Summer is prime time for picnics, outdoor parties, sports practices and more. Having a simple staple summer snack mix recipe keeps the kids happy and fueled for fun! There are plenty of safe options to make a trail mix for any food allergy or dietary restriction that is perfectly salty and sweet. Weve broken down what it takes to create the best summer snack mix that will satisfy your kids taste and your health concerns.
Elements of the Perfect Summer Snack Mix
The Crunch or Crisp: It adds bulk, intrigue and substance to help fill you up while keeping things interesting.
The Salt: This is the quintessential characteristic of trail mix. When mixed with sweet, it creates that classic play on your taste buds that wakes you up and keeps you interested.
The Nutrients: Without getting into the science, the purpose of trail mix is to provide delicious energy without completely ignoring health needs. Different parts of the mix can provide protein, electrolytes, vitamins and antioxidants.
The Flavor Filler: Pull different elements together and bulk up the mix with something simple and understated.
The Sweet: Arguably the best part of any summer snack mix. Its the fun highpoint that compliments salty ingredients and keeps little hands reaching for more.
The Soft: Balance out the crunch and crisp with something soft or chewy.
List of Safe Ingredients
Walk through the aisles of any grocery store and youll find multitudes of potential ingredients. In summer, the key is to find light and bright elements to match the happiness in the air.
Many of these ingredients fall into multiple of the aforementioned elements and we tried to include options that are safe for multiple allergies and dietary considerations. Our recommendation is to choose 1-2 ingredients per element to create a well-rounded snack mix.
Pumpkin Seeds: A salty and crunchy substitute for nuts, pumpkin seeds helps provide zinc, magnesium and protein, among other nutrients.
Sunflower Seeds: Another good nut-free option, sunflower seeds have vitamins like E and B.
Puffed Rice (plain or chocolate): Non-cereal types can be crispy fillers that wont throw off the sweet and salty balance.
Puffed Quinoa: Quinoa has protein (good substitute for nuts), calcium (good as a dairy-free substitute for yogurt-coated ingredients), vitamins C and E and more. Puff it up and it adds crispness to your snack mix!
Popcorn: Air-popped and all-natural varieties make this ingredient less yucky so you can add crunch, saltiness and fiber.
Gluten Free Pretzels: Crumble these for pockets of salt and crunch. Because of rising demand, you can find vegan, dairy free, egg free, peanut free or tree nut free options to cover your food allergy bases.
Rice Cakes: Break these into little pieces for an even crunchier experience than puffed rice.
Dried Fruit: Even if you dont make your own, there are plenty of all natural dried fruit options at stores that wont have yucky additives. Dried bananas provide crunch and potassium while berries (blueberries, strawberries and goji berries) and apples provide an array of vitamins and antioxidants. Theyre colorful and sweet (but not too sweet), to boot.
Gummy Bears: Soft, chewy and sweet, these add a more summery flair than traditional chocolate candy. With options free of all top 10 food allergens, this is a safe and exciting ingredient for kids. Tip: the vegan Fruity or Sour Berry Bears last longer in hotter weather.
Jelly Beans: Their outer coating is more similar to the expected chocolate candies in trail mix, but their natural fruit juices bring in food allergy-friendly color and sweetness.
Our Ultimate Mix Recipe: Gluten free, nut free, vegan and dairy free summer snack mix
We put together this picnic-ready summer snack mix recipe that was well received on social media. Because of our household food allergies, we chose ingredients that avoided wheat and dairy. The products we found made the end result vegan, peanut free and tree nut free.
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Dried goji berries
- Dried apples
- Dried blueberries
- Plain puffed rice
- Crumbled pretzel crisps
- Gummy bears
For easy mixing and packing, layer the ingredients in your preferred proportions in a plastic container. Then, seal the lid tightly and shake (or let the little ones have some fun with it)!