Best Ingredients for Homemade Trail Mix
Updated: Dec 1, 2022
Forget about buying trail mix. Making your own is easy, healthier and much cheaper.
A food pyramid of meals for outdoor outings should include trail mix as its base. I don’t know if a nutritionist would agree, but in my experience this mixture of nuts, seeds and dried fruits is one of the best ways to keep your energy levels steady while on the trail.
Yes, you can buy trail mix in health food stores, in places like GNC or in supermarkets. However, I don’t like that they can have very weird ingredients, too much salt, too much sugar and too much fat. Healthier options can often be expensive, so it’s best to make your own and customize it to your needs and tastes.
What ingredients to include in homemade trail mix?
Seeds & Grains
*In my opinion, these ones only work if you add a lot of oil and sweetener to make it sticky, otherwise they will end at the bottom of your bag.
Dried or dehydrated Fruit
We recently began experimenting adding powders to our trail mix. It only really works if you mix it well with the oil and sweetener and then bake it. I’m not sure if the heat eliminates the benefits, though...
Spirulina (my favorite)
Where to buy ingredients for homemade trail mix
This depends on where you live but a good idea is to look for those stores that sell food in bulk. Make sure it’s a reliable one because I’ve heard horror stories of cockroaches and mice running around baskets of seeds.
In Mexico City we have the option of going to a market (mercado) or tianguis and buy nuts and seeds in the “chiles secos” stalls. We used to do that but we had the bad experience of finding a lot of dirt and stones in our food, especially in amaranth (a quinoa cousin). Now, we go to Estado Natural because we can buy in bulk, we’ve never had problems with cleanliness and they have more exotic options. Variety is the spice of life, right? We get bored after eating the same food over and over again.
In Patagonia, we found an amazing store in Puerto Natales that everyone recommended called Frutos Secos. They had an insane amount of options for nuts, seeds and dried fruits. The cool thing was that we didn’t need to bake anything because many options already had some sort of flavoring. I would only recommend to not experiment with ingredients you’ve never tried while you’re on the trail. You never know how your stomach will react!
How to make healthy trail mix at home
Once you have your ingredients, all you need to do is throw them in a bag and stash it in your backpack. However, if you want to bake yours to add a bit more of flavor, consider turning your trail mix into granola.
It’s very easy to mix all the nuts and seeds with a bit of oil and a sweetener to get a flavorful and crunchy blend. We use coconut oil or olive oil, some salt, lots of honey or coconut sugar plus some sea salt.
I refuse to rip off someone else’s hard work, so I’ll share our favorite recipes from Lazy Cat Kitchen (this version is very different from all others we’ve found and it tastes great but I’m not sure it would keep for long on the trail because it has the banana); Minimalist Baker (we love the aquafaba option); and Cookie and Kate (our favorite is the orange and almond variation).