Instead of sending your kids to school with the same snack day after day, why not let them create their own healthy, homemade trail mix? Who know—if they make it themselves, maybe they won’t trade it away!

What to Buy

Head to your local wholesale food store or a place like Sprouts or Trader Joe’s and stock up on nuts, seeds, grains, and fruit (only buy enough for one to two weeks so it doesn’t go stale). You know your kids’ likes and dislikes so keep those in mind, but try a few different items you think they might find tasty.

Bagging it Up

Pour the nuts, seeds, grain, and fruit into bowls and arrange on counter or table. Now it’s time for the kids to get creative. Let them fill up small Ziploc bags with any combination they desire. Suggest they add some items from each of the four groups below.


Nuts add protein to the mix.

  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Peanuts (unless peanuts are not allowed at school or in the classroom)
  • Pecans
  • Pine nuts
  • Pistachios


Seeds also add protein, as well as minerals and omega-3 fatty acids.

  • Hemp seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Sunflower seeds


Whole grains add fiber to the mix.

  • Cheerios
  • Chex
  • Popcorn
  • Pretzels
  • Puffed Rice
  • Toasted Oats

Dried Fruit

Since dried fruit contains a lot of sugar, don’t add too much. If you have a dehydrator, you can dry your own fresh fruit, or you can do it in the oven. Set your oven at 200 degrees, place the fruit on a baking tray, and bake for about six hours. (Depending on the fruit, it may take more or less time so keep an eye on it.)

  • Apple
  • Apricot
  • Banana
  • Blueberries
  • Cherries
  • Cranberries
  • Fig
  • Lemon
  • Orange
  • Pineapple
  • Raisins
  • Strawberries


These treats are optional and probably best reserved for special occasions.

  • Butterscotch chips
  • Chocolate chips
  • M&M’s
  • Mini marshmallows
  • Peanut chips
  • Toasted Coconut
  • Yogurt covered raisins or craisins

Let me know if there are any favorite items or combinations I left out!