The term trail mix may not call to mind a flavor-filled snacking experience. For most, it’s synonymous with the standard peanut-and-raisin combination, with any real taste coming from the M&Ms that are invariably thrown in. But with a little imagination, home chefs can create their own mouth-watering combinations, full of some surprisingly tasty ingredients. Here are nine we suggest you try next time you’re craving a crunchy bite.
This nubby fruit—which comes in white, red, and black varieties—tastes much sweeter than it looks, making it the perfect addition to this nut-and-coconut blend from Clean Cuisine. Its anti-aging properties and high iron content offer nice side benefits, too.
2. DRIED CHERRIES
Sweet not your sensation? Then add this tart summer favorite to your mix. This Food Network recipe tosses the fruit with a baked mixture of pumpkin seeds, almond slivers, and sunflower seeds, all drizzled with maple syrup.
3. GOJI BERRIES
Give your mix a health boost with this nutrient-rich superfood, which residents of its native China eat to increase their lifespans. The red-orange berry has a slightly sour taste, which balances out the sweetness of the dried apricots and papayas in this recipe from Food.com.
4. BRAZIL NUTS
These oversize nuts can look intimidating at first glance. But their health benefits—they’re high in protein, healthy fats, and other nutrients like vitamin E—make them worth a try. Plus, you can’t beat their creamy taste. Try tossing them with almonds, pumpkin seeds, and some dried fruit, a la this recipe from The Healthy Chef.
The natural sugar in this deliciously sweet fruit offers a quick boost should you find your energy lagging. That’s why it’s a key ingredient in this healthy pre-workout mix from Lauren Conrad’s blog.
6. CACAO NIBS
These bits of chocolate in its most natural form may not look as appealing as Hershey’s Kisses, but they’re a lot better for you. They're laden with nutrients like iron and magnesium, and can also provide a nice crunch to your trail mix, as in this nut-and-berry superfood mix from Jesse Lane Wellness.
Sure, this classic movie theater treat is delicious on its own, but it can also be tossed with nuts and fruit to make for a healthy midday snack. This recipe from The Kitchn combines freshly popped corn with pistachios, dried apricots, and pineapples, and then drizzles dark chocolate over the whole mix.
8. WASABI PEAS
Looking to add some kick to your trail mix? Then toss in some of these crunchy treats. This offering from Food52 not only includes a tasty recipe featuring such unexpected ingredients as cheese crackers, corn chips, and Sriracha, but instructions on how to make these spicy peas at home as well.
9. NUT BUTTER
Why keep your trail mix traditional? Roasted peanuts and flaxseed meal are blended with shredded coconut to create a homemade nut butter in this interesting spreadable version from the blog The Healthy Foodie. Nuts and pumpkin seeds, thrown in at the end, give the spread a little crunch.
All images via iStock.