Trail mix is one of the most popular snacks available.

Besides being flavorful, filling, and portable, it’s easy to customize based on your personal preferences.

However, many people are unsure whether this popular snack is actually good for you.

This article looks at some of the benefits and downsides of trail mix to determine whether it’s healthy.

Trail mix in a brown bowlShare on Pinterest
Jeff Wasserman/Stocksy United

Trail mix is a snack mix that was originally developed as a portable and convenient snack for hikers.

Although the ingredients can vary, most varieties include granola, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit.

Some types also contain popcorn, cereal, candy, or chocolate chips, along with spices and seasonings like sea salt, garlic powder, thyme, cinnamon, and paprika.

Certain varieties of trail mix may also include sweeteners like honey or maple syrup.

Prepackaged trail mix is widely available at many grocery stores and online retailers.

Alternatively, many recipes are available online, making it easy to prepare your own trail mix at home using your favorite ingredients.


Trail mix is a popular snack mix that can be purchased or made at home using ingredients like granola, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit.

Trail mix offers several potential benefits related to both its portability and nutritional content.

Convenient and customizable

Trail mix is popular for its portability and convenience, making it a great option for on-the-go snacking.

It’s an excellent choice if you’re traveling, hiking, or going on a road trip because it provides good energy and is compact and easy to enjoy.

Plus, it’s easy to customize your trail mix and swap in your favorite ingredients based on your preferences.

This allows you to tailor your trail mix to your taste and experiment with new ingredients to add some diversity to your diet.

High in protein

Trail mix typically contains several high protein ingredients, such as nuts and seeds.

Protein is an important nutrient essential for muscle growth, tissue repair, immune health, and more (1).

Eating more protein may also help support weight loss by reducing your appetite and enhancing feelings of fullness (2, 3).

Good source of heart-healthy fats

The nuts and seeds found in trail mix are rich in heart-healthy fats, including poly- and monounsaturated fatty acids (4).

Studies show that unsaturated fats could decrease high LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, a risk factor for heart disease (5).

Other research also suggests that swapping out refined carbs and saturated fats in your diet for foods high in unsaturated fatty acids may be linked to a lower risk of developing coronary heart disease (6).

Plus, many types of nuts and seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which could help reduce inflammation and protect against various chronic health conditions (7).


Trail mix is a great source of protein and heart-healthy fats. It’s also convenient and easy to customize based on your personal food preferences.

Not all types of trail mix are considered equal in terms of nutrition.

Some varieties are high in unhealthy ingredients like candy, chocolate, or cereal, increasing the calorie and sugar content of each serving.

Added sugar consumption may not only cause weight gain but also contribute to conditions like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and liver problems (8).

Certain types may also be rich in sodium, especially if they contain high sodium seasonings or salted nuts and seeds.

Consuming high amounts of sodium could increase blood pressure levels in some people, especially those who are sensitive to the effects of salt (9).

Furthermore, many ingredients found in trail mix are calorie dense, including nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and chocolate.

Therefore, it’s important to keep your portion sizes in check to avoid overeating and prevent weight gain.


Some types of trail mix may be high in added sugar and sodium. Trail mix also contains many calorie-dense ingredients, so controlling your portion sizes is important.

Although trail mix can be a healthy and convenient addition to a balanced diet, the type of trail mix you select is important.

For starters, be sure to check the nutrition label carefully and steer clear of varieties high in added sugar or sodium.

Ideally, you should also look for products that contain nutrient-dense ingredients like nuts, seeds, and dried fruits and limited amounts of candy or chocolate chips, if any.

Making your own trail mix at home can also allow you to control its contents and maximize its potential health benefits.

Healthy ingredients include almonds, pumpkin seeds, cashews, sunflower seeds, dried fruit, popcorn, and dark chocolate.

You can also boost the flavor even further with spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cayenne pepper.

Regardless of whether you purchase or prepare your trail mix at home, it’s important to monitor your portion sizes to avoid overeating.

One piece of advice to monitor your portion size is to avoid eating straight from the package and sticking to around 1/4 cup (35 grams) at a time for an easy snack on the go.


Be sure to avoid trail mix varieties with high amounts of added sugar or sodium, and choose products with healthy, high quality ingredients. Finally, be sure to monitor your portion sizes.

Trail mix is a popular snack that’s enjoyed for its flavor, versatility, and portability.

It’s not only customizable and convenient but also typically rich in protein and heart-healthy fats.

However, some types may be high in calories, sodium, and added sugar, so it’s important to choose healthy varieties whenever possible.

Additionally, be sure to keep an eye on your portion sizes to avoid overeating and prevent weight gain.