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FOOD HOLIDAY: National Trail Mix Day

Today is National Trail Mix Day. While the concept of mixing nuts and dried fruit has been popular for millennia, “trail mix” as a concept for a modern, portable energy snack is relatively new.

The term refers to a mixture of high-energy foods such as dried fruit and nuts, combined with other tasty additions. Commonly added ingredients include chocolate morsels or M&Ms, sunflower or pumpkin seeds, and breakfast cereals including granola.

One of the early trail mix products was called Gorp, an acronym for “Good Old Raisins and Peanuts” or “Granola, Oats, Raisins and Peanuts.”


Buy it or make your own. Photo courtesy Vital Choice.


According to Wikipedia, two California firms, Hadley Fruit Orchards and Harmony Foods, claim that trail mix was invented in 1968 by two California surfers, who blended peanuts and raisins together for an energy snack.

But it happened more than ten years earlier. Trail mix is mentioned in Jack Kerouac’s 1958 novel, The Dharma Bums, when characters plan meals for for a hiking trip. To make it into a book published in 1958, it needed to be around a few years earlier. Variations of portable energy food have been carried by mankind since the beginning.


A mix from Comfort Crunch. Photo by Hannah
Kaminsky | THE NIBBLE


Trail mix is preferred as a snack especially by hikers and campers because it is lightweight, easily portable and requires no refrigeration. It’s a delicious, better for you snack at home, school, work and in lunch bags everywhere.


  • Candy: carob chips, chocolate chips/chunks, M&M’s, mini marshmallows, Reese’s Pieces, toffee, yogurt clusters
  • Cereal: Cheerios, Corn Flakes, granola, rolled oats
  • Dried fruits: apples, apricots, banana chips, blueberries, cherries, coconut, cranberries (Craisins), dates, mangoes, raisins
  • Exotica: crystallized ginger, Japanese rice crackers, sesame sticks, wasabi peas
  • Legumes: peanuts, soybeans
  • Nuts: almonds, cashews, pecans, pistachios, walnuts or other favorite
  • Salty snacks: mini crackers, pretzels, sesame sticks
  • Seeds: chia, pumpkin seeds (pepitas), sunflower seeds

    Keep experimenting with ingredients and proportions until you have your “signature” trail mix recipe. Then consider it as general gifts and stocking stuffers.


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