If you’re looking for a protein trail mix with a more balanced protein to fat ratio, the search is over. This homemade trail mix has roughly the same protein and fat in every serving. And it can be customized to be even higher in protein.
This guide to making protein trail mix will give you a ton of ingredient options and ideas. Let’s hit the trail!
Protein Trail Mix Ingredients
This is a starting point. You can customize your homemade trail mix with just about any nuts, seeds, and other goodies. I’ll give you the core ingredients first, followed by some great low calorie trail mix alternatives.
The Core Ingredients for Protein Trail Mix
- Roasted Pistachios
- Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
- Dry Roasted Edamame
Pistachios are one of the best nuts for protein, and pumpkin seeds are the seed equivalent. The wildcard here is roasted edamame, which is kind of a superstar.
An ounce of dry roasted edamame has 14 grams of protein, 9 grams of carbs, 6 grams of fiber, 5 grams of fat, and 130 calories. Compare that to an ounce of pistachios, which has 6 grams of protein, 8 grams of carbs, 3 grams of fiber, 13 grams of fat, and 160 calories.
While most high protein trail mix options are high in fat, ingredients like these make it possible to keep the total fat and calories under control. I have a guide to the highest protein nuts and seeds, if you’re looking for a 1 to 20 ranking.
In addition to the Big 3, the recipe calls for roasted and salted cashews, white chocolate chips, and dried raspberries. White chocolate pistachios, in my opinion, is one of the all time great flavor combinations. But again, feel free to customize with dark chocolate and dried cherries or any other flavor combination you’d like.
Making Lower Fat Trail Mix
Cashews have a similar nutrition profile to pistachios (with slightly less protein), but they provide a great buttery mouthfeel that works well with the crunchy and slightly dry edamame and pumpkin seeds. If you’re looking to make an extra low fat protein trail mix, you change ratios to include fewer nuts and more edamame and pumpkin seeds.
Other Low Calorie Trail Mix Ingredients
To piggy back on the removing nuts to save fat and calories in your protein trail mix, here’s a handful of ideas for other low calorie options:
- Dry Roasted Green Peas
- Crunchy Roasted Green Beans
- Winter Squash Seeds
- Roasted Lentils
- Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas
What a time to be alive! You can find dry roasted or dehydrated versions of nearly any seed, nut, legume, fruit, or vegetable. The possibilities are endless, and swapping traditional high fat nuts for low fat, high fiber options like these greatly improve the nutrition profile of your homemade trail mix.
More Healthy Trail Mix Ideas
Now to the fun stuff. Just keep in mind, the better your core ingredients, the more fun you get to have with the fixin’s.
I have a recipe for making granola with protein powder that would work great in this protein trail mix. The recipe includes 4 variations—classic cinnamon, chocolate peanut butter, Butterfinger, and pumpkin spice—so you can keep things interesting.
If you don’t want to make your own, keep an eye on the fat content of nearly every “protein” granola on shelves. Marketers have a field day with it just like protein trail mix claims. Adding a gram of protein to high fat, high calorie granola doesn’t help!
Healthy Candy Options
Similar to all the dry roasted seeds, fruits, and vegetables these days, you can find all kinds of lower calorie candy alternatives. Maybe you can find a substitute for the trail mix staple M&M’s or go crazy with lower sugar gummy bears and sour candies.
Just be careful to avoid the “organic” or “health food” trap where products may look healthier than their original counterpart, when in reality they have just as many (or more) calories.
It may be helpful to see all the candy options in a category together to pick the nutrition profile you need. Friend of the blog, Matt Rosenman of Cheat Day Design, puts together helpful nutrition guides like this. Check out his candy bar nutrition rankings, for example.
Chopped Protein Bars
If you have a go-to bar that would lend itself well to going in a protein trail mix, go for it.
Just make sure it’s shelf stable once it’s out of its packaging.
I love adding a little black pepper and dried lemon zest to this recipe. You could also go totally different directions. And adding a seasoning blend from something like a cajun trail mix would alleviate the need for chocolate chips and dried fruit, saving carbs and calories.
Final Tips for the Trail
Assemble low fat, high protein core ingredients and add fixin’s as you see fit. That’s about it.
Hopefully I’ve inspired you to start making your own protein trail mix blends at home. I’m super excited to see what you come up with and use your own ideas in my own future blends. Be sure to let me know about your batches in the comments below or in a recipe review!
- 1 C (112g) Roasted and Salted Shelled Pistachios
- 1 C (90g) Roasted Edamame
- 1/2 C (60g) Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
- 1/4 C (30g) Roasted and Salted Cashews
- 2 oz Lily's White Chocolate Chips
- 1/4 C (40g) Dried Cranberries
- Optional: Black Pepper, Dried Lemon or Orange Zest, and Other Seasonings
- Mix everything together and store in an air tight container at room temperature.
Other higher protein, lower fat options include crunchy roasted chickpeas, green peas, lentils, sesame or hemp seeds, and other roasted legumes and seeds.
You can also tweak ratios for better macros. More edamame and pumpkin seeds + fewer cashews and pistachios = more protein and less fat.
Try experimenting with different flavors. For example, wasabi roasted peas + toasted sesame seeds + chili roasted pistachios. Or honey roasted nuts + chili roasted pistachios for a sweet and salty combo.
See the post above for more ingredient substitution ideas.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 14 Serving Size: 1/4 cup (about 28g)
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 140Total Fat: 9gCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 4gProtein: 8g