June 23, 2024
Healthy Trail Mix

Article Written by Dave Stewart
Camping Stove Cookout

Easy to make, trail mix can be a life saver when you are hiking or camping.  Aside from being tasty, there are many benefits to having stashes of trail mix around.  Nuts stabilize blood sugar so they can keep hunger at bay while providing protein and nutrients in between meals.

Here are a few of our favorite trail mix recipes, and one for Little Bombers- a great power packed snack alternative to trail mix!Goji Berries
We keep ziplock bags of trail mix in the car for when we are out and about, or have finished a hike and forgot to pack enough snacks for the ride home.

Top of the Mountain

  • Goji berries
  • pumpkin seeds
  • raisins
  • sunflower seeds
  • almonds
  • dark chocolate chips

This is great for a long hike or any strenuous physical activity.  It provides sugars for immediate energy production, proteins for stamina, a bit of caffeine and some good oxygenating of the blood for increased oxygen capacity.

A good one to eat before you are well into a hike so you can make it the whole length feeling great.  If you are planning a hike and have kids this article will give you some good advice of how to keep them calm and happy.

Walk in the Park

  • Walnuts
  • Raisins
  • Cranberries
  • Cashews
  • Dried Apples

1/2 cup walnuts, raisins, cranberries, cashews*  and dried apples. Toss in a bag and enjoy!
(*raw is best in terms of health-factor, but if you prefer salted, go for it)
This mix is simple without  many ingredients but enough sugar and protein to be a good snack that can tide you over until you get a real meal in your belly.

Little Bombers (Nut butter energy balls)

These are great for any outing-camping, hiking, or running errands with kids.  About an inch in diameter, they pack easily, are tasty and allow you to add in boosters- things like flax meal for fiber, oats, honey.

Here are some favorite ingredients:

  • Cranberries
  • Raisins
  • Dark chocolate chips
  • honey
  • Oats
  • Rolled in Sesame Seeds

 Can add chia seeds, flax meal, cordyceps, maca powder, or any other “super food” to make these little bombers a complete meal.

1 cup nut butter such as almond, peanut or sunflower. The latter is a tad bitter so you would need to adjust your sweetener.
1/4 cup each of your dried fruits
1/2-1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (mini work well)
1/4 cup oats (not instant oats, they become gluey)
1/4 cup honey
1 table spoon flax meal, 1/2- 1  tablespoon cordyceps** or maca** powder
A few tablespoons of sesame or other small seeds to roll balls into.

*Heat nut butter in a pan on low and add the honey. Be sure to not overheat or it will crystalize. mix well and let cool, but before it completely cools, add in remaining ingredients. Form into small balls and finish off by rolling into the sesame seeds. Store in airtight container in fridge.  Maca Powder


** What are these things? Check out these links, or look it up online if you want more information. Cordyceps has been used in Chinese Medicine for a very long time to treat many conditions as well as increase endurance, stamina,longevity, sexual vitality and fight off fatigue. It has been purportedly been used in the Olympic games by Chinese athletes who have won gold medals.  A great supplement for anyone, especially athletes.

Maca is an Amazonian tuber that is considered an adaptogen, like ginseng.  It increases energy without depleting your natural stores, balances hormones, and improves sexual function as well. You might be wondering why I am talking about that here, but in my book, sexual function is related to overall health. Can’t hurt to be healthier and have more vitality, right?

Health Benefits

The recipes listed here can be mixed and modified, but they are low in sugar and low in fillers that energy bars typically have. You get more oomph from trail mix, if  made right. The types of dried fruit you choose should fit into your activity.

If you are doing a long hike, for example, go with nuts for protein, some tasty dried for the short term bursts of energy from sugars like raisins, cranberries or apples, and ingredients for endurance like Goji berries***- low in sugar, high in iron and known to oxygenate the blood, they are great for long or high elevation hikes.

Dark chocolate can give you a kick with less sugar, and pumpkin seeds have numerous health benefits, like being good for Prostate health, (and can expel intestinal worms in large quantities but you wouldn’t want to do that on a trail!)Cashews

Cashews are a good source of the trace mineral magnesium, so it can help the muscles recover from physical activities like hiking.

Similarly, Sunflower seeds are high in Calcium, iron, manganese, zinc, magnesium, selenium and copper. These minerals have a vital role in bone mineralization, red blood cell production, enzyme synthesis, hormone production, as well as regulation of cardiac and skeletal muscle activities.

More recovery and overall good for your health!  Sunflower seeds can be a safe choice for those with some nut allergies. SunButter can be a great alternative to almond or peanut butter in the Little Bombers recipe.

***Goji Berries

Also called “Wolf Berries, these popular small fruits are excellent for outdoor activities because they help to build oxygen in the blood. Great for endurance, fatigue, enhancing eyesight, and increasing energy naturally.  Also great as a tea. Kids love to eat them once the tea has steeped!

Goji berries can interfere with certain drugs like Warfarin, so if you are on blood thinners, be sure to look for information about it!  Also, if you are planning a hiking trip or camping trip then this link will give you a few ideas of where to go.

Trail Mix Vs Energy Bars

For a walk in the park or a day on a cheap longboard, why go through the trouble of putting together ingredients when you can just buy a bar with the same stuff in it? For one, it’s more cost-effective. There are less preservatives, refined sugars, fillers and mystery ingredients than energy bars. Trail mix you make yourself can supply you with more energy, is healthier, even tastier, depending one what you throw together.

Nuts are a great source of protein, so they give you sustained energy and are great for keeping energy crashes at bay when you are outdoors and need something easy and light to snack on.  Here is some additional information about which are the best hiking and camping snacks to have outdoors.

Next time you are at the store grab a few of these trail mix ingredients and test it out for yourself.  A comment or a social share would be awesome so click on the Facebook page below or let me know what you think in the comments.