A Healthy Trail Mix Recipe

Here's a very easy healthy trail mix recipe. This is easy for kids to make and it's a good alternative to the usual commercial snack foods and sweets.

You can use it for energy on the go for kids or adults and you can use it as healthy party snacks (maybe for keeping the real food content of your child's party high!)

You can make great healthy kids snacks for days out, or you can package it up nicely in a jar or presentation box and use it as an unusual gift.

You can also make a gourmet trail mix, or just a simple organic mix for everyday use. The choice is yours!

Quality ingredients from (almost) local producers

Trail mix really is the easiest of healthy snacks. The key element in an healthy trail mix recipe is to use nuts and dried fruits which don't have any artificial additives or added sugar. If you do use sugared dried fruit, use it in moderation only.

It's as well to remember that even healthy foods such as organic trail mix can be indigestible in the wrong proportions, or if mixed with other foods. See A healthy living diet for more on organic foods and why we should favour them. 
See Healthier diet advice for fitness and energy for more about healthy food choices and healthy food mixtures.

If the fruit and nuts you use are also organic in origin, so much the better. These days it is quite easy to source quality organic dried nuts and fruits from around the world.

You may think, if you are a fan of green living (and if you've found this site, you almost certainly are!) that buying produce from around the world is not so green. It's certainly true that shipping is now a major cause of CO2 emissions and environmentalists are trying to find ways to reduce that.

You can almost certainly create a healthy trail mix recipe using only produce from your own area (unless you live in Greenland, maybe!) To do this might be a great activity for kids, teaching them about origins, food miles and local diversity. And it could be fun for anyone - I haven't tried it yet but I'm sure it's possible to do here in Britain.

However, I believe there's no need for us to be too punctilious about it. You can try to use fruit and nuts from as nearby as possible, of course. For the most part, your healthy trail mix recipe will work just as well as otherwise.

The dried nuts and fruits that go to make up the bulk of a good trail mix are generally shipped by sea as they store quite well. Only a minority of such produce is flown about the world. Ways to make shipping greener will be making their appearance soon, lets hope.

A healthy trail mix recipe:
Here's a list of suitable nuts, fruits and seeds

These can all be included in a good healthy trail mix recipe.

Dried Fruits


Most of the above can be bought without any added sugar or preservatives. Some (apricots, peaches) can be found as unsulphured dried fruit.

Nuts and Seeds

Peanuts (groundnuts)
Hazels or cob nuts
Pumpkin seeds
Sunflower seeds
Sesame seeds

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A gourmet mix?

healthy trail mix

You don't have to have everything, of course. A more distinctive taste can be achieved by limiting the nuts and fruits to a few main types so that some flavours predominate.

A gourmet mix can be made with a selection of the more expensive fruits and nuts, such as macadamia nuts. You can also use a few sugared nuts or dried fruits to make your trail mix recipe more special. For healthy party snacks, concentrate on using quality fruit and nuts with perhaps just a sprinkle of something colourful to attract the eye.

This is a really easy way to make healthy kids snacks for adding to packed lunches or for trips to the park, or the zoo. You'll be less likely to be pestered for all those not-so-healthy kids snacks while you are out, so you'll return from your trip feeling wealthier than otherwise!

If you are buying the ingredients especially for your trail mix recipe then buy whole nuts as they are less likely to be at all rancid. If you can shell them yourself, even better. The most important thing is to get good quality, fresh tasting produce. Nuts and seeds can quite easily become rancid if they are old or poorly stored. See the nutritional benefits of nuts for more details on this.

Picture above: A healthy trail mix recipe in the making with some ingredients, including cashews, blueberries, peanuts, pecans and brazils.

Almonds and hazels are better without their protective brown skins. Almonds can be blanched in very hot water for a few minutes. Plunge them in cold water and the skins shrivel and become loose, and then peel them by hand. Otherwise, buy them ready to use but make sure they are fresh - you can see rancid spots developing as they become almost translucent rather than opaque. This procedure does not work for hazel nuts.

Hazel nuts can be lightly toasted under a moderate grill for a few minutes - turn them often to prevent burning. Let them cool and then rub the outer skin away between your palms. It's best to add these toasted ingredients to trail mix which you are going to use very soon; toasted ingredients easily lose their pizazz.

You can also toast some of the nuts and seeds to bring out the flavours, especially if you are going to use the trail mix soon. I find it is easier to lightly toast nuts in the oven on a medium setting. There is less danger of burning them and wasting good nuts! Seven or eight minutes on gas mark 4 or 170°C is about right.

The bigger nuts and fruits need to be chopped to manageable sizes. Take a large sharp knife and hold the tip down with one hand. Roll the knife blade back and forth over the nuts without letting the tip up from the chopping board. This stops the nuts pinging about all over your kitchen!

Keep changing the angle of cut until you have a desirable size for most chunks. This works OK for fruit, too, though you may prefer just to slice it with a small sharp knife.

If this all sounds a bit like hard work, you can buy Planters trail mix direct from Amazon in multi-packs which should stay fresh for a good long time.

On with the healthy trail mix recipe! It is not that hard...

A suggested mix

Here's a specific mix for a healthy trail mix recipe to try - though I'm sure most readers will prefer to make their own! You could start off with this one and just vary one or two elements to your own liking.

Peanuts 200g
Hazels 100g
Walnuts 100g
Raisins 100g
Sultanas 100g
Apricot 100g
Coconut 50g
Sunflower seeds 50g
Sesame 50g

Prepare everything as described above and put it into an air-tight container or bag.

If it's not needed immediately, then if you can vacuum pack it, so much the better.

Easy healthy kids' snacks

This one of the easiest healthy kids' snacks to make. Faddy eaters can be pleased with their own individual mix.

You can make a more savoury version of trail mix by using a few salted nuts and by keeping the fruit content low. Healthy trail mix does not have to be boring!

Try adding a few Japanese rice crackers for variation, too.

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A Healthy Trail Mix Recipe

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