Best Trail Mix Ingredients for Hiking Trips
Trail mix is the quintessential hiking food. Lightweight and packed with nutrients, it offers an ideal balance for people in the outdoors. Generally one is burning a great deal of calories while hiking, backpacking or even working outside – meaning he or she must replenish those resources. However, not all trail mix is created equal. Store bought varieties can be chock full of unnecessary salt and sugar, and may not offer a balanced energy source. Homemade trail mix is a better solution, one where the end-user can control the mix.
Healthy Trail Mix Ingredients
Trail mix generally consists of roasted nuts, dried fruit and possibly vegetables, and possibly some sort of sweet candy like chocolate. Here is the lowdown on the best trail mix ingredients:
- Nuts and seeds – Packed with protein and a range of other nutrients, nuts typically make up at least 50% of the mix. Nuts should be dry roasted for preservation purposes. Some prefer to use salted nuts, as one naturally secretes salt while sweating that must be replenished. However, avoid putting too many salty ingredients in the batch. It is best to use several nuts for nutrition and variety – but make sure only one type is salted.
- Dried fruit – Dried fruit has a ton of nutrients and often packs plenty of sweetness. The fruit provides vitamins that nuts cannot, making it a necessary part of the mix. Fruit also provides a different texture, which is important to keep the mix interesting.
- Dried vegetables – While dried veggies may not sound appetizing at first, they can often be incorporated sparingly into a mix to provide even more nutrition and fiber. They also have the advantage of containing much less sugar or fat than the other ingredients. One can experiment with different dried veggie options, such as dried red bell peppers, cherry tomatoes and pumpkin.
- Chocolate or other sweet ingredients – It is arguable whether ingredients like chocolate are truly necessary for a trail mix. Plenty of people stick to a straight Nut/Seed/Fruit and possibly vegetable mix. However, a bit of dried chocolate or some honey roasted nuts may be a perfect way to make the trail mix more fun to eat – and one is probably going to burn off all the extra calories anyway.
There is no perfect trail mix recipe. Proper proportions are important – at least 50% nuts, a balanced salt level, not too much sugar – but the rest is up to the maker. Healthy trail mix is ideal, but there are many combinations that can create healthy trail mix recipes.
Next time you go camping or hiking, bring plenty of homemade trail mix and your own Litefighter tent for durable protection from the elements!