In love with Trader Joe’s Trail Mix? With this copycat recipe, you can make your own (healthier!) Omega Trek Mix in just 20 minutes…it’s that same salty-sweet mix you love, with less sugar and more omega 3 fatty acids per serving!
As someone who got into health food in the 90s, I probably ate my body weight in trail mix before the age of 18. In so many ways, it’s the perfect snack: it can sit in your bag for days and it’s got the trifecta of plant-based protein, healthy fats and carbs to keep you energized. But if you eat a lot of it, making sure you’ve got a truly healthy trail mix is super important.
I wanted to recreate one of my fave Trader Joe’s Trail Mixes and give it an anti-inflammatory makeover: Trader Joe’s Omega Trek Mix!
We don’t actually have Trader Joe’s in Canada; instead, I just wander the aisles like a food tourist whenever I am in the US (OMG, when will that even be possible again?). Actually, true story: someone in Vancouver created an actual store called Pirate Joe’s and stocked his shelves with Trader Joe’s products that he just drove down to the States and marked up. That got shut down…but it was a couple of years before it did!
How to make Trader Joe’s Omega Trek Mix healthier
You might be wondering why the Omega Trek mix isn’t a perfect fit for an anti-inflammatory diet because its main selling point is the anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids. While it’s a fine healthy-ish snack, because sugar-sweetened cranberries are the first ingredient, they increase the sugar content quite a bit. Whenever I make a trail mix, I try to keep the ratio of non-sweet to sweet at 3:1 for better blood sugar balance.
On top of that, the nuts are roasted in canola oil, which isn’t my favourite for a lot of reasons – and there are a lot of extra omega 6 fats in there. Instead, we are going to lightly roast our nuts with avocado oil, which is rich in monounsaturated fats. Speaking of fats, what I find hilarious is that Trader Joe’s uses omega 3-enriched cranberries in the mix to provide 500mg of omega 3 fats per serving but when I simply increased the walnuts in the mix, we end up with 760mg of omega 3 fatty acids per serve!
Health Benefits of Nuts
Nuts add so much plant power to your diet! They’re truly a perfect snack…which is why I’m so excited about this trail mix. I’m a fan of eating more nuts, particularly in lieu of more starch-based snacks like packaged snack bars or baked goods. Here are just a few of the nutritional benefits that nuts offer:
- Plant-based protein: nuts contain protein, to varying degrees. Peanuts, almonds, cashews and pistachios are higher, at about 6-10g per quarter cup. Nuts like macadamias and pecans are lower, about 2g per quarter cup.
- Healthy fats: nuts are sources of unprocessed, whole food plant-based fats…which are always good for you. Some, like walnuts, contain especially healthful omega 3 fats but all nut fats are good fats! Fats are important for the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and phytochemicals, while also helping to keep you full.
- Minerals: nuts contain minerals, which are critical for metabolism. Nuts all have unique mineral profiles, for example, cashews contain energizing copper while pecans have calcium and magnesium to support your bone health.
- Better stabilized blood sugars: Nuts are typically higher in fibre, protein and fats; this combination of nutrients helps to slow the digestion of nutrients and blood sugar rise, keeping blood sugars on a more even keel.
- Lasting energy and satiety: This same nutrient balance is very satisfying, helping to support relaxed appetite, and because your blood sugars don’t bottom out, your energy levels will stay in check.
More healthy vegan snack recipes!
Love this trail mix? Need more snacks? You might like these other healthy vegan snack recipes:
- 5 minute DIY superfood chocolate bark
- Blueberry Muffins with Almond Flour
- Za’atar Roasted Almonds and Dates
- Plant-based Snack Roundup
- Low FODMAP Vegan Snack Roundup
Trader Joe’s Trail Mix (Copycat Recipe)
- 1 cup dried cranberries preferably fruit juice sweetened or unsweetened if you like
- 1 cup raw walnuts
- ½ cup raw almonds
- ½ cup raw pumpkin seeds
- ½ cup raw pecans
- ½ cup raw pistachios
- 1 tablespoon naturally refined avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt for a mildly salted version; add ⅛ tsp for a saltier taste
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, mix together walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, pecans and pistachios. Toss with avocado oil and salt and spread onto baking sheet.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes, until nuts are fragrant and look toasted. Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes.
- Place roasted nuts into a resealable container and stir cranberries through. Will keep at room temperature for 2-3 weeks.