Trail Mix – A Love Song

Of course, this is a total ‘doh’ moment.
When you hike a lot, trail mix is probably your go to snack food for, well snacking, and also for important nutrients. It’s fuel and it’s fun.

In typical fashion fitting for me, I had to discover trail mix for myself, which is not a bad thing in the end. The main two elements that deterred me from exploring trail mix sooner were the 1) the price- trail mix can get really pricey really quick, and 2) the mix- you pay too much money to only enjoy 80 percent of the content, 50 percent of the time.

 

What makes trail mix awesome?

Perfect trail mix needs to be healthy, snacky, fun and quick to eat, and quick for your body to absorb.
Trail mix needs to have a good variety of things you love and your body craves, when you’re sweating on a trail, hours away from your next burger.

Why do you want it on the trail?

It’s easy to prepare and easy to pack. It holds up in cold and hot weather (sometimes, the chocolate chips will melt in the hot weather and glue the sunflower seeds and pretzel sticks together, which is quite good).
It can be inexpensive, if you do it right.

How do you do trail mix right?

Making the right trail mix is simple. You do it, as you see fit. They key is to not go out and buy some over-priced artisan version, but to be the artist yourself.  part of the fun is to make your own! Buy it in bulk and store the ingredients individually in a cool and dry place. That way your mix doesn’t get stale and you can change it up anytime you want. The possibilities of making a good trail mix are limitless, but I highly recommend trying out my version.

trailmix1
Current variety of trail mix ingredients in our family pantry.

The savory bits:
For me, little salty pretzels are the foundation of any good trail mix. They are salty, fill you up, inexpensive and delicious. And the salt is exactly what your body craves and needs when you sweat a lot.

Next you can add any nuts you like. Nuts can get expensive, so choose wisely. Roasted peanuts work great.

Mom says: “A perfect mix of sweet and salty.”

Secret favorite in our family are sesame sticks. Know those guys?
Trader Joes sells them inexpensively in good-sized quantities.

Daughter says: “It is sooooooo good. There are always different things.”

Various seeds round out the savory side of our trail mix.
Roasted, salted sunflower seeds are awesome. The only downside is that seeds are really small and can seem to vanish in your zip lock bag of goodies.

Son says: “We always put in it exactly what we love.”

Now to the sweet side:
Chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, and any sort of baking chocolate chips are great. Just don’t let them melt away in hot days.

Dried fruits round out your mix and add some much needed chew.
We rotate through dried apple slices, raisins, dried cherries, bananas, mandarins, anything that floats your boat.
Dried coconut strips, cut in chunks are awesome and candied ginger is fantastic.

Dad says: “It’s inexpensive, customizable, diverse, and delicious.”

We often add some remains of an already opened goldfish cracker bag or some leftover dried something-or-another we have laying around.

The lesson here is that making your own trail mix is awesome and you should totally do it. All it takes is a little preparation and some comparison shopping next time you go to the grocery store.
By making your own and adding exactly what you love, trail mix can be both delicious and healthy.
It can be as diverse and eclectic as each of the members of your family, because you can change it up every time.
If you shop smart, making your own trail mix is really cheap (we’re talking less than $5 for a gallon ziplock bag full of trail mix fun for the entire family).

What’s in your favorite trail mix? Tell us in Twitter.


PS: The leading picture has nothing to do with trail mix, but it’s my favorite mountain range on the Olympic Peninsula and I can’t get enough of how awesome those peaks look.


Might also interest you:

• Looking for a great granola recipe? Look no further.

• Need some other pointers on how to get the family ready to go hiking?

• Ten Essentials Things every Kid should have in their Backpack.

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Goods, published with love by THE OUTDOOR SOCIETY.

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By Doug and Mathias on the Olympic Peninsula, Washington State

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