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How To Make Homemade Trail Mix

During the summer, most of us are given extra time to relax, enjoy the outdoors, and exercise! When we are staying active, it is always best to have a nutrient dense snack to eat throughout the day. One of the best snacks to have available to grab before a workout, or for a small mid-morning or afternoon snack is a healthy homemade trail mix.

In this short article, we are going to share with you some of our favorite things to include in a homemade trail mix, while also providing you with some key nutritional information.

 

homemade trail mix with nuts, fruit, and seeds

Of course there are many trail mix varieties you can easily purchase at the store, however often times these have added sugars and are not well-balanced in macro and micronutrients. By purchasing your own ingredients and creating your own trail mix you can control the types of nutrients you are fueling your body with and make different combinations depending on if you are in the mood for savory or sweet.

When thinking of what to include in your trail mix, try separating ingredients out into four categories: nuts, seeds, dried fruits, and extras.

Below we have categorized some of our favorite ingredients in each category and have highlighted key nutrient functions for each item listed.

 

What to Include in Homemade Trail Mix

Pile of almonds


1. Nuts

Nuts are a great source of healthy unsaturated fats and micronutrients and also provide small amounts of protein.

  • Almonds (Calcium: building strong bones)
  • Cashews (Zinc: immunity and wound healing)
  • Brazil Nuts (Selenium: production of thyroid hormone to regulate metabolism)
  • Pecans (Magnesium: regulates the nervous system)
  • Walnuts (Omega-3 Fatty acids: regulates blood pressure)

 

2. Seeds

Seeds provide ample dietary fiber, and necessary nutrients, while also being a significant source of plant-based protein.

  • Sunflower Seeds (Vitamin E: protects cells against oxidative damage)
  • Pumpkin Seeds (Manganese: detoxification)
  • Chia Seeds (Phosphorous: maintains acid-base balance in the body)
  • Hemp Seeds (Omega-6 fatty acids: healthy brain functioning)
  • Flax seeds (Potassium: regulates heartbeat)

 

Jars of nuts, seeds, and dried fruit

 

3. Dried Fruits

When purchasing dried fruits, it is important to pay attention to the nutrition label and buy organic when possible with no added sugars.

  • Blueberries (Anthocyanins: improves lipid profile1)
  • Bananas (Vitamin B6: amino acid synthesis2)
  • Strawberries (Vitamin C: aids in the absorption of iron)
  • Mulberries (Iron: blood production)
  • Apples (Vitamin K: synthesis of proteins involved in blood clotting)

 

4. Extras

For extra flavor and enjoyment, some additional ingredients can enhance the flavor and nutrient profile of your trail mix!

  • Raw Cacao Nibs (Antioxidants: protects cells against free radicals3)
  • Quinoa (Folate: key in the process of DNA formation)
  • Dry Roasted Edamame (plant-based protein: healthy enzyme and hormone functioning)
  • Baked Oats (Vitamin B5: melatonin production)
  • Nutritional Yeast (Vitamin B12: helps prevent megaloblastic anemia)

 

 

Try out our Nutrient Dense Trail Mix recipe below!

Nutrient dense trail mix nutrition label


Makes 8 servings

  • ½ c Mulberries
  • ½ c Dried Blueberries
  • ½ c Dried Banana Slices
  • ½ c Dry Roasted Edamame
  • ¼ c Almonds
  • ¼ c Brazil Nuts
  • ¼ c Sunflower Seeds 

Add all of your ingredients together in a bag and shake until well mixed! To meal prep for the week, you can divide the trail mix into separate small containers to have on hand for a healthy snack option.


1. Khoo, H. E., Azlan, A., Tang, S. T., & Lim, S. M. (2017). Anthocyanidins and anthocyanins: colored pigments as food, pharmaceutical ingredients, and the potential health benefits. Food & nutrition research, 61(1), 1361779. https://doi.org/10.1080/16546628.2017.1361779
2. Parra, M., Stahl, S., & Hellmann, H. (2018). Vitamin B6 and Its Role in Cell Metabolism and Physiology. Cells, 7(7), 84. doi:10.3390/cells7070084
3. Sies H, Stahl W, Sundquist AR. Antioxidant functions of vitamins. Vitamins E and C, beta-carotene, and other carotenoids. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1992;669:7-20. doi:10.1111/j.1749-6632.1992.tb17085.x

 

Author: Karli McCarthy
Cal Poly, SLO Nutrition Student
@kale_n_it_karli 

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