food, Kids, Travel Tips

Healthy Road Trip Snack Ideas: Totally Tropical Trail Mix

Tropical Trail Mix

So, can we talk trail mix today? I love the stuff, and it comes in really handy when you’re living out of your car, which is basically what I’ve been doing this summer as I travel around the back roads of Vermont. Trail mix for me usually consists of whatever dried fruit and nuts I have on hand, tossed into a bag, and then thrown onto the passenger seat of my car for random snacking. It provides instant energy, and it keeps my hands and mouth busy on those extra-long road trips.

My kids have grown away from accompanying me on every single adventure, and I’ll admit that it’s bitter sweet. I appreciate the alone time, but I really do miss them when I’m away from home. So when they agreed to accompany me on a recent road trip to Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, I was beyond thrilled, and I figured it called for something more than the random road trip snacks I usually prepare.

Totally Tropical Trail Mix

tropical trail mix, road trip snack ideas, road trip snacks, best road trip snacks

I decided to treat my kids to some road-trip super food, based loosely on their favorite treats – dried mango, pistachios, and chocolate. These three magical ingredients would be pretty fabulous on their own, but I thought I’d experiment and create a little tropical trail mix masterpiece.

The trail mix recipe below is as near to perfect as a trail mix can be. It’s the perfect mix of salty and sweet, and the flavor is totally indulgent without being heavy. I tried out cacao nibs for the first time ever, mainly because our summer has been so hot and humid, and I didn’t want chocolate melting all over our fingers and my car. So here’s the thing about cacao nibs — they’re crunchy and a little bitter, and not so awesome on their own (in my opinion). But when mixed with dried fruit and nuts, they take on the sweet and salty flavors of their neighbors and share their intense chocolate yumminess with the whole bag.

I also added a bit of shredded coconut at the last minute, and while the miniscule pieces I had on hand tasted great, I would totally recommend buying the biggest pieces you can find so they don’t all end up at the bottom of your trail mix bag.

Ready to give this totally tropical trail mix a shot? This road trip snack is the easiest thing to make in the world. It taste so much better than most grocery store varieties, and I’m guessing that after you make it, you’ll never want to buy trail mix again. You can thank me later.

Totally Tropical Trail Mix Recipe

Totally Tropical Trail Mix

10 minutes

Totally Tropical Trail Mix


  • 1 cup roasted almonds
  • 1 cup roasted and salted shelled pistachios
  • 1 cup roasted and salted macadamia nuts
  • 1 cup chopped dried pineapple
  • 1 cup chopped dried mango
  • ½ cup flaked or shredded unsweetened coconut (largest pieces you can find)
  • ⅓ cup cacao nibs


  • Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl. Pour into plastic bags or other travel containers. Makes 2 quart-sized bags. Double if you have teenagers.

    Need more ideas for  healthy trail or road trip snacks? Check out these posts:

    Sturdy and Delicious Super-Seed Granola Bars

    The 10 Easiest Car-Camping meals for Families on the Go

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    This recipe takes all of 10 minutes to make and it's SO much better than grocery store trail mix! Based on my kids' favorite treats - mangoes, pistachios, and chocolate (in this case cacao nibs). Try it. You won't be disappointed.


    1. What a great idea! I need to get better at packing food when I travel instead of just relying on purchasing junk food at the last moment! Thanks for sharing!

      • Thanks, Natasha. Once you have the ingredients, this trail mix is a breeze to put together!

    2. LOve trail mix! Thanks for the recipe – I love putting M&M’s in mine 😀
      Meg Jerrard recently posted…Announcing Our Next Big Adventure: Around the World with Star Alliance and Marriott!My Profile

    3. Trail mis is always my go to snack! Thanks for sharing!
      Christine recently posted…24 HOURS IN MADRIDMy Profile

    4. Huge trail mix fan (even made a cartoon with trail mix being the butt of the joke)! Definitely going to be trying this out and bringing on my hiking adventures!

    5. This sounds incredible! Even though I’m not a coconut fan, I think it would still be yummy without it! I totally bookmarked this for my road trip next month! Thanks!!! Cheers!
      Paige Brown recently posted…Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park – Chain of Craters RoadMy Profile

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