Homemade trail mix

I have discovered that there is a crazy balance between the rising cost of trail mix and the ingredients. My friend, Linn Macie, and I have spent much time reading the ingredient lists on the packages of commercially prepared and packaged trail mixes. The ingredients would surprise you. Some of them are not too bad but others when doing a price comparison is a real shocker. The price of nuts, for example, has really risen over the past year or so. Some nuts have risen more than others. As such, the balance of nuts in the the various trail mixes has go askew some using other nuts as cheap fillers instead of what was previously being used. You really have to read the labels when doing your price comparison.

All of this being said, however, I have found that my children do not like certain things at all. I have also found that they like other things that do not come in the traditional trail mixes that you can buy off the shelves. If you can find them, they are in some and not in others. At any rate, buying a big bag of trail mix can get costly, especially if you are buying multiple bags to suit everyone’s tastes and meet the minimum like and dislike ratios.

As an experiment several months back right after I found out that my kids really did not favor two of the most common ingredients found in many of the traditional packaged trail mixes, I bought the basic ingredients that they did like. I will be up front, and admit that this was not cheaper than buying the large bag of prepackaged trail mix off the store shelf. I bought a box of raisins, a can of almonds, a can of peanuts, a jar honey roasted peanuts, a can of cashews, and a bag of M&M candies. I took a large mixing bowl and I dumped all the ingredients into the bowl, making sure that I broke apart all of the raisins. In the end, I probably did end up with about 100% more trail mix than I would have had ended up with if I had dumped out the bag of prepackaged trail mix (which I had also bought).

I then sat there and scooped the trail mix into individual snack sized baggies in 1/2 cup servings. I also scooped the prepackaged trail mix into the baggies (which I had previously been doing anyway) into 1/2 cup servings. I threw them together into the school lunch drawers. I watched what happened. To my surprise, the “homemade” trail mix disappeared faster. I was not entirely sure why, at first. I repeated even though it was a little more costly to do it this way. At least the kids were getting what they wanted and it was producing more product. I repeated. This time, however, I knew I did not need to buy the prepackaged trail mix again.

Eventually, I did learn that the children did not like almonds. At least two of them did not like almonds. Who would have guessed? I had never thought about it. The prepackaged trail mix had almonds in it and they had never outright complained about it. They did complain about the sesame seeds, but never the almonds. So in spite of my husband’s like for almonds, the trail mix would not have almonds anymore. That would save me some money making it in the future.

The trail mix I have been making for the boys for their lunches and snacks, has evolved over the several months. It has grown from just raisins. I have found that the boys like more fruit in their trail mix than they lead me to believe initially. We have grown to banana chips, raisins, golden raisins, tart cherries, pineapple, dried apples, and sometimes craisins. We have also evolved on the types of M&M candies the boys prefer. Traditional M&Ms are just fine, but the boys like the Pretzel M&Ms so we use those too.

I have had to move up in size of bowl that I use when making the trail mix. With the addition of the fruits, it goes mega size on the amounts that it makes. I cannot say that I can complain about that. The kids and my husband love it. Unfortunately, due to some digestive issues I avoid the nuts. This particular batch was skimpy on the nuts. I should have had double the amount of nuts I had. The kids have let me know that. Oh well. Next time I will have more.

I use cashew pieces as they are usually cheaper and they get broken up in the mixing process often anyway. The kids prefer the honey roasted peanuts, so I typically buy those, but I will throw in a thing of dry roasted peanuts if I have them or they are better priced.

The best part about the moister dried fruits is that it picks up the salts from the peanuts and nuts and it saves that salty flavor. You have your sweet and salty flavor together.

In this batch was the first time I had used the dried apples and they really picked up the salt.

Here are my individual bags of 1/2 cup servings. Lots of them. The top picture the drawer is double layered. The bottom drawer is only what you see there. This will last us a little while. The kids love this. It makes a great snack and they love to have it in their lunches at school.

I can honestly say that I am not sad about not buying prepackaged trail mixes any more. I do not have to worry about what is in them anymore. I know. It only takes a few minutes to put together and mix up. It does take a little bit longer to bag it all, but it does not take much longer than bagging the large bag of the prepackaged stuff which I was doing anyway.

If you are fed up with the ingredients list of your trail mix, you should give it a try. Give your children exactly what they like.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.