I long to be one of those people who packs a healthy, well-balanced meal when they travel. I have friends who pack lunches for their plane journeys — thinking out which foods will complement others and how it will affect the way they feel mid-flight. I don't do this. Usually I can barely manage to eat a decent breakfast before I get out the door. But what I can do is throw together a trail mix for those flights — one that's been put to the test during quick camping trips, day hikes or longer car rides. And I'm always thankful that I took the few minutes to do so.
Many of you may have tried one (or more) of the trail mixes they sell at Trader Joe's. Most are deluxe versions of the more austere mix I remember as a kid, which was more of a GORP (Good Old Raisins and Peanuts) than anything. At Trader Joe's you'll find blends with toffee almonds and cacao nibs. You'll see pistachios, dried cherries, and white chocolate chips. You'll even see peanut brittle. It's enough to get my wheels spinning, trying to decide what would be in my ideal travel mix.
After a few different experiments, I've happily settled on this tropical trail mix — perfectly balanced with a nice ratio of nuts, seeds, soft fruit, slightly sweet coconut and bits of chocolate. It's at once healthy and tasty, and it's something I look forward to tossing together.
We went camping over Memorial Day weekend and toted a little bag of this along. We had a firm time we wanted to leave the house to avoid weekend traffic and we missed it by a good fifteen minutes, the time it took me to mix and package this trail mix. But once there, when the hike to the campsite started seeming way longer than three miles, I was more than happy that we ended up leaving the house a few minutes late. Whether that meant a little more time in traffic or not.
Deluxe Tropical Trail Mix
Makes about 4 Cups
1 cup puffed quinoa or puffed millet
1/4 cups unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup whole roasted almonds
1/2 cup raw pepitas
1/2 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup dried banana chips (broken in half)
1/4 cup chopped dried mango or papaya
2 tablespoons candied ginger
1/4 cup dark chocolate chunks (or chocolate chips)
In a medium mixing bowl, toss all ingredients together until
Store in an airtight container for up to 1 month or in the refrigerator for a prolonged period of time.
- Feel free to swap in other nuts, dried fruit or grain cereals should you choose. This is merely a template. I've tried this mix with dried cherries instead of the mango, and it's wonderful.
- I happen to really love roasted almonds, so that's what I use here. You'll notice the other nuts are raw. You could certainly toast them if you like, but I find that a good trail mix is one that doesn't set you back too much time. As always, use what you like.
(Images: Megan Gordon)