Celebrate National Trail Mix Day by combining your favorite trail mix ingredients and taking a hike

Trail Mix Ingredients You Can Mix & Match

This post was originally written during my 2 1/2 year tenure as a blogger for Health Goes Strong. The site was deactivated on July 1, 2013, so the post has been reproduced here.

CELEBRATE NATIONAL TRAIL MIX DAY BY COMBINING YOUR FAVORITE TRAIL MIX INGREDIENTS AND TAKING A HIKE

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

Cereal

  • 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

Nuts

  • Honey-roasted peanuts
  • Roasted soy nuts
  • Toasted corn nuts
  • Smoked almonds
  • Spiced walnuts
  • Shaved coconut
  • Cajun cashews

Seeds

  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Sesame seeds

Crackers

  • Cheese-flavored
  • Herb seasoned
  • Oyster crackers
  • Mini graham crackers

Dried Fruit

  • Cranberries
  • Banana Chips
  • Dark or Golden Raisins
  • Blueberries
  • Cherries
  • Apricots
  • Crystalized Ginger

Popped & Baked Snacks

  • Popcorn
  • Mini popped rice cakes
  • Popchips®
  • Pirate’s Booty®
  • Pretzel nuggets
  • Baked Oriental rice cracker mix
  • Wasabi peas

Check out my post about which is the best nut and to learn more about dried fruit.

What’s in your trail mix?

You may be surprised to learn that the best nut to eat is the one you like best

Big Debate: Which is the Best Nut to Eat?

This post was originally written during my 2 1/2 year tenure as a blogger for Health Goes Strong. The site was deactivated on July 1, 2013, so the post has been reproduced here.

TREE NUTS ARE ONE OF THE OLDEST FOODS ON EARTH, BUT THEY ARE ENJOYING RENEWED INTEREST AS EVIDENCE OF THEIR HEALTH BENEFITS CONTINUES TO ACCUMULATE. ALL ARE A GOOD SOURCE OF PLANT PROTEIN, PROVIDE MANY VITAMINS AND MINERALS, AND VALUABLE PHYTONUTRIENTS. THEY HAVE NO CHOLESTEROL OR SODIUM IN THEIR NATURAL STATE AND SUPPLY HEART-HEALTHY OILS. FIND OUT HERE WHICH ONES ARE TOPS IN WHICH NUTRIENTS, BUT DON’T LOOK FOR A WINNER. EAT THE ONE – OR ONES – YOU LIKE THE BEST!

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Walnuts: The Central Valley of California produces 99% of the U.S. supply and 75% of the walnuts eaten by the rest of the world. Highest in omega-3 alpha linolenic acids and polyunsaturated fat. One ounce = 12-14 halves. Recipes 142092598

Almonds: Believed to have originated in Central Asia,80% of the world’s supply now comes from California. Highest in protein (with pistachios), fiber, calcium, riboflavin and vitamin E. One ounce = 23 almonds. Recipes 88380139

Pecans: The U.S. produces 80% of world’s supply with Georgia the leading state for pecan production. Contains over 19 vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. One ounce = 19 halves. Recipes

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Pistachio: The oldest edible nut, originating in the Middle East over 9000 years ago. Highest in protein (with almonds), thiamin (with macadamia) and vitamin B6. One ounce = 49 nuts. Recipes 111718647

Cashews: Originally found in Brazil near the equator, India, Vietnam, and Mozambique join Brazil as the principle producers today. Highest in iron and copper and lowest in calories. One ounce = 16 nuts. Recipes 56112003

Brazil Nuts: Native to the Amazon jungle, Bolivia, Brazil and Peru are the chief producing countries. Highest in magnesium, phosphorus, and selenium and highest in saturated fat. One ounce = 6 nuts. Recipes

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Hazelnuts: Also known as filberts and cobnuts, Turkey, Italy, Spain and the U.S. are the biggest suppliers. Highest in folate. One ounce = 21 nuts. Recipes

Pine nut | Pinienkern

Pine Nuts: Found inside pine cones, they are also called Indian nut, pinon, pinoli and pignolia. Highest in manganese and zinc. One ounce = 167 nuts. Recipes

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Macadamia: Native to the Australian rainforest, they were introduced to Hawaii in 1882 and it has become one of the main growers along with Australia. Highest in thiamin (with pine nuts), calories, total fat, and monounsaturated fat. One ounce = 10-12 nuts. Recipes