Trail Mix Trifecta: 3-Ingredient Recipes Under 100 Calories

Fitness Tips

Trail Mix Trifecta: 3-Ingredient Recipes Under 100 Calories

When making trail mix, you can’t go wrong with the classic equation of dried fruit + nut or seed + grain, but don’t be afraid to experiment with whatever combinations your heart desires. Just keep in mind the nutritional values, particularly the calorie, fat, protein, sugar and salt content, of the ingredients you choose so you can give your mix a healthy balance.

Trail Mix Trifecta

As you select ingredients, you want to consider the overall nutrition of each component. To keep things simple, rank ingredients by calorie content. Use a 1-2-3 ratio where you start with a small amount of the highest-calorie ingredient, then add twice that amount of the next calorific ingredient, then three times as much of the lowest-calorie ingredient.

You can also add small amounts of flavorful ingredients, such as spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, ground ginger, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, curry and cumin are all good choices), dried herbs or grated cheese to add more flavor.

For example, let’s say you’re making the following:

GORP mix (Good Ol’ Raisins and Peanuts)

dry-roasted peanuts + raisins + bran flakes

Per one cup, peanuts have 854 calories, raisins have 494 calories, and bran flakes have 123 calories. You can use the 1-2-3 ratio to get a well-balanced trail mix:

½ cup peanuts
+
1 cup raisins
+
1 ½ cup bran flakes
=
92 calories per ¼ cup serving

During a vigorous hike, you could eat ½ cup of this mix and it would still be a reasonable 182 calories.


Try these adventurous recipes, all under 100 calories per ¼ cup serving:

Sunrise Mix

cashews + dried apricots + honey-toasted oat cereal

½ cup cashews (786 calories/cup)
+
1 cup dried apricots (381 calories/cup)
+
1 ½ cup honey-toasted oat cereal (120 calories/cup)
=
80 calories per ¼ cup serving


Pecan Pie Mix

pecan halves + chopped dates + granola

½ cup pecans (684 calories/cup)
+
1 cup chopped dates (502 calories/cup)
+
1 ½ cup low-fat granola (210 calories/cup)
=
97 calories per ¼ cup serving


Jolt Mix

dark chocolate-covered espresso beans + cocoa roasted almonds + freeze-dried raspberries

½ cup dark chocolate-covered espresso beans (821 calories/cup)
+
1 cup cocoa roasted almonds (600 calories/cup)
+
1 ½ cup freeze-dried raspberries (100 calories/cup)
=
97 calories per ¼ cup serving


Italian Mix

pine nuts + Italian seasoned whole wheat croutons + baked garlic kale chips

½ cup pine nuts (909 calories/cup)
+
1 cup croutons (186 calories/cup)
+
1 ½ cup baked kale chips (153 calories/cup)
=
73 calories per ¼ cup serving


Protein Power Mix

smoked almonds + beef jerky + roasted chickpeas

½ cup smoked almonds (825 calories/cup)
+
1 cup chopped beef jerky (369 calories/cup)
+
1 ½ cup roasted chickpeas (268 calories/cup)
=
99 calories per ¼ cup serving (plus 8g protein!)


Wildfire Mix

spicy peanuts + dried chili-spiced mango + rice cereal

½ cup spicy dry-roasted peanuts (854 calories/cup)
+
1 cup chopped chili mango (317 calories/cup)
+
1 ½ cup rice cereal (101 calories/cup)
=
75 calories per ¼ cup serving

With the wrong components, trail mix can easily turn from a healthy snack into a high-calorie overindulgence. Look for ingredients with minimal added sugar and salt and keep serving sizes at ¼ cup or smaller. If products on the store shelf – particularly granola and dried fruit – are packed full of sweets and salt, try making your own.

Once you start, it’s easy to keep munching on a good trail mix well beyond the quarter cup serving size. To keep yourself from eating more than you intend, portion the mix out into ¼ cup servings in their own containers. After eating one serving, wait at least 20 minutes before reaching for seconds. The buffer time will give your body the chance to register the calorie-dense snack and signal to your brain whether you’re still hungry.

Make mindful choices about what goes into your trail mix and you’ll have the perfect snack to power you through your next hike.

Note, the nutritional content listed here is approximate. If you have dietary restrictions, please consult a nutritionist.

Author Information

Lauren Holstein
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Originally from New Jersey, Lauren feels right at home in Seattle’s coffee-drinking, outdoorsy, bookworm culture.

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