How many calories is 1 4 cup of trail mix?

Trail mix is a popular snack that typically consists of a combination of nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and sometimes chocolate. It can be a healthy choice when consumed in moderation, as it provides a mix of protein, healthy fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. However, trail mix is also high in calories, so it’s important to pay attention to serving sizes to keep calories under control.

Quick Answer

The number of calories in 1/4 cup of trail mix can vary greatly depending on the specific ingredients and ratios used in the mix. However, on average, a 1/4 cup serving of trail mix contains around 200-250 calories.

Calories in Different Types of Trail Mix

While all trail mixes contain a variety of ingredients, some common types include:

  • Traditional trail mix – peanuts, raisins, dried cranberries, cashews, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, M&Ms.
  • Tropical trail mix – dried pineapple, banana chips, coconut flakes, cashews, Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts.
  • Nut lover’s trail mix – peanuts, almonds, cashews, pecans, hazelnuts, walnuts.
  • Protein-packed trail mix – peanuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, dried edamame, dark chocolate chunks.
  • Fruit and nut trail mix – raisins, dried cranberries, dried apricots, banana chips, cashews, walnuts, pistachios.

The calorie content in 1/4 cup of the different trail mix types is:

Trail Mix Type Calories (per 1/4 cup)
Traditional 210
Tropical 240
Nut Lover’s 230
Protein-Packed 250
Fruit and Nut 200

As you can see, calories can range from about 200-250 per serving depending on the specific mix.

Factors Affecting Calorie Content

There are a few main factors that determine the calorie content in trail mix:


Nuts, seeds, and dried fruit all vary in their calorie content:

  • Nuts like almonds, cashews, and peanuts contain 160-170 calories per ounce.
  • Dried fruits like raisins, cranberries, and apricots contain about 100 calories per ounce.
  • Seeds like pumpkin and sunflower seeds contain around 150 calories per ounce.
  • Chocolate and candy additions are around 140 calories per ounce.

A trail mix made with a higher proportion of nuts and seeds will be higher in calories than one made with more dried fruit.

Serving Size

The actual weight or volume of the serving size matters when determining calories. A 1/4 cup serving weighs around 1 ounce. If you eat a 1/2 cup serving, that doubles the calories.

Additions and Flavors

Some trail mixes include chocolate, candy, or yogurt-covered bits which add extra calories. Flavored nuts roasted in oil or sugar also pack more calories than plain roasted nuts.

Ways to Lower Calories in Trail Mix

There are a few easy ways to create a lighter trail mix with fewer calories:

  • Use more dried fruit and seeds instead of nuts.
  • Pop your own plain popcorn or puffed corn to use instead of nuts.
  • Avoid chocolate, candy, and yogurt-covered add-ins.
  • Use unsalted nuts instead of salted or candied nuts.
  • Make your own mix so you control the ingredients and portions.

Benefits of Trail Mix

Despite the high calorie content, trail mix can still be a healthy choice in moderation thanks to some great nutrients:

  • Protein – nuts and seeds provide filling protein to help keep you satisfied.
  • Fiber – dried fruits and nuts contain fiber that helps regulate digestion.
  • Unsaturated fats – primarily monounsaturated fats from nuts that are heart-healthy.
  • Vitamins and minerals – including Vitamin E, magnesium, copper, manganese, phosphorus, zinc, iron, and more.
  • Antioxidants – raisins, cranberries, nuts and seeds are filled with antioxidants.

Tips for Eating Trail Mix

Here are some tips to keep calories and portions in check when snacking on trail mix:

  • Measure out a single serving instead of eating from the container.
  • Read nutrition labels and stick to the suggested serving size.
  • Pre-portion trail mix into bags or containers for easy grabbing.
  • Combine trail mix with lower-calorie snacks like fresh fruit.
  • Avoid mindless munching by keeping trail mix out of sight.
  • Drink water while eating to help you avoid overeating.
  • Choose trail mixes with less added sugar and salt.
  • Skip trail mixes with candy-coated pieces which drive up calories.

Healthy Trail Mix Recipes

It’s easy to create healthy homemade trail mixes with your favorite ingredients. Here are some recipe ideas:

1. Fruit and Nut Trail Mix

  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1/2 cup pistachios
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup raisins or dried cherries
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds

2. Tropical Trail Mix

  • 1 cup macadamia nuts
  • 1/2 cup pineapple tidbits
  • 1/2 cup mango slices
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/4 cup banana chips

3. Savory Trail Mix

  • 1 cup unsalted peanuts
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup sesame sticks
  • 1/4 cup dried onions or shallots

Feel free to customize your own mix with your favorite nuts, seeds, fruits, crunchy bits, and seasonings!


In summary, the number of calories in a 1/4 cup serving of trail mix can vary from around 200-250 calories depending on the specific ingredients. Nuts, seeds, and dried fruit all contribute calories, as do any added chocolate or candy pieces. To lighten up trail mix, you can use more dried fruit and seeds, avoid candied nuts and chocolate, and watch your portion sizes. While high in calories, trail mix can still be a healthy and nutrient-dense choice when eaten in moderation as part of a balanced diet. Pre-portioning trail mix, combining it with fresh fruit, and avoiding mindless snacking are simple ways to keep calories in check.

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