Fighter Pilot Trail Mix

When I was in school I would always get hungry during second period–10am. In order to hold myself over until lunch which was at 12:45 I would pack a snack to eat during or after class. One of my favorite snacks was trail mix. We used to buy a big container of mixed nuts from Costco in Tokyo, but now I like to make my own trail mix based on the nuts I like and the mix-ins that are healthy and taste good (: My dad also loves trail mix, he usually has a handful or two after dinner as his dessert if there aren’t any brownies (which we rarely have). I made him a trail mix for his recent trip to India because I knew he would like to eat it on the plane while catching up on all the movies. In honor of my dad, a retired Navy jet pilot, this trail mix is called Fighter Pilot Trail Mix.

Trail Mix

I love mixing the sweet fruit with the salty nuts. It’s a perfect combination. Sometimes I buy trail mix from the bulk section of my grocery store (Central Market) or I get a variety of nuts, seeds and other mix-ins. I’ve noticed that a lot of trail mixes at Whole Foods are mostly dried fruits and candy or yogurt pieces, which I don’t like because its too much added sugar. I prefer a nut based trail mix with fewer mix-ins. However, Whole Foods does have one good, low dried-fruit trail mix called Cape Cod that is predominantly roasted cashews and almonds with dried cranberries. Its delicious!

What’s the key to a good & healthy trail mix?  Fill it with nuts, seeds and low sugar dried fruits. Don’t over fill it with chocolate pieces, or other candies because chances are those are going to be the first things you reach for when you grab a handful. When making a trail mix, I like to use a combination of salted and unsalted nuts as well as raw and roasted. I also like to add organic dried cranberries, and sometimes mini dark chocolate chips.

First things first, gather your favorite ingredients.


Equal Amounts of:

– Roasted cashews, almonds, pecans, marcona and walnuts

– 1/4 cup macadamia nuts and peanuts

– 1/4 cup sunflower or pumpkin seeds

– 1/3 cup dried cranberries

– 1/2 cup banana chips

– Rice cracker crunches (pictured below)

– 1/3 cup dark chocolate covered blueberries (acai berries are also good)


Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl and transfer to an airtight container.

My favorite trail mix:

Equal parts: roasted walnuts, raw almonds, roasted cashews

1/3 cup pistachios

1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

1/3 cup dried cranberries or raisins

1/4 cup peanuts

1/4 cup peanut butter chips.





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