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?
15 thoughts on “Why You Should Make Your Own Snack Packs”
I have been working on this for a few weeks and have the following observations:
1. Having a prep day is absolutely essential. Trying to pack snacks in the morning or night before is stressful.
2. I get bulk nuts at the grocery or health food store. This allows a variety of ingredients. Last week I made an apple/walnut/pecan mix that reminded me of apple pie.
3. Organic string cheese is convenient but I feel bad with all that waste. Has anyone found a bulk string cheese that is not individually wrapped?
4. Does anyone have a brand of snack containers they like that are inexpensive?
I find that U Konserve’s products are pretty reasonable and they have lots of different sizes. If you use the code 100DAYS you can also save 25%. HTH!
Bulk nuts at the grocery store, great idea!
Reducing waste for the environment is another huge benefit. I always pack my own snack boxes.
Well in my case, these are the reasons that I make my own snack before I go to office for work:
1. My husband just include anything as long as it’s food. I’m vegetarian and he often packs some salamis and pepperonis (which sometimes makes me think that it’s his way to annoy me) haha.
2. I am doing caloric counting occasionally esp during days where I lost or gained too much weight and I need to keep up or trim down from my diet.
3. Vegetables can be a little bit tricky to prepare (since I do smoothies, salads, etc) process takes some time.
So yeah that practically is it. Do you agree with these?
Also less to throw away! Less wasteful.
This is so true! I hate all the crap they put in those things. On the flip side, I love purchasing wholesome foods for my family and packaging them up for snacks throughout the day. My husband has a real sweet tooth, but he’s beginning to like the healthy stuff even more than the store-bought yummies. Also, nuts.com is fabulous!!
This is a great post. Thanks so much for sharing this information. I always prefer to make my own snack packs.
I ABSOLUTELY believe in the benefits of making your own snack packs, or lunchables, or a lot of convenience foods. But good heavens, the prices of those containers are INSANE! There are 7 people in my house; one snack each for one day requires $140 just in containers!! And part of my point in making things like this is to make up several days’ worth at a time. I would go through a month’s food budget just to buy snack containers. Sure they last longer than that time period, but that’s far more of an up front investment than I can see making even if I had that kind of $ lying around. That said, the deli department at my supermarket sells 4 container snack boxes for 40c each that with prudent care can last several uses at least.
I have been slowly transitioning us to healthier choices. This includes buying a pack of containers each month. Finding things that fit in out lunch bags/boxes has been a challenge.
I make my own but I use a ziploc style snack bag for mine…Great to grab and go!
I just thought of this a couple of weeks ago! Great minds think alike!
I fully support making your own snacks at home, as opposed to purchasing the boxed stuff, and do so myself, nearly every day. However, as a math teacher, I cannot let the erroneous math in this article slip by without comment.
It is sated that the 3-pack of Sargento snacks would cost 99 cents per ounce, based on the fact that there is 1.5 ounces in each pack, and that the 3-pack cost $2.98. This is an incorrect calculation. If there are 3 packs, with 1.5 ounces each, then that is 4.5 ounces total. $2.98 divided among 4.5 ounces, equates to about 66 cents per ounce, not 99 cents, as was stated in the article. Therefore, the two methods listed would actually cost about the same.
Which is still reason enough to opt for the make-at-home option. Same price, but much cleaner! :-)
Yikes – clearly you are correct. Math error on my part! I’m adjusting it now.
Very helpful information.