What is Trail Mix?

Sheri Cyprus

Trail mix is a snack mix made from foods such as dried fruits, nuts, cereal and sometimes chocolate chips or small candy-coated chocolate pieces. It is named for its popularity as a lightweight, easy to pack, high energy snack to enjoy on hiking trails. Trail mix is also called GORP, which is said to stand for Good Old Raisins and Peanuts, among other food-related phrases.

Walnuts are high in protein, fiber, and healthy fats, making them an excellent addition to trail mix.
Walnuts are high in protein, fiber, and healthy fats, making them an excellent addition to trail mix.

Raisins and peanuts alone can make a very basic and tasty type of trail mix. There is no one recipe and many different blends of trail mixes exist. The versatility of trail mix makes it a great thing to have on hand in any kitchen. It can be ready to take on hikes or bike rides. Trail mix can also be packed in small containers for desserts or snacks in lunches for school or work.

Bananas, which are sometimes dried and included in trail mix.
Bananas, which are sometimes dried and included in trail mix.

Before adding nuts to your trail mix, you may want to spread the nuts on a cookie sheet and bake them for about five minutes in a moderately hot oven just to toast them a bit and release their flavor. Be careful that they don't brown. Peanuts are great in trail mix, but you can use walnuts, pecans, almonds or any kinds of nuts you prefer. For those with nut allergies, extra dried fruits or foods such as pretzels or cereal squares may be substituted.

Raisins are a dense source of nutrients, so make a good food to take hiking.
Raisins are a dense source of nutrients, so make a good food to take hiking.

Dried prunes or dried apricots can be substituted for, or used with, raisins in trail mix. You may also want to add some banana chips for extra color and flavor and a few of these go a long way. Cereal squares, cereal rings or even granola can be a part of a trail mix. Many people like to add pretzel sticks or pretzel twists, but remember that these as well as salted nuts may cause thirst.

Many trail mixes contain chocolate.
Many trail mixes contain chocolate.

Chocolate chips and/or candy-coated chocolate pieces can add sweetness to the trail mix. Some people prefer to toss in some coconut. Anything goes and trail mix ingredients can be varied according to allergies, budget, caloric needs and other considerations.

Apricots can be dried and added to trail mix.
Apricots can be dried and added to trail mix.
Pretzels can replace nuts for those with peanut allergies.
Pretzels can replace nuts for those with peanut allergies.
Some people like granola in their trail mix.
Some people like granola in their trail mix.
Dried apricots may be added to trail mix along with other types of dried fruit.
Dried apricots may be added to trail mix along with other types of dried fruit.
For a healthier trail mix, substitute carob chips for high-sugar chocolate chips.
For a healthier trail mix, substitute carob chips for high-sugar chocolate chips.
Many hikers on both short and long walks pack trail mix for energy.
Many hikers on both short and long walks pack trail mix for energy.
Peanuts are a common ingredient in trail mix.
Peanuts are a common ingredient in trail mix.
Popcorn may be used to create trail mix.
Popcorn may be used to create trail mix.

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Discussion Comments

pollick

I find I like to keep some raisin/nut/chocolate trail mix around the house for between-meal snacking. It's better than eating unhealthy snack foods with too much salt or oil. I've tried making a homemade trail mix from time to time, but some of those ingredients can get a little expensive. The best nuts, like walnuts and cashews, can cost more by themselves than a large bag of trail mix containing those nuts already.

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