The end of August signaled the end of summer vacation and the start of school to me when I was growing up, so I always felt a twinge of dread as it approached. That all changed when I learned August 31st is National Trail Mix Day. Trail mix has been a staple in my life and brought me endless pleasure as I've combined different trail mix ingredients to make batch after batch.
There's plenty to celebrate about trail mix, even if you aren't taking a hike!
Portable, nonperishable, compact and satisfying are the qualities that make trail mix the ideal travel food, whether on foot, bike, boat, or skis. You can customize your mix to make it savory, sweet, or spicy and opt for a crunchy, chewy or crispy combo.
Do's and Don'ts of Trail Mix Ingredients
Chocolate is not a good idea if you (and your trail mix) will be exposed to warm temperatures since it will melt and turn your mix into a lump. Same for marshmallows and soft or sticky candy pieces.
Salty items will increase your thirst and add unneeded sodium if you're not in the Amazon. Go for herbs and spices to add flavor, but be careful you don't get carried away. You could end up with a culinary collision of Cajun-Curry-Chinese mix!
Calories can be lowered by using a higher ratio of cereal, popped and baked items to the dried fruits, nuts and seeds. Shoot for a 2:1 ratio to keep the mix under 200 calories a cup.
By using flavorful ingredients, like smoked nuts, cheese-flavored crackers or spicy bits, you can bypass the step of having to coat the whole batch with oil, season and bake as some recipes instruct. Skipping that step, and any fried or greasy ingredients, also makes it less messy to eat since you are using your fingers.
Mix and Match Your Trail Mix Ingredients
- Squares, like Chex® or Crispix®
- Circles, like Cheerios® or Kashi Heart-to-Heart®
- Woven, like Mini Shredded Wheat or Cracklin' Oat Bran®
- Balls, like Kix® or Barbara's Puffs®
- Chunky, like Granola
- Honey-roasted peanuts
- Roasted soy nuts
- Toasted corn nuts
- Smoked almonds
- Spiced walnuts
- Shaved coconut
- Cajun cashews
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Herb seasoned
- Oyster crackers
- Mini graham crackers
- Banana Chips
- Dark or Golden Raisins
- Crystalized Ginger
Popped & Baked Snacks
- Mini popped rice cakes
- Pirate's Booty®
- Pretzel nuggets
- Baked Oriental rice cracker mix
- Wasabi peas
What's in your trail mix?