Looking for suggestions on how to choose a healthy trail mix that will actually taste good? If so, you've come to the right place! Some people buy trail mixes because they think these snacks are healthier, but many actually are not. It can take a little work to find a trail mix that's satisfying, tasty, and good for you.
We searched the net for the best healthy trail mixes, and the Heart Healthy Blend from Orchard Valley Harvest is our favorite. These packs are delicious, contain healthy ingredients, and come in single-serve pouches. Check out the rest of our 10 favorites for more healthy trail mixes! If you want to know how to choose a healthy trail mix that will taste great and suit your diet, don't miss our buying guide below, reviewed by a registered dietitian.
Rachel Binkley is a registered dietitian who helps individuals develop healthy habits that fit into their lifestyle. She recommends adequate intakes of all micronutrients to help prevent deficiency as well as chronic conditions that may arise. You can keep up with her recipes, lifestyle, and more on Instagram or her blog, S'more Satisfaction.
mybest US' editing team consists of experienced members who have backgrounds in writing, editing, translation, and more. We are dedicated to researching what makes a product or service the best to users in the US in order to create top-quality articles. From skincare, to kitchen appliances, and to DIY supplies, our mission is to find the best ones for you.
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Table of Contents
When it comes to healthy trail mixes, pay close attention to the nutrition facts and ingredients. It's also important to choose the right types of sugars, sweeteners, and seasonings or flavors. You might also want to consider packaging that can help with portion control or options that make portability more convenient.
Not all ingredients are created equal! Some are nutrient-dense, while others are heavier in sugar, sodium, and trans fat. You will also find that some trail mixes have a better balance of protein, fiber, and healthy oils or fats.
The most common types of nuts and seeds in trail mixes are almonds, cashews, peanuts, walnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds. No matter what nut or seed it is, it's a good idea to choose roasted and unglazed nuts and seeds to avoid added oils and sugars.
Nuts are high in monounsaturated fats, omega-3s, and omega-6s, whereas seeds are high in fiber, protein, calcium, magnesium, and zinc.
However, if you have nut allergies you'll want to stick with a trail mix that only contains seeds or doesn't contain the nuts you're allergic to. It's also important to read the labels to see if nut-free trail mixes were processed in facilities where exposure to nuts is possible.
Many studies have found that eating nuts and seeds regularly can help control cholesterol levels, reduce inflammation, and improve blood pressure. This means they help reduce the risk of getting cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Trail mix often contains a combination of dried fruits and other sweet ingredients along with protein-rich ingredients like nuts and seeds. While these fruits are great for a quick burst of energy while doing intense activities like hiking or exercising, you'll want to watch your intake if your everyday life isn't as active.
It would be ideal to choose a mix with little to no added sugar. Many of our options include 5 grams or less added sugar, so you could use that as a benchmark. If it's difficult to find that type of trail mix, we recommended picking one made with cane sugar instead of white sugar as it's less processed.
Most natural dried fruits are considered healthy because they're rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. However, if they contain too much added sugar, it takes away from the health factor. Opt for fruits that are dried without added sugar when possible.
If you have diabetes, it's a good idea to moderate your intake of bananas, mangoes, and pineapples. Ideally, these should be combined with a source of protein or healthy fats to help slow blood sugar spikes. Keep track of the other carbohydrate sources you're consuming throughout your day to prevent eating too much at once. When in doubt, consult your physician!
If you think the flavor of nuts, seeds, and fruits is too plain, you may want to consider chocolate bites or cacao nibs to add a different taste and texture to your trail mix. Dark chocolate is a healthier option than milk chocolate because it contains less sugar. Try to stay away from candy-coated chocolate, like M&M's, because they're packed with sugar.
Most trail mixes contain oils; however, it's better to stay away from partially hydrogenated oil. This oil is made by adding hydrogen to vegetable oils to increase the shelf life.
Partially hydrogenated oil is high in trans fat, which can increase LDL (bad) cholesterol and decrease HDL (good) cholesterol levels. This could eventually lead to the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and stroke in serious cases.
Healthier trail mixes contain nuts roasted with more heart-healthy oils like extra virgin olive and avocado varieties. Oils that are better for you contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Unsaturated fats are thought to help decrease LDL cholesterol levels.
Recommendations for calories and nutrition depend on your body size and activity level. Trail mixes are a high-calorie snack, so it's a good idea to choose a product that contains low sugar and carbohydrates. Fiber and protein are also important to fill you up and prevent overeating.
The recommended added sugar intake per day is 36 grams for men and 25 grams for women. However, American adults consume approximately 77 grams of sugar per day, which is three times more than the recommendation. If you choose a trail mix with added sugar or sweetener, try to follow the suggested serving size to avoid excessive sugar consumption.
In general, trail mixes with dried fruits or added sugar contain about 10 to 15 grams of sugar per serving, whereas products without dried fruits have only seven to eight grams. Some might contain sources of sugar like honey or maple syrup.
Honey can be a good source of antioxidants, but only if it's raw honey. Maple syrup also contains antioxidants, but both honey and maple syrup are still primarily sources of sugar, and are better avoided. If sugar is your main concern, it's a good idea to choose products that contain mainly natural mixed nuts since these are often low in sugar.
Also, check the nutrition label to see if the sodium content per serving is below 300 milligrams. You can also look at the list of ingredients to see if items like sea salt are there. While you can expect trail mixes to contain some sodium, it's better to get the majority of your flavor from lower-sodium seasonings.
Hidden sources of fat can also be an issue in trail mixes. For most adults, about 25 to 35 percent of your daily calories should come from fat. Nuts, seeds and chocolate pieces can be high in fat. Try to stick to the serving size and make sure the fat grams per serving represent 25 to 35 percent of the calories per serving.
Instead of artificial ingredients and fillers, you want a trail mix with a good balance of protein, fiber, and healthy fats. Many people use trail mix to refuel and maintain energy levels while hiking or exercising outdoors. Protein not only helps muscle growth but also helps muscles repair themselves after strenuous activities.
Besides keeping you full, fiber aids with digestion. Fiber can also help control blood sugar levels and lower cholesterol. Healthy fats can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke, keep your blood pressure in check, and lower triglycerides. Trail mixes that contain protein, fiber, and healthy fats are more nutrient-dense, meaning your body will get more use out of those calories.
You can follow the suggested serving size on the trail mix's package, but more fiber will make you feel satiated and additional protein will help with muscle growth and immune health.
Many trail mixes contain a sweet and salty combination of nuts, seeds, and dried fruits. However, some products offer different flavors like yogurt, chocolate, jerky, and spicy snacks.
When it comes to healthy trail mixes, natural flavors are your safest option to avoid high sodium and sugar levels. This doesn't mean all flavored trail mixes are bad, but it depends on the ingredients.
Yogurt-covered snacks may sound healthy. However, many of them are made with sugar and palm oil, which are ingredients you should avoid. Some studies link palm oil to an increased risk of heart disease and LDL cholesterol levels. Instead, choose one that is made with probiotic yogurt or Greek yogurt for extra nutrition.
If you want jerky, try to avoid teriyaki or sweet flavors. These are often made with a lot of sugar. If you're trying to cut back on added sugars, black pepper-flavored jerky can be a great alternative.
Trail mix can come in snack-size portions and packaging or larger sizes. For larger portions, resealable packaging can be a convenient option. However, you'll find a variety of packaging in the form of resealable bags and canisters. Snack-size portions usually come in separate packaging you can tear open. These smaller portions are also usually wrapped individually and sold as a boxed collection.
Some people find that individual plastic packaging helps them with portion control and it's convenient to throw away. At the same time, others find individual packaging to be wasteful. Larger resealable bags help keep the product fresh and you can always grab a handful or measure out your serving sizes. Some of these bags have a large number of servings while others are more limited. Bags are also easy to fit into backpacks and coolers.
Canisters are less portable and can take up more cupboard space. But some people find they can repurpose them after the trail mix is gone. They may be easier to recycle or use for other purposes like growing herbs and small plants indoors.
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Orchard Valley Harvest
Healthy Trail Mix Snack Packs
Best Versatile Mix in Single-Serving Packets
Mega Omega Trail Mix
Best for Heart-Healthy Ingredients
NUT-rition Heart Healthy Mix
Best for Beef Jerky Fans
Chocolate Raisin Nut Trail Mix
Best for Basic Nuts and Fruit
Best Organic Variety Pack
Raw Superfood Trail Mix - The Works
Best Mix With No Added Sugar
Best for Vegan Protein
Non-GMO Cashew Almond Pistachio Blend
Best Mix With Banana Chips and Extra Vitamins
Seed & Fruit Mix - Beach Bash
Best for Those With Nut Allergies
Keto Nut Granola Trail Mix
Best for Dark Chocolate Lovers
This product is best for those who prefer all-natural ingredients and want to practice portion control. Each bag contains eight one-ounce packets with 150 calories each. This also makes them ideal for on-the-go lunches and travel.
Some reviewers noted that the mix tasted bland and didn't like the chickpeas. But overall, most reviewers agreed that the trail mix made for a crunchy, healthy snack. A few used the mix as a salad topping in place of croutons. Most appreciated the freshness of the product.
This mix is best for heart-healthy and anti-inflammatory ingredients. Walnuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, while almonds are high in polyunsaturated fat and pumpkin seeds contain monounsaturated oleic acid. Thus, they help to improve blood cholesterol levels, which can reduce the risk of heart disease.
Most reviewers said it offers the right balance of sweet, sour, and salty. They liked that the crunchy texture of the nuts goes really well with the chewy texture of dried fruits. Other reviewers said this product makes a perfect high-energy snack.
Oberto's original beef jerky trail mix has a little bit of everything, including chocolate, dried fruit, and nuts. This trail mix provides 12 grams of protein per serving. Plus, you'll get eight percent of your daily value of iron!
Some didn't like the combination of flavors and textures, but most buyers said they liked the salty-sweet flavor, and loved that this trail mix made for a healthy on-the-go snack. Some also relied on this trail mix as a meal replacement when they were short on time.
This mix is best for people who prefer trail mixes with few ingredients. It contains almonds, cashews, and dried cranberries. Each serving size comes in a small individual packet, making it an ideal grab-and-go snack.
A few people didn't like that the mix contained sugar. However, most buyers appreciated the portion size of the product and enjoyed the taste. They thought the mix had the right amount of nuts and fruit. Others remarked that the mix made a great addition to yogurt.
This trail mix contains three different flavors with cranberries, pumpkin seeds, almonds and walnuts. To that base, each adds a variation; one with sunflower seeds and raisins, one with Brazil nuts, and the last with pecans. All the ingredients are organic and these mixes come in convenient single-serve packages.
Some reviewers complained that they thought the mixes tasted stale, bland, or too sweet. But overall, most people liked the combination of ingredients and the snack-size packages. Some people used the trail mix as toppings for ice cream or yogurt. Others remarked that the mixes became their go-to healthy snack.
This product is free from artificial ingredients and preservatives. It contains nutrient-rich fruits like goji berries and white mulberries that are sun-dried and naturally sweet. The mix is a good source of calcium, iron and potassium without any added sugars, oils or salt.
A few reviewers thought the mix was too bland and the fruit textures weren't soft enough. However, most reviewers said it has a nice balance of sweet and tart. They like the variety of healthy ingredients and the fresh, crunchy nuts. Additionally, they said it pairs well with milk and makes a great topping for yogurt and oatmeal.
This healthy trail mix is best for getting added protein into your diet. It has a balance of sweet dried raisins and tart cherries, anti-inflammatory pumpkin seeds, cashews, almonds and peanuts. It also has no sodium per serving.
Some reviewers thought there were too many raisins and peanuts in the mix. Nonetheless, most reviewers appreciated the balance of tastes between the fruits and nuts. They didn't think the mix was too salty and thought the taste remained fresh.
This trail mix contains dried cranberries and bananas for sweetness, along with pistachios and cashews, all lightly salted. It's a great source of copper, magnesium and manganese, and also has good amounts of potassium and iron.
A handful of reviewers did not think the amount of each ingredient was proportionate. However, most buyers were impressed with the mix's fresh taste and liked that it did not have raisins. They said it was hard not to eat the entire bag in one sitting!
This trail mix is best for those who want a nut-free option. It's made in a nut-free, gluten-free facility and also doesn't use any other major allergens like dairy or soy. The mix contains sunflower and pumpkin seeds, dried fruit, and chocolate chips for added sweetness. The lack of nuts means it's also a school-safe snack.
Some reviewers were displeased that it has added sugar, and a few others mentioned the chocolate chips were too small. Yet, most reviewers liked that this trail mix did not contain any nuts. They enjoyed the taste and appreciated the small package size. Some mentioned the packs worked well for events, camping trips, and on-the-go snacks.
This mix contains a variety of nuts and large dark chocolate chunks. There's not a lot of sodium per serving, but there are some added sugars. However, the mix contains potassium, a bit of iron, and some calcium.
Some reviewers complained the chocolate was too sweet. Nonetheless, most reviewers enjoyed the balance of salty and sweet tastes in this mix. The dark chocolate was the main reason they liked the flavors. Some mentioned they needed more willpower to stop themselves from eating too much.
Sometimes store-bought versions of trail mix don't quite make the cut. Thankfully, there are plenty of recipes to help you make healthy trail mix at home from scratch. Be sure to check out this video with a healthy trail mix recipe below.
Snacking isn't a bad habit as long as you pick healthy options. These nutritious snacks come in handy packaging that suits your busy lifestyle!
Need some additional healthy trail mixes or snack and grab packs? Check out Amazon's list of best-selling snacks and trail mixes.
No. 1: Orchard Valley Harvest | Healthy Trail Mix Snack Packs
No. 2: Power Up | Mega Omega Trail Mix
No. 3: Oberto | NUT-rition Heart Healthy Mix
No. 4: Orchard Valley | Chocolate Raisin Nut Trail Mix
No. 5: Nature's Garden | Antioxidant Mix
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