Are you looking for ideas for nut free trail mix? It's easy to make trail mix without nuts using seeds and dried fruits! My nut free gorp recipe has cocoa-spiced pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, dried apricots, freeze-dried berries, and raisins! Try this nut free trail mix for school, if you have a nut allergy, or simply enjoy it because you want a tasty snack.
School is back in full swing, and the weather is cooling down (at least in some regions). It might be the perfect time to go on a hike or a bike trip with your family.
My family recently completed the lower loop of the self-guided Block Island bike tour. We enjoyed the beautiful views, but it was more challenging than we expected!
When you're out all day enjoying the weather, you'll need to plan something to eat. Often, there aren't many (or any) options when you are on a biking or hiking trail. You need something light, since it will be carried, but also high-energy enough to keep you going strong.
That, my friends, is where a good trail mix (sometimes known as "gorp") comes in. You can buy different trail mixes in the store, but they often contain added sugar or other ingredients you want to limit.
Luckily, it is super easy to make your own trail mix blend that contains all your favorite mix-ins. Though GORP is said to stand for "Good Ole Raisins and Peanuts," you can even make gorp peanut-free.
- What are the benefits of nut free trail mix?
- Ingredients for Trail Mix without Nuts
- How to Make Nut Free Trail Mix
- Expert Tips from a Dietitian
- What should I serve with nut free trail mix?
- How to Store Nut Free Trail Mix
- Frequently Asked Questions About Trail Mix
- Other Nut Free Recipes You May Enjoy
- And now for the disclaimer…
- 📖 Recipe
- 💬 Comments
What are the benefits of nut free trail mix?
With nut allergies so highly prevalent, many schools and other public spaces have a "no nuts" policy. This can be tough for the kids who are picky eaters and practically live on peanut butter and jelly. I'm a mom who has been in this situation, and I get it.
Thankfully, you can still enjoy the various edible seeds in nut-free zones. Pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds seem to be the most popular seeds to use in nut-free trail mixes. There's no need to completely reinvent the wheel, so I've used both here.
Even if you don't have a tree nut or peanut allergy yourself, this trail mix is a handy thing to have on hand. Here are some reasons this trail mix is the best:
It is safe for those with nut allergies.
You can enjoy it if you have a nut allergy, and you can take this snack into nut-free schools. There are no peanuts and tree nuts in this mix that could cause a life-threatening allergic reaction.
No added sugar
Many trail mixes contain chocolate candies or other forms of added sugar. That's fine for a once in a while treat, but this trail mix can be more of a dietary mainstay because it has none. If your child snacks on trail mix daily, this might be a great choice!
You can tailor the nut free trail mix to fit your taste preferences
I like a little chocolate flavor in my trail mix, so I roasted the pumpkin seeds with a little cocoa powder. If you wanted, you could use curry or chile-spiced seeds instead. You could also use different dried and freeze-dried fruits to really make it your own.
Trail mix is the perfect grab-and-go snack if you have an active lifestyle
As I mentioned above, you can easily throw some of this into your pack when you go camping, hiking, or biking. It's a non-perishable, lightweight, and high-energy snack. The fiber here may help keep things moving, so you'll have more comfortable digestive experiences while traveling.
Great for plant-based diets
Though this snack is vegan and vegetarian-friendly, it's wonderful for anyone who wants to eat more (whole food) plants. You're getting healthy fats, fiber, and a wide range of beneficial phytonutrients here.
Contains none of the major food allergens
Aside from being nut-free, this trail mix is also dairy free, soy free, wheat free, and egg free. If you have celiac disease, you may be interested that it is gluten free as well.
Tastes awesomely delicious
It's nice that this mix is free of a bunch of allergens for those who need it. However, perhaps the most important thing for many of us is that this tastes really good! Why suffer with a yucky trail mix blend when you can have something yummy instead?
Ingredients for Trail Mix without Nuts
If you're wondering what to put in nut free trail mix, you have come to the right place! Tree nuts and peanuts are off the table, but luckily there are a lot of other healthy and yummy options out there. Here are our players:
Toasted sunflower seeds (shelled)
You can toast the seeds yourself for a few minutes in a dry skillet or get store-bought toasted seeds. Either way, be sure to use toasted seeds for maximum flavor.
Raw pumpkin seeds (shelled)
We're going to toast these ourselves with a cocoa and cinnamon mixture, so be sure to get raw seeds. I'm essentially going to use cocoa-spiced pumpkin seeds in place of chocolate chips in this trail mix.
Cocoa powder and cinnamon
I prefer dark cocoa powder for the deeper chocolate flavor. You could also experiment with cacao powder if you are feeling fancy.
We're using a tiny bit of oil on the pumpkin seeds to help the spices stick.
I used unsulphured dried apricots, which is why they are dark brown in color. Sulfured apricots are treated in such a way that their bright orange color is preserved. They may be what you are more familiar with, and they tend to be easier to find in stores. Either type of dried apricot is fine for this recipe.
These are not the same thing as dried raspberries! Freeze-dried raspberries are dry and crunchy, and their volume is preserved. They lend a really nice color to this trail mix; I would not skip them!
Again, dried fruits and freeze-dried fruits are not one and the same. I can tell by some of the reviews on Amazon that people did not realize what they were getting when they ordered these. Yes, they can make your hands blue, but fresh blueberries and frozen blueberries can too!
I did use some raisins here because they are inexpensive and provide some natural sweetness to the mix. The dried fruits (i.e., apricots and raisins) provide most of the sweetness here. If you don't like these, I recommend using other dried fruits in their place.
How to Make Nut Free Trail Mix
This peanut-free trail mix recipe is pretty much the easiest thing ever! Check out the recipe video below to see how it all went down.
First, you will mix the oil with your raw pumpkin seeds. Next, mix your cocoa powder, cinnamon, and a bit of salt (if desired) together. Stir this spice mix into your oiled pumpkin seeds.
Spread the pumpkin seeds out on a piece of parchment paper that was misted with oil. Do your best to get the seeds in a single layer so they cook evenly.
You're going to be baking the seeds for about 25 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Try to push the seeds on the outer edges of the tray to the middle when you stir for even cooking. The seeds in the middle of the tray should be pushed to the outer edges.
While the pumpkin seeds are toasting, you can toast the sunflower seeds in a skillet on the stovetop if they are raw. Let all of your seeds cool to room temperature before proceeding with the recipe. The pumpkin seeds come out of the oven wet, so it is important to let them cool and dry a bit.
The final step is to stir all of the seeds, dried fruits, and freeze-dried fruits together. (See, I told you this was easy!) I'll talk more about how I store this mix below.
The cocoa-spiced pumpkin seeds are a bit messy, but they coat the other ingredients lightly with a hint of chocolate flavor. This is a good thing in my book!
Besides, as mentioned above, the freeze-dried fruits will make your hands a little messy. Just have some wet wipes on hand and dig in!
Expert Tips from a Dietitian
This is a level 3 recipe (weight maintenance and active lifestyles). If you have a weight loss goal, listen up! I would definitely classify this as a health-promoting recipe, rich in fiber, plus essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. However, do I think this trail mix is a great option if you are looking to lose body fat? Honestly, not really.
Though this nut-free trail mix is healthy, it is also extremely energy-dense. You only get about ½-cup of trail mix for 250 calories. Seeds and dried fruits are concentrated (i.e., high-calorie) sources of energy. If you are on a low-calorie diet for weight loss, you may run through your daily calorie allotment very quickly with snacks like this.
Yes, I've seen studies associating nut and seed intake with weight loss and lower body weights. Also, the number of calories listed on seed packaging may be an overestimate of what your body actually absorbs. The most important thing, though, may be whether you, as an individual, finds small portions of nuts and seeds satisfying.
I've encountered many who don't understand why they aren't losing weight, though they've switched from snacks like potato chips to freely snacking on nuts and seeds.
The portion size of nuts and seeds is extremely small because they are so calorie-dense. If the lifestyle changes you are making don't result in a calorie deficit, you will not see a difference on the scale.
If you want to lose weight, instead of making this mix, you might want to try snacking on the freeze-dried berries alone. Unlike dried fruits, freeze dried fruit is typically very low in calories by volume.
What should I serve with nut free trail mix?
Are you planning food for a road trip, hike, campout, or bike trip? I've got lots of easy snacks that you can take along!
This nut free gorp has you covered for fruits and healthy fats. How about we add some more protein and vegetables into the mix with these portable recipes?
- Garlic Kale Chips
- Ground Turkey Jerky Recipe (No dehydrator needed!)
- Beef Jerkys! (EPIC bar copycat recipe)
Note: the recipes listed above all include nuts or nut butter. You can easily make them nut-free by substituting with your favorite seeds and seed butters.
How to Store Nut Free Trail Mix
You could absolutely leave this trail mix in a glass canning jar on the counter. That said, if you want a portable snack that you can take in the car or put in a backpack, I suggest bagging it up!
Instead of putting it all in one big bag, how about using portion control baggies instead? I love these portion control baggies because they have measurement marks right on the bag. If you're tracking calories or macros, portioning out snacks like this will make life easier.
Though you can get portion control bags on Amazon, Target stores sometimes carry them for less than you can find online. They're great not only for this nut free gorp. I also use them to portion other snack items like crackers, candy, chips, cereals, and plain nuts and seeds.
If you're just getting started on your weight loss journey, splitting up big bags of snacks can help you be more mindful of how much you are eating. I don't know about you, but I could easily polish off 4-5 servings of trail mix in a sitting from a big bag.
With the baggies, I have to stop and ask myself whether I'm hungry enough to go get another. (Also, if the 250+ calorie baggie of trail mix wasn't satisfying, perhaps I should have chosen a more nutrient-dense snack!)
I store this trail mix on the kitchen counter in these plastic baggies. We typically finish the mix within a week. If you are trying to store it for longer, using vacuum seal bags may be the way to go.
Frequently Asked Questions About Trail Mix
Why is trail mix good for you?
As I've mentioned above, trail mix is often considered a healthy snack because it contains fruits, seeds, and/or nuts. These ingredients are rich in good stuff like fiber, beneficial phytonutrients, and essential vitamins and minerals. Woo hoo!
The exact nutrient composition of your trail mix is going to depend on what ingredients are in it. If you purchase a store-bought trail mix, check out the nutrition facts label to see what you're getting. I've provided nutrition information for this recipe in the recipe card below.
I think trail mix can be an awesome high-calorie snack option for folks who have trouble eating enough. This may include active adults, teens, and younger children, as well as people who are having difficulty eating due to illness. Dried fruits and seeds are both concentrated sources of calories, providing lots of energy to those who need it.
Why does trail mix expire?
Trail mix is generally considered a non-perishable item. However, the seeds (and/or nuts) in trail mix contain fats that can go rancid after a period of time.
Additionally, other ingredients in trail mix, such as cereals, may become stale after an extended period. The freeze-dried fruits in this nut free trail mix may begin to absorb moisture from other ingredients if left out too long.
It's generally safe to eat trail mix a little past its expiration date. That said, it's quality may have deteriorated. It may not be quite as fresh and enjoyable as when you first purchased it.
What is the best trail mix combination?
The determination of what might be the best trail mix combo is subjective and based on many factors! Here are some things that may influence the best nut-free trail mix for you:
- Your taste preferences
- Any allergies and dietary restrictions that you have
- Your budget (some dried fruit and seed options are more expensive than others)
- What is available where you live (freeze-dried fruit can be challenging to find in some areas)
- Your health goals (do you want to lose weight, gain weight, increase fruit intake, etc.)
Basically, what counts as the best trail mix combination is up to you! In terms of health, your better options will generally include no added sugars (such as from candy). I'd also choose a blend that contains an assortment of whole food ingredients for a greater range of nutrients.
Of course, I couldn't put everything under the sun in this recipe! If you want some more flavor variety in your trail mix, here are some other nut-free ingredients to try:
- Dried figs
- Dried cranberries
- Sesame seeds
- Unsweetened coconut flakes
- Dried dates
- Dried banana chips
- Freeze-dried strawberries
- Freeze-dried mango
- Apple chips
Hemp hearts and chia seeds are some other no nut trail mix options. I tend to skip them in my mixes though. (They are SO small and usually just fall to the bottom of the bag!)
Other Nut Free Recipes You May Enjoy
If you're on the lookout for more nut free snack ideas, here are some recipes to explore:
- Pink Hummus (So good with vegetable sticks and whole grain crackers!)
- Keto Cheese Chips (Only 2 ingredients!)
- Zahtar Popcorn (Easy Recipe!)
- Air Fryer Maduros That Are Cooked Like Tostones
- Chickpea Snack Recipe (Cheesy and crispy!)
- Vegan Oyster Mushroom Jerky
- Sugar Free Apple Crisp
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And now for the disclaimer…
All recipes on this website may or may not be appropriate for you, depending on your medical needs and personal preferences. Consult with a registered dietitian or your physician if you need help determining the dietary pattern that may be best for you.
The nutrition information is an estimate provided as a courtesy. It will differ depending on the specific brands and ingredients that you use. Calorie information on food labels may be wildly inaccurate, so please don't sweat the numbers too much.
For more information on how the three recipe levels may help with a weight management goal, refer to my overnight oats with yogurt post. Let's get cooking!
Nut Free Trail Mix | No Added Sugar!
- 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
- 2 teaspoons avocado oil
- 1 teaspoon dark cocoa powder (or cacao powder)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- salt, to taste
- 1 cup shelled sunflower seeds, toasted
- 25 pieces dried apricots, cut into quarters (I used unsulphured)
- 1 ounce freeze-dried raspberries (28 grams)
- 1.2 ounces freeze-dried blueberries (34 grams)
- ¼ cup raisins
- cooking oil spray of choice
- Preheat the oven to 325°F (163°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and mist it with cooking spray.
- Mix the pumpkin seeds and avocado oil together. Stir together the cocoa powder, cinnamon, and salt, and add that to your pumpkin seeds. Stir again.
- Spread the pumpkin seeds in a single layer on your parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes in the preheated oven, stirring every 10 minutes. For more even cooking, try to get the seeds that were on the outer edges of the sheet to the middle, and the middle ones to the outer edges.
- Let your pumpkin seeds dry out a bit by letting them come fully to room temperature before proceeding with the recipe.
- In a large bowl, stir the toasted sunflower seeds, cocoa-spiced pumpkin seeds, apricots, raspberries, blueberries, and raisins together.
- This recipe makes approximately 4½-5 cups of trail mix. Evenly distribute your mix between nine small snack baggies for an easy and portable snack!