DIY Heart Healthy Trail Mix recipe is perfect for a day in the woods or noshing on while you’re stuck at your desk. Either way, this is a healthy snack that’s a little sweet, salty, crunchy, chewy, and that everyone loves!
Benefits of Trail Mix
The question, is trail mix good for you, is a bit tricky, and you’ll hear different answers. As with most prepared foods, the answer is: it depends. It depends on the ingredients! If your trail mix is full of chocolate candies, sweetened dried fruit, salted nuts, and various indiscriminate “clusters” of crunchy things, it’s probably not going to be overly healthy, even if there are some healthy ingredients in it. And store bought trail mixes are often covered with a sugary coating to boot.
So, is trail mix a healthy snack? Yes, it absolutely can be, especially if it’s a DIY trail mix. But beware of store bought mixes – read those labels to make sure it’s low in added sugars and salt.
My homemade trail mix recipe uses all the awesome heart healthy ingredients you’d expect, so it’s the perfect snack to take out on those trails with you. We use a delicious mix of walnuts, almonds, and pecans for a pretty amazing fat profile. The mix is packed full of heart healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, while being very low in saturated fat. It’s your choice to use one salted nut or seed ingredient, because when you’re working up a sweat, you do need to replace some sodium. Just be sure to keep it to only one salted ingredient!
We also included some healthy dried fruit – cherries and bananas! Look for unsweetened varieties if you can find them. Try our tutorial for how to make dried bananas for the heart healthiest banana chips to add to your DIY trail mix!
Of course we added some sweetness! Find the darkest chocolate you can – it doesn’t have to be chocolate chips. While it’s true that chocolate can be a heart healthy addition to your diet, it’s kind of taken on a life of its own. Milk chocolate is not considered a healthy option because all the sugar, cream, and other ingredients negate the benefits of the cocoa. The darker the chocolate, the more antioxidant benefit it has, because it has less sugar and those other ingredients. Grab the highest % cacao you can find. It’s even okay to get a chocolate bar and break it up for this recipe. Note that most dark chocolate products still contain cocoa butter and sugar, so consume in moderation!
How to Make Trail Mix
This is a super easy recipe for trail mix! I like equal proportions of all the ingredients, but you can modify to suit your tastes. And, if there’s an ingredient you don’t like listed, just leave it out. Trail mix is all go-with-the-flow like that. Then, simply toss all the ingredients together and go.
Here’s your formula for how to make trail mix:
2 cups of nuts and/or seeds + 1 cup dried fruit + ½ cup sweet/candy
To keep it a heart healthy trail mix, make sure you pick nuts and seeds that are mostly raw or plain roasted with only a little salt, dried fruit without extra sweeteners, and candy that’s lower in added sugar if you can find it (that’s why dark chocolate works so great here).
Frequently Asked Questions and Substitutions
A serving of trail mix is 1/4 cup – about the amount that can fit in the palm of your hand (not a handful!). Convenient way to measure on-the-go!
Yes! My healthy heart trail mix contains no gluten as written. When you buy your ingredients, just be sure there aren’t hidden gluten-containing ingredients in them if you require gluten free.
You can, but I’d advise against freezing the completed recipe. I’d recommend freezing all the ingredients separately, then when you’re ready to make it, thaw everything and combine. Nuts actually freeze great, and it’s a good way to extend their shelf life! But if you freeze them with the fruit, they may become soggy when you thaw it.
Either will do! Whichever you like. Typically, though, roasted nuts are also salted, so look at the labels!
If you try this Healthy Trail Mix Recipe, let me know in the comments!
Healthy Trail Mix Recipe
DIY Heart Healthy Trail Mix recipe is perfect for a day in the woods or noshing on while you're stuck at your desk. Either way, this is a healthy snack that's a little sweet, salty, crunchy, chewy, and that everyone loves!
- ½ cup Dried Cherries
- ½ cup Dried Bananas
- ½ cup Dark Chocolate Chips
Choose ONE of the following to be lightly salted, and the rest unsalted:
- ½ cup Walnuts
- ½ cup Almonds
- ½ cup Pecans
- ½ cup Sunflower Seeds or Pepitas Pumpkin seeds
Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight container.