Paleo Trail Mix

There is always a solution.  I’m trying to find yummy snacks that help me fight sugar cravings.  Since I tend to prefer salty snacks it came as a surprise when I found myself staring at the few bites of Fruit Loops left in my kids’ morning cereal and thinking I could totally scarf that up.  I didn’t realize how dependent I was on sugar until I walked away from it.

I’ve learned a valuable lesson in this process. Sugary additives often block the inherent sweetness and true flavor of food. I’m finding that my meals and snacks taste better without it!  …and this is coming from someone who used to make roasted brussels spouts with brown sugar. For shame!

Paleo Trail Mix main | Popular Paleo

I apologize up front because this is certainly a multi-step process that might be a pain in the butt for you.  Three main things need to be done before combining into a mixed-bag of Paleo treats.

First, make Melissa Joulwan’s Caramelized Coconut Chips from her recent book Well Fed.  If you are new to Paleo, buy her book.  If you are fluent in primal fare, buy her book. (Psssst. Well Fed 2 is now available and it is spectacular!!!!)

Next, make my batch of Spiced Nut Mix.

  • two handfuls of almonds
  • one handful of walnuts
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 TBSP coconut oil


  1. In a dry pan, gently warm the nuts on medium heat.  Keep them moving!
  2. In a separate dish, melt the coconut oil and stir in the vanilla extract.
  3. When the nuts are warm to the touch add the salt and pumpkin pie spice, tossing to evenly coat.
  4. Then as a final step, slowly drizzle in the coconut oil and vanilla.  This should be just enough to make the nuts glisten, not so much that there is an oily residue in the pan.  Coconut oil will solidify when it returns to room temp, so you do not want to overdo this. Toss out any excess.
  5. Once the nuts are lightly coated in the oil, remove from heat and set aside in a separate dish to cool.

The third thing you gotta do is harvest the seeds from a pomegranate. Holy wow does this take hot minute! Thankfully a friend gave me good advice to open the pom while submerged in water, using the water to help separate the husks from the berries.  This takes forever, but my love for these little jewels has blinded me to the painstaking process it is to retrieve them.

Now that you have the Caramelized Coconut Chips, the Spiced Nut Mix and your fresh pomegranate, grab some chocolate chips–the least sugary, milky ones you can find. (I prefer Enjoy Life brand) Aren’t you glad to know that chocolate is Paleo approved?  It almost makes up for the whole no alcohol thing… almost.

Let’s (finally) bring this together!

  • 1 cup of Caramelized Coconut Chips
  • 1 cup of Spiced Nut Mix
  • 2 TBSP chocolate chips

Mix these up and store in an air-tight container.  When you want to have a snack, then add your poms to the mix.  I scooped out about a cup of the trail mix and added two tablespoons of poms.  Obviously, to get the most out of your pomegranates they need to be kept in the fridge, so you will just have to add them fresh when eating your trail mix.

If you want to avoid the whole pomegranate experience, using dried cranberries, blueberries, chopped dried apples, banana chips, etc. will all work wonderfully.  Just use caution. Dried fruits have an elevated concentration of sugars and we want to avoid that.  One of the reasons Paleo leads to weight loss is that your body transforms from being a sugar-burner to being a fat-burner… and the Devil’s in the details.  Watch your dried fruit. Using the fresh stuff, though it adds an extra step, does help keep you on track.

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  1. Kayla says

    Hi Ciarra! So I just recently went on the Candida diet and I’m realizing how similar it is to Paleo! You can have absolutely NO sugar, coffee, alcohol, dairy (minus eggs), most grains, corn, yeast, and certain other foods, like peas and mushrooms. And for fruit, only one green apple a day or handful of fresh berries is all you’re allowed. Anything that feeds the yeast in your body is no-no. So far I am having a heck of a time/feeling deprived. I want something sweet I can grab on the go or when I have a craving. After looking at this recipe I think I can tinker with it a bit to make it acceptable for this diet. Thanks for all your amazing recipes! :)

    • says

      Hi Kayla!! Glad this will help you out! That sounds like some tough perimeters… BUT if it helps you feel better and heals your body, then I’m high-fiving you from here! ~ci

  2. Lia says

    oh my goodness, you forgot to mention this trail mix is outrageously ADDICTING! i have to limit myself or i’d eat it all! i swapped the walnuts for cashews.. it’s heavenly. between my boyfriend and i, one batch isn’t going to last too long. going to have to double or triple it next time!

  3. Lia B says

    this looks delicious! would there be a suitable sub for the walnuts.. they’re my least favorite.. but i LOVE trail mix and finding paleo snacks is always a challenge for me!

    • says

      Thank you! I really enjoy this snack, especially when I’m on the go. You can omit the walnuts altogether or maybe toss in some cashews or pecans instead! It’s more a method than a recipe. Choose whatever you prefer that keeps you within your plan’s guidelines :-)


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