Guest post by blog team member, Kiran. To learn more about Kiran, check out our team page!
I’ve been seeing commercials recently for Sargento Balanced Breaks, and it got me thinking. First off, I think this is a fairly good alternative for on-the-go snacking. Cheese, nuts, and dried fruit mean you’re getting a decent dose of dairy and protein (8 grams total) which is great for fueling on the go.
And yes, I realize that sometimes life gets in the way – hello kids activities, travel, or the never-ending to-do list, I gotcha. Sometimes purchasing a packaged product is the only option, and it’s great to have some decent alternatives.
But with a little planning ahead, it’s simple to make your own snack packs. It’s quick and easy, but how do the prices compare? I break that down for you too.
What’s in the Product
Let’s start out by taking a look at what’s included in this product (as taken from their site):
Gouda Cheese [Pasteurized Milk, Cheese Culture, Salt, Enzymes, Annatto (Vegetable Color), Natamycin (A Natural Mold Inhibitor)], Dried Fruit and Nut Blend [Peanuts, Cranberries, Sugar, Contains less than 2% of Honey, Maltodextrin, Modified Potato Starch, Salt, Vegetable Oil (Peanut, Cottonseed, Soybean and/or Sunflower Seed), Xanthan Gum].
- A few of these items are ones that I’d note and not be too excited about eating:
- Maltodextrin, which can sometimes be a hidden source of MSG and definitely not something I’d cook with at home
- Modified Potato Starch, usually used as a binder or thickening agent – again not something I’d cook with at home
- Vegetable Oil
- And of course, if you make it yourself, you can make it organic – something that we always suggest when feasible. Here’s a quick reminder why.
How to Make Your Own Snack Packs
With a little simple planning, it’s possible to make your own organic snack packs to have on hand for those times when hunger strikes. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Organic Valley Cheese
- Organic Trail Mix (we found this one from Nuts.com) or make your own trail mix or even just purchase some organic nuts from the bulk bin at your local store.
- A container to take them in such as the Yumbox MiniSnack (use code SWEET15 and take 15% off of your order) or these containers from UKonserve.
Benefits of Making Your Own Snack Packs
- Cost -> Quality
An 8 ounce package of Organic Valley Cheese is $6.99 and the organic trail mix referenced above is $8.99 for 16 ounces, totaling $15.98 for 24 ounces (66 cents/ounce). Ironically enough, Wal-Mart’s 3 pack of 1.5 ounces of the Sargento Balanced Breaks was $2.98, or 66 cents/ounce. So the cost is the same, but the quality in what you make yourself is better. Yes, you need to purchase the containers to pack your own, but that is something that you can get years of use out of.
- Avoidance of unwanted ingredients
I’m a big believer in knowing what I’m eating. Okay, okay – you can call me a control freak, but I like to know what’s going into my food! Guilty as charged and totally comfortable with it.
- Ability to tailor it to your needs/wants.
Perhaps you want more or less cheese or a certain kind of nut mix to go with it. The choice is yours! You can see above that I added a hard-boiled egg to one. Or how about some nut butter filled dates for another pop of protein?
Making your own snack packs can take a little planning ahead, but it’s well worth it in my book. Do you agree?