Healthy Make at Home Snack Mix!
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Snack and trail mixes go way beyond the original combination of raisins and peanuts. From sweet to savory, there are thousands of combinations to appeal to any taste or snack craving. Combine any favorite dry ingredients and stash the mix in an airtight container in a cool dry location, and you’re good to go.
Originally trail mix was invented for hikers and campers because it’s lightweight, portable, and full of energy-dense ingredients like dried fruit, nuts, and chocolate—perfect for trailblazing. Beware; trail mix can pack a hefty calorie punch as well, especially when it is so easy to mindlessly munch while sitting around. Depending on the combination of ingredients, keep your serving size to a quarter-cup or less to keep this yummy snack from sneaking into the calorie danger zone.
You can begin with a mix and match of ingredients, such as:
- These pint-sized nutritional powerhouses are loaded with healthy unsaturated fats, protein, fiber, antioxidants, vitamin E, and other essential vitamins and minerals.
- Whether choosing raw or roasted, go for unsalted, unsweetened nuts to keep sugar and sodium under control.
- Healthy favorites include: almonds, pistachios, cashews, peanuts, and walnuts. Higher-calorie macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, pecans, and pine nuts are also good options in moderation.
- For those with nut allergies, or those just looking for a change, seeds provide many of the same nutritional benefits as nuts,
- Sprinkle a handful of pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, flax, or hemp seeds in trail mix for an extra boost of nutrients.
- This sugary option can easily take you to the calorie danger zone, so pay attention to the ingredient list and serving sizes. In moderation, dried fruit can be a great source of fiber, antioxidants, calcium, and vitamins A, C, and K.
- Look for dried fruit options with as little added sugar and preservatives as possible (some varieties, like cranberries, are naturally quite tart and almost always sweetened with cane sugar or apple juice).
- Healthy favorites include: dried apples, cherries, cranberries, goji berries, blueberries, strawberries, apricots, raisins, banana chips, figs, pineapple chunks, mango, and dates.
- Add some complex carbohydrates to your custom blend for extra fiber, which boosts overall energy and helps to keep you full.
- Choose whole grains whenever possible and avoid highly processed cereals that add unnecessary sugar and sodium.
- Healthy favorites include: shredded wheat cereal, pretzels, whole-grain cereals like Cheerios or Chex, bran flakes, whole-wheat crackers, granola, toasted oats, puffed rice cereal, and air-popped popcorn can all add a little bit of crunch.
- Sometimes we need a “little something sweet” to round out the mix. Just remember to add treat-like options sparingly.
- Add a sprinkling of M&Ms, chips of various kinds (chocolate, peanut butter, carob, butterscotch), cacao nibs, yogurt-covered raisins, chocolate-covered coffee beans, mini marshmallows, or chocolate-covered nuts. When going the chocolate route choose dark varieties for extra antioxidants.
- Once add all of the basics, adding spices is a great way to change up the flavor a bit. Season the mix with sea salt, curry, ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, or cayenne pepper. Or create your own mix of spices.
- Keep taste buds guessing with wasabi peas, coconut flakes, sesame sticks, dried ginger, and coffee beans.
The “Original Gorp” Recipe
- ½ ounce whole shelled (unpeeled) almonds
- ¼ ounce unsalted dry-roasted peanuts
- ¼ ounce dried cranberries
- 1 tablespoon chopped pitted dates
- 1½ teaspoons chocolate chips
- Combine almonds, peanuts, cranberries, dates and chocolate chips in a small bowl.
Serves 2. Each serving contains Calories 102, Fat 6 g, Cholesterol 0 mg, Carbohydrates 11 g, Protein 3 g, Fiber 2 g, Sodium 29 mg.
Heart Healthy Snack Mix
- ½ cup unsalted silvered almonds
- 3 cups whole grain unsweetened cereal (Can mix cereals)
- 1 cup unsalted, dry roasted soy nuts
- 1 cup unsalted, dry roasted peanuts
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup seedless raisins
- ½ cup diced dried apricots (or choice or additional
- unsweetened dried fruit – such as mixed berries or figs or dates)
- Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl and serve!
Serves 28. Each ¼ cup serving contains Calories 110, Fat 6 g, Sodium 35 mg, Cholesterol 0 g, Protein 5 g, Carbohydrate 13 g, Sugars 4 g, Fiber 3-7 grams (depending on cereal)
Spicy Energy Mix
- 1 ounce pepitas, (pumpkin seeds)
- 1½ ounces dried mango
- 1 ounce pitted chopped dates
- ¼ teaspoon prepared spice rub
- Combine pepitas, mango, dates and prepared spice rub.
Serves 1. Each serving contains Calories 368, Fat 14 g, Cholesterol 0 mg, Carbohydrates 63 g, Protein 8 g, Fiber 5 g, Sodium 121 mg.
Blueberry Pancake Snack Mix
(couldn’t resist adding this one)
- 3 cups Corn Chex
- 2 cups Wheat Chex
- 1 cup Rice Chex
- 2 cups dried blueberries
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- ⅓ cup maple syrup
- ¼ cup butter, melted
- In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine the cereals, blueberries and walnuts. In another bowl, combine syrup and butter. Pour over cereal mixture; toss to coat.
- Microwave on high for 5 minutes, stirring after each minute. Spread onto waxed paper to cool. Store in an airtight container.
Yield: 2 quarts.
Serves 10. Each ¾ cup contains Calories 320, Fat 12 g, Cholesterol 12 mg, Sodium 189 mg, Carbohydrate 50 g, Fiber 5 g, Protein 5 g.
Sweet and Spicy Pretzel Mix
- 2 c thin pretzel sticks
- 1 c. natural almonds
- 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp. dark-brown sugar
- ⅛ tsp. cayenne pepper
- Preheat oven to 300°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, toss together pretzels and almonds.
- In a small saucepan, bring butter, sugar, cayenne, and 1 tablespoon water to a boil, stirring constantly. Pour over pretzel mixture in bowl; gently toss to combine.
- Spread pretzel mixture in a single layer on prepared sheet. Bake until almonds are crisp, about 20 minutes, tossing occasionally. Cool on sheet before serving. (To store, keep at room temperature, up to 5 days.)
Crunchy Cereal Trail Mix
- ¼ cup Cheerios
- 1 tablespoon pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
- 2 teaspoons raisins
- 2 teaspoons semisweet mini chocolate chips
- Combine Cheerios, pepitas, raisins and chocolate chips in a small bowl.
Serves 1, each serving contains Calories 98, Fat 3 g, Cholesterol 0 mg, Carbohydrates 17 g, Protein 2 g, Finer 2 g, Sodium 78 mg.
Party Mix with a Kick
- 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- 2 tsp. garlic powder
- 2 tsp. onion powder
- 3 tbsp. honey
- 3 c. cereal
- 1 c. mini pretzels
- 10 c. popped popcorn
- 1 c. unsalted peanuts
- ¼ c. wasabi-coated dried peas
- Make stovetop popcorn by putting ½ cup popcorn kernels and 2 tablespoons canola, vegetable, or coconut oil into a large, deep pot. Cover tightly and cook over medium-high heat until kernels just begin to pop, 3 to 4 minutes. Give pot a firm up-and-down shake every 30 seconds or so. When popping has almost subsided, remove pot from heat.
- Preheat oven to 250°F. In a small bowl, whisk together 3 tablespoons water, Worcestershire, salt, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, and honey. In a large bowl, mix cereal, pretzels, popcorn, peanuts, and wasabi peas (if using), then pour spice blend over top and toss to coat.
- Transfer to a large baking sheet and bake, stirring every 15 minutes or so, until mixture is barely dry, about 50 minutes. Let cool completely before serving.