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Popcorn Trail Mix

Popcorn Trail Mix

Our favorite thing about trail mix is that you can customize it so, clearly, our version would be popcorn trail mix to include our favorite snack.

Trail mix is usually some combination of nuts, dried fruit and candy such as chocolate chips or M&M’s. It gets its name, trail mix, because it’s considered a good snack to take on hikes. In fact, it dates back to the early 20th century when a well known outdoorsman recommended it in a camping guide.

After all, it’s light, easily stored in a little baggie and the ingredients are designed to provide the carbs needed for a boost of energy and the fat and protein needed to keep that energy level going.

But you don’t need to be planning a big hiking trip to make and enjoy trail mix. Most of us have busy, over-scheduled lives and don’t always have a chance to sit down to a healthy snack. It’s so easy to grab potato chips, cookies or candy bars when we’re running low on time and energy. We know it’s not ideal but it’s fast and easy.

The good news about trail mix is that it’s also fast and easy. Just a little bit of prep work at the start of the week and you’ll have bags ready to grab whenever you need.

But even better than the healthy practicality of it, trail mix is completely customizable. We like to set up a row of empty bags and then grab all the fixings out of the pantry. Then each bag is filled to each family member’s personal preference.

Nuts provide both protein and healthy fats but the choice of nut is totally up to you. We’ve included cashews, almonds, walnuts and pistachios in our favorite mix but no nut choice is wrong. Love hazelnuts? Toss them in there. If peanuts are your thing, load ’em up.

You can rely on the needed sugars just from the dried fruit and omit any candy completely. But that’s not really a lot of fun, is it? A little chocolate goes a long way to making us happy so we like to toss in whatever chips we have in the baking cupboard. Sometimes a few peanut butter or caramel chips end up in there but it’s all good.

You can buy pre-made trail mix but then you have to settle for whichever choices the manufacturer made. By making your own, each ingredient will be one of your favorites. Not to mention that each family member can pick and choose. Raisins are the most common dry fruit and we’ve included them in our recipe. But if you have raisin haters in the family, try dried cranberries or dried apricots. If you want a little more bulk, add some of your favorite granola. We’re definitely seed lovers so pumpkin and sunflower seeds are a must for us.

And don’t forget a satisfying crunch. You can include pretzels but our favorite crunchy snack is our popcorn and everyone around here wants in included in their bags. We do, however, suggest you add the popcorn on the day you’re planning to eat the mix to prevent it from getting soft and losing that great crunch we all love.

Hikes, road trips or just plain old every day business are all great reasons to grab a bag of our trail mix.

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