As an avid hiker, I have been making my own yummy trail mix for years. I started bringing it to feeding therapy and found it to be a huge success with my pediatric clients. If you teach kids to make their own trail mix, it nurtures their self-help skills and increases the chances of them eating this healthy snack! With this activity you can inspire them to make different recipes, learn about new tastes, and discover a ratio of ingredients that will please their palate. Here are some tips for making an ezpz trail mix!
Same Ingredients: Trail mix is simple to make, and many of the ingredients you probably already have in the cupboard! It’s also easy to make slight variations of trail mix for different family members. You can give dad a bit more nuts for his mix, mom can have more seeds and the kids may like more candy and/or cereal.
Simple Formula: Use my 5 Ingredient Formula, which includes: Snack, Protein, Fruit, Cereal and Sweets. Start by selecting one ingredient from the first four categories (Snack, Protein, Fruit, Cereal). Then place 1 cup of each ingredient into a large bowl. Add ¼ cup from the sweets category and stir. Ta-da! Here are some ingredient ideas so you can discover YOUR favorite combination:
- Snacks: pretzel sticks, graham crackers, goldfish crackers, cheddar bunnies, puffs, animal crackers, sesame sticks, cheese crackers, pretzels, oyster crackers
- Protein: yogurt melts, beef jerky bites, turkey jerky bites, pistachios, almonds, cashews, peanuts, walnuts, macadamia nuts, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, Chia seeds, hemp seeds, peanut butter crackers, popcorn
- Dried/Freeze Dried Fruit or Veggies: raisins, Goji berries, cranberries, cherries, blueberries, Craisins, coconut, apple chips, banana chips, yogurt raisins, grapes, strawberries, cantaloupe, pomegranate, tangerines, mango, pineapple, corn, peas
- Cereal: Cheerios, Golden Grahams, Wheat Chex, Puffins, granola,crisp cereals, rice cereals, gluten free cereals
- Sweets: M&M’s, dark or milk chocolate chips, marshmallows, peanut butter chips, holiday candy. You can also break apart some of your kid’s favorite candy bars.
Hint - check out the combination we made here. This mix includes Envirokidz Peanut Butter Panda Puffs (2g protein), 365 Organic Classic Salted Popcorn (3g protein), Kirkland Organic Dried Blueberries (1g protein), Newman Organic Spelt Pretzels (4g protein), Pumpkin Seeds (12g protein) and colored chocolates.
Substitute: More schools are going ‘nut free’ to protect children with life threatening nut allergies, so find a nut free trail mix recipe your child loves so they can have it for a school snack. It’s easy to substitute seeds for nuts and still get the salty taste + powerful protein punch!
Snack Bags: Whether you are making trail mix for a sporting event, road trip, hike or an after school snack, I recommend making a large batch and placing the mixture into snack bags. Place them in the pantry for a quick on-the-go snack or for movie night on the couch.
Serving Size: If you are trying to put a little weight on your kiddo, trial mix is an ideal snack since it’s high in calories! When making a batch for the entire family, keep serving sizes to half of a cup for those watching their calorie intake.
Get creating and snacking with the kids, and try my 5 Ingredient Formula for your very own ezpz trail mix. What are some of your trail mix recipes? What protein do you add to your kid’s snack mix? #trailmix #snacks #seeds #ezpzfun
Dawn Winkelmann (M.S, CCC-SLP) is ezpz’s Pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist and Feeding Specialist. She has 28 years of experience teaching parents and medical professionals how to start babies on solids safely and encourage toddlers to overcome picky eating tendencies. In addition, “Ms. Dawn” is the designer of our award-winning feeding products.