5 Snacks for a Balanced Break

April 30, 2015

Take a break in your day and enjoy a snack that balances taste and nutrition and will keep you satisfied between meals. 

Take a break and enjoy a snack that balances taste and nutrition and will keep you satisfied between meals @jlevinsonRD #sponsored


This post is sponsored by Sargento Foods. I was compensated for my time and received samples of their Balanced Breaks snacks. All thoughts and opinions are 100% honest and my own.

I don’t know about you, but I feel like I’m always on the go. From the minute I wake up in the morning until my head rests on my pillow at night, I am racing against the clock to get everything done for the day. Take the kids to school, pick up the dry cleaning, test some recipes, make dinner, spend time with the kids, organize the house…the list can really go on and on. I’m not complaining (really, I’m not) – I love that I have a profession I enjoy and I’m lucky enough to work from home. But it’s a balancing act, as are many things in life.

We balance work with leisure time, exercise with relaxation, time together with alone time. Balance is a foundation of a healthy lifestyle and it’s something I communicate across the board with friends, family, clients, and through my various social networks. And when it comes to what we eat, there’s nothing more important than balancing food that’s nutritious with food that tastes good. That’s what Nutritioulicious is all about and what I strive to achieve in every recipe I develop and every menu plan I create. And it’s how I advise the public and everyone around me to fill their meals for the day.

For the most part, people know what a balanced plate looks like for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Some protein, whole grains, and a fruit and/or vegetable are the core of a meal as outlined by the USDA’s MyPlate and recommended by dietitian nutritionists for decades.

But when it comes to snacks, people are left a little more confused. In fact, IRi, a company that provides market intelligence and insights, recently collected data that 41% of consumers view snacks as an important part of a healthy eating plan, yet 59% of consumers say they indulge when they snack and prefer a snack that is salty, sweet, crunchy, or crispy to satisfy cravings. 50% of consumers are looking for snacks that offer benefits beyond basic nutrition. While I didn’t see any data for what these other benefits are, based on my experience, I am pretty sure one thing they are looking for is taste.

If you’re one out of every two people who is looking beyond nutrition, I have some great news for you. Here are 5 snacks that balance taste and nutrition and will keep you satisfied between meals.

  1. Sargento Balanced Breaks snacks

This new snack product from Sargento is full of nutrition and tastes amazing. Plus it’s the epitome of balance! Each individual snack tray has a compartment with natural cheese, crunchy roasted nuts, and sweet dried fruit. It’s the perfect match for those looking for a combination of salty, sweet, and crunchy. And it’s pretty much what I snack on all the time, which makes it an ideal fit for me.

Natural white cheddar cheese, sea-salted almonds and dried cranberries come together in Sargento's Balanced Breaks snack tray to satisfy your mid-day snack cravings.

Balanced Breaks snacks come in four varieties:

  • Natural White Cheddar Cheese, sea-salted almonds and dried cranberries
  • Natural Sharp Cheddar Cheese, sea-salted cashews and cherry juice-infused cranberries
  • Natural Pepper Jack Cheese, honey roasted peanuts and raisins
  • Natural Sharp White Cheddar Cheese, sea-salted cashews and golden raisin medley

Sargento Balanced Breaks snack trays are filled with natural cheese, crunchy roasted nuts, and sweet dried fruit. It’s the perfect solution for a salty, sweet, and crunchy craving!

Each package includes three 1.5 ounce snack trays, each with 7 grams of protein, fewer than 200 calories, and a maximum of 5 grams of saturated fat. You could pack this type of snack yourself, but the convenience of having the pre-portioned components all in one on-the-go snack tray is priceless (and they only cost $3.69 per 3-pack). Head to your grocer’s dairy aisle to find your favorite variety.

  1. Roasted Chickpeas

Whether you buy them packaged or make them yourself, these little morsels are a great snack. They’re a vegetarian source of protein and high in fiber, which makes them filling and satisfying. Plus, they can be made in a variety of flavors. Try them sweet with brown sugar and cinnamon or go savory with herbs and spices like rosemary, paprika, or cumin. These Crunchy Spiced Chickpeas by my friend Sonali at The Foodie Physician look like the perfect mid-afternoon pick-me-up!

Crunchy Spiced Chickpeas from The Foodie Physician

  1. Yogurt Parfait

This classic snack – yogurt, fruit, and a crunchy topping – still makes the list because it works time and again to get you from one meal to the next. Plus it provides you with a sweet, creamy, and crunchy combination that satisfies all your snacking needs. For the most nutrition, choose plain, low-fat yogurts, particularly one of the thicker high-protein varieties. You can drizzle your own honey or maple syrup for added sweetness if the fruit doesn’t provide enough. For the crunchy element, add a tablespoon or two of chopped nuts, granola, or whole-grain cereal of your choice. For a change of pace you can substitute cooked quinoa for granola or cereal like my friend Katie did in her Cinnamon Apple Quinoa Parfait.

Cinnamon Apple Quinoa Parfait from Mom to Mom Nutrition

  1. Mini Crudités Platter

Who says crudités is only for cocktail parties? Make snack time a party for one with some sliced veggies and dip. Carrots, peppers, cucumbers, jicama, and tomatoes are all filling and perfect for dipping. Beans, avocados, and yogurt make excellent bases for nutritious dips. Here are a few to try from some of my fellow registered dietitian nutritionist blogger friends:

Caramelized Onion Dip made with Greek Yogurt by Marisa Moore, MBA, RDN, LD
Caramelized Onion Dip made with Greek Yogurt by Marisa Moore, MBA, RDN, LD
Avocado Pesto Hummus made with avocados and chickpeas by Alex Caspero,
Avocado Pesto Hummus made with avocados and chickpeas by Alex Caspero, RD
Sugar Cookie Dough Dip made with chickpeas, perfect to pair with fruit by Meme Inge, MS, RD
Sugar Cookie Dough Dip made with chickpeas, perfect to pair with fruit by Meme Inge, MS, RD
  1. Popcorn
    I’m not talking about that buttery movie theater popcorn you can smell from a mile away. The popcorn I like to snack on is air-popped and flavored with herbs and spices like this Smokey Spiced Chili Lime Popcorn by EA Stewart, The Spicy RD. Corn is a whole grain and popcorn is a good source of fiber, which means it will satisfy you and keep you full between meals – exactly what you want you want out of snack!

Smokey Spiced Chili Lime Popcorn from The Spicy RD

Is balance in any part of your life something you struggle with?

What do you snack on when you take a balanced break?

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  1. I love the Sargento breaks snack packs! Joey does too… they make a great snack for road trips! Thanks so much for sharing my recipe… you just reminded me what I can do with leftover quinoa 🙂

    1. Perfect for a road trip! They’re meant to be an adult snack, but my kids love them too!! You’re so welcome. I can’t wait to make it the next time I have leftover quinoa!

  2. Great snacking tips Jessica and thanks so much for sharing my Chili Lime Popcorn! Like Liz, I’ve never seen the Sargento Balanced Break snacks before, but I will definitely look for them the next time I’m at the store-great idea! I struggle with trying to get everything done (not possible!) on a daily basis, but I’m trying to come to peace with that 🙂 Fortunately, as far as food goes, I’m pretty good at keeping things balanced. I usually have 1 snack a day around 3:30, because this tides me over between lunch and dinner, and is the time I am busy shuttling my kids around to their after school sports and activities. Love all the balanced snack ideas you’ve shared here!

    1. It takes a lot of work to set things aside when they work day is supposed to come to an end. Good for you for making balanced meals a priority!

  3. I do try to have some balance in my snacks! I also like putting popcorn in with trail mix. Salty and crunchy are my favorite! But on the other end of the spectrum, yogurt with fresh fruit, granola and a little dark chocolate is sooo satisfying!