My kids love trail mix, but buying it pre-made can get pricey — especially since they like different flavors (of course). So instead, I’ve come up with a list of snack items to keep in my pantry that combine in endless ways for make-your-own trail mix recipes.
Not only can the boys use these snacks to dream up personal trail mix blends, but they can do it over and over again, varying it a little each time. Which means no complaining about getting bored with my trail mix purchases, thank you very much.
Check out my rule of thumb for putting together a healthy and awesomely delicious trail mix, my master grocery list for maximum DIY trail mix fun, and our four favorite trail mix recipes below.
DIY Trail Mix Recipes: Rule of thumb
Of course, trail mix can be whatever you want it to be, especially if you’re just putting it together for family snack time, as opposed to for a long hike when you’d need it to provide maximum nutrition and energy. But still, balance is good.
I try to make my trail mix 50 percent nuts and/or seeds, 30 percent dried or freeze dried fruit (freeze-dried has much less sugar; a combination of the two is nice too), and 20 percent miscellaneous, including sesame sticks, sweet chips of various kinds, cereal, and so on.
DIY Trail Mix Recipes: The master grocery list
Here are my favorite things to keep on hand to make your own DIY trail mixes:
* Dried fruit
* Freeze-dried fruit
* Banans chips
* Nuts and seeds
* Cereal bits, such as O’s
* Store-bought (or homemade) granola
* Toasted coconut chips
* Chocolate, white chocolate, or peanut butter chips (mini chips are perfect; buy vegan if that’s better for you)
* Mini pretzels
* Popcorn (though keep in mind that it goes stale more quickly than the other trail mix ingredients)
* Sesame sticks
* Dried chickpea snacks
* Dried edamame
* Rice crackers
I have room to store these items separately, each in its own sealed container, in my pantry. Then, the kids can mix-and-match as they wish. We’ve found, though, that they return to the same four combinations over and over again. To be honest, I do too.
DIY Trail Mix Recipes: Our 4 favorite combinations
TROPICAL TRAIL MIX
Dried pineapple; freeze-dried mango; a touch of candied ginger; coconut and/or banana chips; macadamia nuts or, if they’re too expensive, almonds and/or cashews; white chocolate chips
SWEET AND SALTY TRAIL MIX
Granola; salted pistachios; sesame sticks; dried cherries; chocolate chips
CARNIVAL TRAIL MIX
Peanuts; pecans; popcorn; pretzels; banana chips; peanut butter chips; chocolate chips
JAPANESE TRAIL MIX
Pain or tamari almonds; sesame sticks; dried edamame; rice crackers
What’s your favorite DIY trail mix? Let us know by leaving a comment below or posting a picture of your favorite combination on Instagram and tagging @CoolMomEats.
Top photo by Naomi McColloch for Make It Easy: 120 Mix-and-Match Recipes to Cook From Scratch — With Smart Store-Bought Shortcuts When You Need Them by our editor, Stacie Billis, published by DaCapo Lifelong Books and used with permission. Available at our Amazon affiliate.