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How To Make Healthy Sweet and Salty Trail Mix

Healthy, versatile, and totally adaptable, nothing curbs a crunch craving quite like a healthy trail mix recipe. You’ll love this sweet and salty version!

Raisins, cranberries, cashews, almonds, chocolate, and banana chips in a storage container.

How To Make Healthy Sweet and Salty Trail Mix |

Every afternoon it strikes me. Somewhere in the lull between lunch and dinner that twinge of hunger appears, and the crunch monster inside me starts a-grumbling.

For me, it’s the most dangerous time of the day. When the crunch monster gets hungry there’s no telling what he might reach for. It could be carrots…or it could be carrot’s equally orange but slightly less healthy cousin, Doritos.

I’ve gotten to know the crunch monster pretty well over the years, and I’ve learned that nothing makes him happier than a handful of crunchy, sweet, and salty trail mix.

For two years running, I’ve kept a stash of trail mix in my desk drawer at work so I always have something healthy to keep the crunch monster satisfied.

How To Make Healthy Sweet and Salty Trail Mix |

I used to buy trail mix in the stores, but after awhile I got bored with the options. I also got sick of picking around the dried out raisins. You know the kind–those stale hard globs that stick in your teeth and leave your tongue to dig them out for the rest of the afternoon. Not cool, raisins.

Plus, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but trail mix can be expensive! Buying in bulk allows you to create a trail mix with only things you love AND save a buck or two along the way.

Creating your own perfect healthy trail mix is easy. Below I’ve included some guidelines to get you started.

How To Make Healthy Sweet and Salty Trail Mix |


  • Nuts usually makes up the majority of trail mix recipes. Nuts are chock full of protein, fiber, and healthy fats, which help you feel fuller longer and give you a sustained energy boosts.
  • It’s best to choose nuts that are unsalted, unroasted or dry roasted, and without any added sugar, oils, or preservatives.
  • I like to put 2 kinds of nuts in my trail mix, one cup of each. My favorite combo is almonds and cashews–almonds for crunch and cashews for their rich, buttery taste and slight sweetness. These, along with pistachios, are also the lowest calorie nut. You can also include seeds in your mix, if you like.
  • For a great guide to nuts, including calories, protein, fiber, and fat contents, check out The Ultimate Guide to Nuts infographic.Β 

Dried Fruits

  • Look for varieties with limited added sugar. I like to use dried cranberries and dried bananas. I’m a total sucker for dried bananas. Again, you just can’t beat the crunch! Dried apples, blueberries, pineapple, raisins, or dates are also good options.
  • Fruits with little or no added sugar or best. Tart fruits like cranberries are likely to be sweetened with something. If they are, look for them to be sweetened with 100% fruit juice rather than high fructose corn syrup or other sugars.
  • Depending on the size of your dried fruits, you’ll want to add 1-2 cups to your mix.

How To Make Healthy Sweet and Salty Trail Mix |

Fun Extras

While not quite the nutritional dynamos of nuts or dried fruits, I like to add some fun extras to keep things interesting. Stick with simple, low calorie treats. One of my college roommates used to snack on a mixture of oyster crackers and dark chocolate. I used to think she was weird. Until I tried it. OMG. The salty crunch of the oyster crackers paired with the smooth, bittersweet chocolate is a combo that’s hard to quit.

Now, I like to add oyster crackers to my trail mix as a tribute to my former roommates’ snack genius. Pretzels, granola, puffed rice cereal, wheat chex, or cheerios are also good options. I usually keep these fun extras to 1 cup or less.

And then of course, there’s chocolate. I love dark chocolate and it actually has several health benefits, including helping to lower blood sugar and being packed with antioxidants. However, white chocolate can pair well with cranberries and other snack mixes, and M&Ms are a classic trail mix choice. Just remember, these options will be higher in calories, so keep the add-ins to 1/3 cup or less.

Just out of curiosity, I ran my trail mix recipe through the calorie counter to see how it stacks up against store bought versions. This stuff will run you 110-130 calories per 1/4 cup serving which is actually a little lower than most store bought brands. As with any snack, portion control is important, but a handful of this trail mix is a great energy booster and craving-curber you can enjoy guilt free!

How To Make Healthy Sweet and Salty Trail Mix |

You can use my ultimate trail mix recipe below as a starting place for creating your own favorite mix. Go forth and mix it up!

If you’re looking for more healthy snacks, check out my Berry Frozen Yogurt BitesΒ and Honey Apple Oatmeal Muffins.

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Leave a Comment

  • Jennifer Drummond September 29, 2013, 8:56 AM

    I love trail mix and i love the combination you are using! I could easily eat this all day long!!

  • littleredkitchen September 29, 2013, 10:01 AM

    Really great combination, especially with the oyster crackers! They are so addicting, I can eat a box of those alone.

    • Courtney @ Neighborfood September 29, 2013, 11:10 PM

      I know, right? Adding oyster crackers totally changed the trail mix scene for me.

  • Liz September 29, 2013, 10:02 AM

    Your trail mix looks better than any I’ve seen! I love your choice of nuts and dried fruits πŸ™‚

  • Family Foodie September 29, 2013, 10:29 AM

    What an awesome recipe for trail mix!

  • Laura Dembowski September 29, 2013, 11:58 AM

    I haven’t had trail mix in years, and now I want it so badly. Love the idea of adding crackers. And I definitely need to try dried bananas.

  • Renee Dobbs September 29, 2013, 12:30 PM

    “The Crunch Monster” <- too funny! I also quit buying trail mix because of how it is over-priced and always has something in it that I don't like. Nice to make your own and you did a great tutorial.

    • Courtney @ Neighborfood September 29, 2013, 11:08 PM

      Thanks Renee. I seriously feel like I have one of those inside of me. Just demands something to crunch on!

  • Webicurean September 29, 2013, 2:15 PM

    We spend so much money on trail mix, it’s crazy! Thanks for the how-to so we can break from that rut!

    • Courtney @ Neighborfood September 29, 2013, 11:08 PM

      I used to too! I love it so much, but it was an expensive snack addiction. πŸ™‚

  • Tara September 29, 2013, 3:39 PM

    I love trail mix with it’s sweet and salty crunch, great recipe!!

  • Hezzi-Ds Books&Cooks September 29, 2013, 3:50 PM

    I like how simple this is. I love a great, simple trail mix!

  • Dorothy at ShockinglyDelicious September 29, 2013, 4:42 PM

    Just simply perfect!

  • Sarah R September 29, 2013, 5:43 PM

    I should make this for my mom to take to work, she loves her snacks

    • Courtney @ Neighborfood September 29, 2013, 11:08 PM

      You just gave me an idea to package these in cute little bags tied with pretty ribbon. They’d be a fun just-for-the-anyhow gift.

  • cupcakekalechip September 29, 2013, 6:39 PM

    What a healthy snack… until I just can’t stop at a 1/4 c serving πŸ™‚ I love trail mix!

    • Courtney @ Neighborfood September 29, 2013, 11:07 PM

      Haha! I know. I have to put away the container after I’ve taken out a handful or else it’ll disappear embarrassingly quickly.

  • ATasteOfMadness September 29, 2013, 6:59 PM

    I can’t believe I have never thought of making my own trail mix. This looks great!

  • Nancy September 29, 2013, 7:23 PM

    These are great tips, Courtney! It’s so easy to make but damnit, am I ever lazy. I always end up just buying the stale stuff from the bulk bins. No more! I’m going to make my own and the tasty variations are endless!

  • The Ninja Baker September 30, 2013, 5:40 AM

    Yum! I know whose desk I’m heading for when the crunch monster calls =) Besides, snack time I do believe your granola would be gorgeous with a cup of ice cream =)

  • Climbing Grier Mountain September 30, 2013, 11:57 AM

    With ski season quickly approaching, I’m thinking these make your own trail mix goodies are going to be my new snacking buddy!

  • Julianne @ Beyond Frosting September 30, 2013, 11:06 PM

    Trail mix is my favorite snack to take with me when I go snowboarding!

  • Beate @ The Not So Cheesy Kitc October 1, 2013, 12:23 AM

    Same here – the time between lunch & dinner is te snack attack time. You trail mix sounds perfect!

  • Cindys Recipes October 1, 2013, 5:50 AM

    Every once in awhile I crave trail mix, thanks for sharing a different combo!

  • Alice Choi October 1, 2013, 10:37 AM

    Love this! Making your trail mix at home is always sooo much better b/c you are choosing what to throw in, love this!!

  • Sarah | Curious Cuisiniere October 2, 2013, 2:48 PM

    I am such a sucker for banana chips too. But, can you believe I’ve never thought to put them in our train mixes? For shame! Thanks for the inspiration.

  • Faye Leong October 4, 2013, 10:38 AM

    Love all those ingredients that you have use. I’ll manage to finish the whole bottle!

  • Maggie @MaggieCooks October 4, 2013, 5:57 PM

    I love love love LOVE this!!! πŸ™‚ haha I’m glad i’m not the only one who gets the crunch monster hahaha great pictures btw make me want to grab some nuts πŸ™‚

  • Laura May 22, 2018, 3:57 PM

    Hi! You mention your “ultimate trail mix recipe below” but I don’t see any actual recipe–help!

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