Trail Mix Formula

Cook’s notes: I’ve written about trail mix before, but here’s a new formula to try.

50% nuts, 30% dried fruit, 10% cereal or other, 10% chocolate chips.

  • 5/8 cup smoked almonds
  • 3/8 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/8 cup dried apricots (diced)
  • 1/8 cup dark chocolate chips

Nut-free Snacks with Protein


Cook’s notes: Here is a list of snacks that are balanced with carbs and protein but don’t rely on nuts. I’m not allergic to nuts, but it’s nice to have nut-free snacks. I put nuts in my morning smoothie and don’t always want to eat them again in the same day. Hard-boiled eggs are also high in protein, but I can’t stand their texture, so they are not listed here.


Pick one dairy or protein serving: Match with one fruit, veggie, or grain:
1 oz. cheese (2 Babybel cheeses, 1 Laughing Cow wedge, 1 string cheese) 1 cup berries, blueberries, cherries, grapes, or pineapple chunks
Black beans with salsa, 1 cup 1 piece of fruit: apple, banana, nectarine, orange, or peach
Canned tuna, 3 oz. 2 small fruits: Mandarin oranges, plums
Cottage cheese, 1/2 cup Applesauce, 1/2 cup (unsweetened)
Cream cheese, 2 Tbsp. Dried fruit (1 oz.): 9 apple chips, 4 dried apricots, 1/3 cup dried fruit, or 2 Tbsp. Craisins or raisins
Deli turkey, 2 oz. 1 low-fat [black bean] brownie
Greek yogurt, 1/2 cup Bread: 1/2 bagel, 1 corn muffin, 1 slice whole-wheat bread, 1 English muffin, 1/2 pita pocket
Hummus, 2 Tbsp. Plain oatmeal, 1/2 cup
Low-fat milk, 1 cup Popcorn, 3 cups
Roasted chickpeas, 1/2 cup Tortilla chips, 10 each
Sunflower seed butter, 2 Tbsp. Whole-wheat Fig Newton cookies, 2 each
Sunflower seeds, 3 Tbsp. 1 cup raw veggies: Baby carrots, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, red bell pepper, or sugar snap peas
Turkey jerky, 1 oz. 1/2 cup cooked veggies or baked sweet potato

Sample combinations:

  • 1 cheese stick with 1 serving of crackers
  • 1 cup lowfat milk with 1 banana
  • 1 Laughing Cow cheese wedge and 1 cup raw red bell pepper strips
  • 1 oz. Brie with 1 cup cherries
  • 1 oz. cheddar cheese and 1 cup grapes
  • 1 oz. turkey jerky and 1 orange
  • 1 string cheese with 3 whole-wheat crackers
  • 1/2 bagel [or 1 rice cake] with 2 Tbsp. cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup black beans with salsa and 10 tortilla chips
  • 1/2 cup roasted chickpeas with 1/2 cup baked sweet potato
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese and 1/2 cup pineapple chunks
  • 1/2 cup plain oatmeal with 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup yogurt and 1/2 banana
  • 1/2 cup yogurt and 1/2 cup berries
  • 2 Tablespoons hummus with 1 cup baby carrots
  • Half sandwich: 1 slice whole-wheat bread topped with mustard and 2 oz. turkey or chicken
  • 2 ounces deli turkey, 1 ounce aged cheese, 1 cup mini pearl grape tomatoes, and 4 pitted Kalamata olives (EatingWell:  October/November 2005)
  • Mix 3 oz. canned salmon with low-fat mayonnaise, and eat with 1 serving of whole-wheat crackers


Chili-Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Cook’s notes: These are wonderful in salads (instead of croutons) or as a snack.

2 cups raw green pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
2 teaspoons lemon juice (or lime juice)
2.5 teaspoons Mild Chili Spice Mix
1/2 teaspoon salt

Heat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, drizzle lemon juice over the pumpkin seeds. Stir to coat. In a small bowl, blend the Chili Spice Mix and the salt together. Sprinkle the spice mix over the pumpkin seeds; stir until seeds are evenly coated. Pour seeds onto a rimmed baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes until lightly toasted, shaking the pan after 5 minutes.

Adapted from Everyday Food, October 2004. Like them sweeter? Martha Stewart has a recipe for pumpkin seeds with honey and cinnamon.


Snacks without Nuts

Cook’s notes: It’s easy to get into a snack rut, for me, of 1 apple with 1 oz. cheddar for my afternoon snack. Plan ahead, so you don’t just grab some chips from the vending machine. Adding produce to snacks is an easy way to improve your daily eating.

Here are some templates with fruits and vegetables to make planning snacks easier.

  • 1 oz. cheddar and 1/2 cup grapes
  • 1 oz. cheese and 2 slices deli turkey
  • 1 oz. cheese, 1 serving crackers, and 1 mini cucumber
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese with 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup yogurt with 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup black beans, 1 oz. cheese, and 1 corn tortilla with salsa
  • 1/2 cup roasted pumpkin seeds with 1 oz. turkey jerky
  • 1/2 cup cooked oatmeal with 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup raw veggies with 1/4 cup hummus
  • 1 cup chocolate milk and 1 banana


Fruit choices: Match with 1 oz. cheese, 1 cup milk, 1/2 cup cottage cheese or yogurt, 2 graham crackers, or 1 oz. turkey jerky.

1/4 cup raisins
2 Fig Newton cookies
1 apple
1 banana
1 pear
2 mandarin oranges
1/2 cup blueberries, blackberries, or raspberries
1/2 cup seedless grapes
1 cup cherries

Vegetable choices: Match with 1 oz. cheese, 1 serving of crackers, 1/4 cup hummus, 1/2 cup cottage cheese, 1/2 cup bean salad, 1/2 cup roasted chickpeas, 2 slices deli turkey, or 2 cups popcorn. Vegetables are also tasty with Russian Dressing Dip, which is made with Greek yogurt.

1 mini cucumber
1/2 cup marinated beets
1/2 cup sugar snap peas
1/2 cup raw veggies
1/2 cup red bell pepper
1/2 cup roasted squash
10 snow pea pods
12 baby carrots
12 cherry tomatoes


Cinnamon Chickpeas

Very crunchy on day 1

Very crunchy on day 1

These chickpeas are baked and make a crunchy vegan snack. I personally didn’t care for the softer texture on day 2, but you shouldn’t eat the entire batch by yourself! Use a savory spice blend on these, and they could be vegan/gluten free croutons in salad.

Changes: Used 1.5 Tablespoons maple sugar and 1.5 teaspoon Apple Pie Spice blend

Source: Sally’s Baking Addiction


Simple Spinach Smoothie for One

Makes 20 oz.

Makes 20 oz.

Cook’s notes: Sometimes you want a simple smoothie without a ton of ingredients. This one fits the bill, and almost everything in it is 1 cup.

Makes enough for one tall glass (about 20 oz.)

1/2 cup plain, fat-free Greek yogurt
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
8 whole, raw almonds
1 cup (30 g) raw baby spinach
1 cup frozen blueberries without added sugar

Add all ingredients in the order they are listed (from liquids to soft to hard to ice) to the Vitamix container. Secure the lid.

Turn the machine on to Variable speed 1 and slowly increase to speed 10. Turn the machine to High.
Use the tamper to push ice into the ingredients as needed.
Blend for about 45 seconds or until desired consistency is reached. Serve immediately.


Adapted from The Anti-Detox Diet on (added spinach; increased yogurt; omitted honey). No extra sweetener is needed.

NOTE: This recipe has been written for the Vitamix 5200 with Standard 64-ounce container. If you are using a different machine, you may need to make adjustments to the speed or processing time. Know your blender and don’t overload the machine.

DISCLOSURE: This post is not sponsored by anyone. I paid for any products listed here and liked using them. This is my personal blog, and I am not compensated to create posts.


Small Batch Russian Dressing Dip

Russian dressing dip is excellent with baby carrots

Russian dressing dip is excellent with baby carrots

Cook’s notes: This healthier version of a popular salad dressing doesn’t have any added mayo or sugar. I had a leftover turkey Reuben with some baby carrots, and thought having Russian dressing would be a great dip for the carrots. This recipe is less sweet than commercial dressings.

Makes about 1/2 cup. No added mayo!

1/4 cup red pepper and basil hummus
1/4 cup plain, fat-free Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1.5 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons pickle relish
Ketchup to taste (one squirt, up to 1 Tablespoon)

Combine all ingredients in a small container. Stir together until well-mixed.