We all love candy, but if you’re looking for a healthier snack during spooky season, this Halloween trail mix has you covered. With toasted pecans, crunchy popcorn and cereal, tart dried apple slices, and just a touch of sweet caramel, this snack mix is full of fall flavor. It’s the perfect recipe to solve those snack cravings on Halloween night (or any night)!
About This Healthy Trail Mix Recipe
Trail mix is usually made from a combination of nuts and dried fruits. These nutrient-dense ingredients provide energy for anything from hiking to just getting through a busy day! The ingredients in this recipe may seem a bit unusual (Hey popcorn and caramel! What are you doing here?) but they totally work together. It’s kind of a snack mix, kind of a party mix, and kind of a trail mix, but it’s totally delicious.
My goal with this recipe was to make a nutrient-dense snack you can enjoy on Halloween (or really, any fall day). Whether you’re taking your kids trick-or-treating, greeting trick-or-treaters at your house, or sitting in the dark watching movies and hiding from the trick-or-treaters (me this year) having a healthy and fun snack on hand is a great idea.
What makes a healthy trail mix?
You’ve probably had trail mixes with peanuts, raisins, and M&M’s. While there’s nothing wrong with this easy and high-energy mix, but adding some different ingredients can add more nutrients and flavor to your snack. Here are my top trail mix tips:
- Add fiber – Adding popcorn, whole-grain cereal dried fruit, pumpkin seeds, or high-fiber nuts (almonds, pistachios, pecans) to your trail mix can make it more filling. Plus, fiber is great for your digestion and stabilizing blood sugars.
- Select smart sweets – M&M’s are cool, but sweets like dried fruit and dark chocolate chunks are a bit lower in added sugar and they contain other nutrients like fiber and antioxidants.
- Try for variety – Including a variety of nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and even whole-grain cereal makes your snack fun to eat and more nutritious.
This caramel apple Halloween trail mix uses all of the tips above. It includes a variety of high-fiber ingredients like popcorn, nuts, whole-grain cereal, and dried apple. It also contains a bit of sweetness from apple and caramel, but not so much that it’ll make your belly ache. (Looking at you, Skittles… I love you but my stomach doesn’t love me after a couple of bags.)
How to Make Caramel Apple Trail Mix
- Toast the pecans. Toasted pecans might seem a bit “extra” but I promise they’re worth it. Preheat your oven to 250F. Add 2 cups of raw pecans to a bowl. Add 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1 tablespoon oil. Mix until evenly coated. Spread coated pecans on a baking sheet and toast for 1 hour
- Meanwhile, prepare the rest of your ingredients. You can use either storebought, pre-popped popcorn (Skinny Pop or Boom Chicka Pop brands would work great), or homemade air-popped popcorn. If making air-popped popcorn, 2 tablespoons of kernels should yield about 4 cups of popped popcorn. Measure out your 2 cups each of cinnamon cereal and apple chips or apple rings. I used dried apple rings in this recipe, which have a bit of a chewy bite to them. If you’d prefer more crunch, opt for apple chips. Any cinnamon cereal will taste great in this recipe. I used Kashi GO Crunch.
- Spread the popcorn, cereal, pecans, and apples on a baking sheet.
- Add melted caramel. When all of your ingredients (including the toasted pecans) are ready, combine 1/3 cup caramel bits and 1 tsp water in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds and stir until smooth. Drizzle in thin ribbons over the ingredients on the baking sheet. Thick ribbons are pretty to look at, but thin ribbons will dry and harden more quickly and coat the trail mix more evenly.
- Let cool for 30 minutes (if you can wait that long!) and pour into a bowl. Enjoy!
- Make it vegan – Omit the caramel or use vegan caramel chips.
- Make it gluten-free – Use a gluten-free cinnamon cereal like Cinnamon Chex
- Make it paleo or low-carb – Use a paleo cereal like Magic Spoon and omit the caramel. You could keep or omit the apple chips, depending on your needs and preferences.
- Make it with different nuts – The pecans add a lovely sweetness to this recipe, but almonds or peanuts would taste good too.
- Make it sweeter – Add dark chocolate chips or some Halloween candy. You can also add a teaspoon of sugar to the nuts before toasting.
- Make it scream Halloween – Add candy corn pieces, black and orange M&M’s, or any Halloween candies you like!
Caramel Apple Halloween Trail Mix
- 4 cups popcorn popped
- 2 cups cinnamon cereal (I used Kashi GO Crunch)
- 2 cups dried apple rings
- ⅓ cup caramel bits
- 1 tsp water
Toasted Cinnamon Pecans
- 2 cups raw pecans
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp canola oil
- Prepare the toasted cinnamon pecans. Preheat oven to 250°F. Combine nuts, cinnamon, salt, and oil in a medium bowl and stir to coat. Spread on a baking sheet and toast for 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, gather the rest of the ingredients. If you would like to make homemade popcorn from kernels, do this now. 2 tablespoons of kernels should yield about 4 cups of popped popcorn.
- Once the pecans are toasted, spread the popcorn, cereal, pecans, and apples on a baking sheet.
- Pour into a bowl and enjoy!
- You can use storebought popped popcorn or homemade plain air-popped popcorn
- It’s hard to wait for this mix to cool before digging in, but letting the caramel cool completely will prevent the mix from being too sticky.