Trail mix traditionally has a good balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, making it a perfect snack for runners. It’s easy to throw together and portable for the long trail ahead (or stays good in the car to snack on when you return). And DIY trail mix gives you so much more variety than what you can buy in the store. All you have to do is mix and match your ingredients, which were curated with the help of registered dietitian Melissa Lanes.
The Components of DIY Trail Mix
Seeds, Nuts, Legumes
This group has a good source of protein and fat, if salted, can help to replenish lost electrolytes. “They’ve got a ton of vitamins and minerals, and a lot of them tend to be a great source of fiber as well,” adds Lanes.
Try: Pumpkin seeds, pistachios, Brazil nuts, almonds, cashews, peanuts, fava beans, roasted edamame, roasted chickpeas, pecans, sunflower seeds
Oats and Grains
To avoid GI distress, aim for simple carbohydrates like pretzels or cereal before a run. “After the workout,” says Lanes, “you can focus more on the complex version of carbs, more like your whole grains or your oats.”
Try: Cheerios, Corn Chex, rolled oats, granola, pretzels
Fruit is another form of simple carbohydrates you can rely on to boost energy and flavor.
Try: Apricots, banana chips, mango, tart cherries, pineapple
Toss in these sweeteners, spices, and sauces to push your mix to either side of the sweet or savory scale.
Try: Dark chocolate chips, coconut flakes, vanilla extract, white chocolate chips, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, garlic powder, black pepper, rosemary, thyme, oregano
Favorite DIY Trail Mix Combinations
Try one of these delicious trail mix combos from Lanes. (Note: A serving size is ¼ to ¾ cup.) Each should be stored in an airtight container for no longer than two weeks.
This recipe is perfect for a post-workout replenishment. “Pineapple contains the enzyme bromelain,” says Lanes, “which may help to decrease muscle soreness and injury after exercise.”
Mix 3 parts cashews, walnuts, unsweetened dried pineapple, and rolled oats with 1 part coconut flakes and Brazil nuts. Toss in vanilla extract. Add white chocolate chips.
Mix equal parts of roasted edamame, roasted chickpeas, roasted almonds, Wheat Chex, and sunflower seeds. Tip: If roasting edamame, chickpeas, and almonds at home, toss in egg whites prior to roasting and sprinkle with rosemary, thyme, and oregano.
Mix 3 parts shelled pistachios, pecans, pumpkin seeds, and dried tart cherries (rich in polyphenols that are associated with decreasing stress and inflammation) with 1 part dark chocolate chips.
The Packed Snack
Mix 2 parts pretzels and Corn Chex with 1 part peanuts and unsweetened dried mango. Bonus: “For a powerful punch of flavor, mix Worcestershire sauce with paprika, garlic powder, and black pepper, then toss,” says Lanes.
Fruity Fiber Mix
Mix 3 parts Honey Nut Cheerios with 1 part unsweetened dried apricots, banana chips, pumpkin seeds, and yogurt-covered almonds.