip with a little mix and match of your own! This way you can not only ensure what you are eating is healthy, with no added ingredients, but you can also make sure it is exactly the thing you will want to munch on.
Mix your favourite, or two, from each of the following categories to pack up your own ultimate trail treat!
Though they are small in size, a handful of nuts can pack a TON of nutritional value, including healthy unsaturated fats, protein, fiber, antioxidants, Vitamin E and other essential vitamins and minerals. Whatever nut you go crazy about, we suggest choosing unsalted and unsweetened nuts to avoid any unnecessary sodium or sugar intake.
Suggestions: almonds, pistachios, cashews, peanuts, walnuts, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, pecans, pine nuts
Anyone allergic to nuts knows it is very difficult, if not impossible to find a store bought trail mix that comes without nuts or any warnings that it may contain traces of nuts. This is where making your own can come in handy! With almost the same nutritional benefits as nuts, seeds can be a great alternative to anyone allergic to nuts, or just wanting to try something new. We suggest going light on the seeds however, because even though they are small they can be dense in caloric value and fats.
Suggestions: hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, flax seeds
While the name itself seems harmless and healthy, choosing the wrong dried fruit for your trail mix can be just as bad as adding candy to the mix. However, with the right choice, dried fruit can add fiber, antioxidants, calcium and vitamins to your trail mix. We suggest choosing dried fruits with as little, or no, sugar preservatives as possible, or even make your own at home in the oven!
Suggestions: Raisins, dried apricots, dried pineapple, dried cranberries, dried blueberries, dates, banana chips, dried figs, dried cherries, dried strawberries, dried apples, dried mango
Though not necessary, it might be nice to sweeten up your backcountry trail mix. If you pick the right sweets, you can still enjoy your snack guilt free and kids will certainly like the tasty treat.
Suggestions: marshmallows, M&M’s, chocolate candies, peanut butter chips, dark or milk chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, dark chocolate chunks, yogurt chips, coconut chips
If you’re feeling a little sour about having to bid the salted nuts goodbye, adding a salty alternative is just what you need. In moderation, adding a bit of a savoury taste to the mix can help add flavour, healthy grains or even just a bit of crunch.
Suggestions: Pretzels, popcorn, granola, cheerios or other whole grain cereal, fishie crackers or other bite sized crackers
10 Taste tested winning mixes: (from greatest.com)
> Almonds, pumpkin seeds, chocolate chips, raisins, pretzels
> Walnuts, peanuts, banana chips, peanut butter chips
> Peanuts, dried cranberries, M&M’s, popcorn
> Macadamia nuts, white chocolate chips, dried pineapple, coconut flakes
> Hazelnuts, flax seeds, dried cherries, dark chocolate chunks, granola
> Cashews, brazil nuts, dried mango, dried pineapple, coconut flakes, banana chips
> Pecans, almonds, pumpkin seeds, dried apples, granola
> Almonds, cashews, flax seeds, banana chips, yogurt chips, cheerios
> Peanuts, raisins, marshmallows, chocolate chips, whole grain cereal
> Walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, dried blueberries, dates