Learn from The Balanced Snack Box’s Founder, Evie Levitin, about the journey of building a healthy snack subscription box business.
Reading ingredient lists and deciphering marketing claims can make shopping for healthy snacks feel like an impossible, exhausting task. Evie Levitin spent countless hours scanning the aisles of local grocery stores, trying to find good quality, clean snacks for her husband and kids. That’s when she thought of The Balanced Snack Box. Clean, organic and non-GMO snacks delivered straight to your door every month. She’s on a mission to help families live a more healthful life, one snack at a time.
We chatted with Evie about what made her want to switch from her corporate job to a nutritionist, how they decide what goes in each box and what her favourite snack is right now.
WEHL: Tell us a little about yourself and why you became interested in wellness and starting a healthy snack subscription box business.
EL: I am a former CA, CPA turned Registered Holistic Nutritionist. Quite the career change, I know! Through my own health and weight loss journey a few years ago, I found my passion in nutrition. I left my career in tax and financial statement audit at a top accounting firm and with 2 kids and a 3rd on the way, I went back to school to study nutrition.
In my quest to better the health and eating habits of myself, my husband and my 3 kids, I would frequent the aisles of my local grocery and health food stores, scanning and reading packages. I became very good at reading labels and understanding ingredients. I realized that not only can I help others snack more healthfully and incorporate healthy snacking into a balanced diet, there is no Canadian company offering a snack subscription service like this. Especially one that includes full-size snacks so the whole family can share, where snacks are reviewed by a nutritionist and can also cater to a variety of dietary preferences and restrictions. This is how The Balanced Snack Box was born!
WEHL: What is your philosophy on wellness?
EL: My motto, first and foremost, is to listen to your body. Everybody is so uniquely different and will react differently to specific lifestyles, triggers, environments, and foods. The most important thing you can do for yourself is to listen to your body’s cues, reactions, and hints carefully, so you can truly understand what works best for you. Practicing this type of mindfulness is the key to living a healthy life. Being in tune with your body, practicing intuitive eating, and respecting the immense responsibility our bodies carry physically and mentally is critical to health and wellness.
WEHL: You are also a holistic nutritionist. What made you want to switch from your corporate job to nutrition?
EL: It all started on my own weight loss journey. One morning I woke up and had enough. I was the heaviest I had ever been, after having 2 kids (not an excuse, just reality) and I felt drained. I knew I had to make a change. I lost 60lbs and through that process, I felt like so much weight was being lifted off my shoulders (pun intended).
I started to really feel how my body reacts to certain foods and to exercise (or lack thereof). I finally felt in control of myself and in tune with my body. For the first time since I was a little child, I was eating intuitively. I became so fascinated and enthralled with the power of nutrition as it relates to all aspects of physical and mental health that I knew my path was to help others unlock this power as well.
WEHL: What is The Balanced Snack Box and how does it work?
EL: The Balanced Snack Box is a Canadian subscription box company delivering full-size, healthy snacks to your door monthly. We offer 6 box customizations for our full-size boxes: Original, Gluten-Free, Vegan, Kosher, Nut-Free, and Keto-Friendly. These boxes come with 5-8 full-size snacks plus samples and exclusive offers. What’s great is that the retail value of everything included always exceeds what you pay, so it’s cheaper than going to the grocery store!
We also just launched our Mini Snacker in August, which is a mini-me version of our best selling Original box and comes with 12-15 individual sized snacks. All orders ship out the 4th of each month and subscriptions renew on the 11th of each month. There are no commitments or obligations and you can cancel anytime. We also send out a reminder email 2 days before the renewal date, reminding you of the renewal, in case you forget!
WEHL: How do you determine what goes into the healthy snack subscription box each month?
EL: Monthly snack planning takes up a lot of time! First we want to make sure we are including good quality snacks from good quality companies. Next, we want to make sure we pack in as much value as possible. We carefully choose snacks based on ingredients, from local Canadian companies as much as possible, and ensure a good mix of sweet and savoury snacks. We also make sure not to repeat snacks or include multiple snacks of the same category.
WEHL: Do you have a list of ingredients that you make sure are not included in your snacks?
EL: We try to be very careful with the ingredients that are included in the snacks we include every month. For example, we will never include something made with palm oil unless the package or company website specifically states that it is sustainably sourced. Similarly, we will avoid including canola oil unless it specifically states that it is not hydrogenated. When it comes to sugars, we are mindful of the fibre content alongside the sugar content, where that sugar is coming from (i.e. a concentrate or a date), and its place on the ingredient list.
WEHL: You probably get to try a LOT of snacks – which ones are you favourites right now?
EL: Currently, I am obsessed with these energy balls called Snack Bombs from a company called Snack Conscious. They are a local brand here in Toronto. The snacks are made in Toronto as well and the ingredients are of the cleanest, most nutrient-dense I’ve ever seen. They are so tasty, I love them! I also really love these coconut chips from a local Toronto brand called Rawcology [PS – Read our blog post with them here]. Their vegan ranch and cheese flavours are absolutely scrumptious! And they use such amazing ingredients, like sprouted sunflower seeds.
WEHL: How do you find out about new snacks?
EL: I am on Instagram a lot! Many brands I’ve come across are from Instagram because a lot of them are smaller Canadian brands that are not quite ready to be in big grocery and health food stores yet. I also have found quite a few gems at my local health food store. Some brands reach out to me directly.
WEHL: You have quite a few different types of snack box options from vegan, to nut-free and keto-friendly. Is it hard to find different monthly snacks for all of the different types of eating?
EL: Honestly, the most challenging box for me to plan is the keto-friendly box. Mainly because I know keto very well, I have been low carb for 2.5 years and coupled with my nutritional training, I really find that there are so many bad low carb products out there. Lots of artificial sweeteners and flavours, ingredients I would never include. Even something as simple as a trail mix can be coated with canola oil… like, why is that necessary? Also, we ensure that all snacks in this box have 5g net carbs or less. So planning this box takes me extra time each month. I should mention however, that I have found some AMAZING keto-friendly snacks as well, like those coconut chips I mentioned above from Rawcology.
WEHL: Which one of your healthy snack subscription boxes is the most popular and why do you think that is?
EL: We have 2 very popular boxes, the first being the Original and the second being the Keto-Friendly box. I think the Original is so popular because it can cater to a variety of people in one household and I am not particularly limited with what to include in this box, as it relates to dietary restrictions.
Our Keto-Friendly box popularity took me by surprise! I didn’t realize so many people were trying to follow this lifestyle but the feedback I have received is that it is hard for people to go out on their own and find good quality keto-friendly snacks. They have a hard time reading the labels and understanding if it is something that they could eat without sabotaging their choice to eat low carb. I also think it’s because we are the only Canadian company doing what we are doing, that also provides so much value in each box. Healthy snacks, especially healthy keto-friendly snacks are expensive!
WEHL: Finding snacks that kids will like can be a challenge. Do you have any advice for parents looking to switch up their snack routine?
EL: With kids, it’s tough because they are so picky sometimes! I have 3 littles myself, who are 5, 3 and 1. I know the struggle! I say, as long as you are presenting your children with healthy options, let them choose what they like and don’t like. Teach them that they are in charge of their bodies and health and help them understand how their bodies react when they are not mindful of what they eat. Children are naturally born with intuitive eating habits, keep guiding them to listen to their bodies and by doing so, you’re pathing their way to living a healthy lifestyle, especially when you’re not around (i.e. school, birthday parties, etc.)
WEHL: What’s your favourite thing about running a healthy snack subscription box company?
EL: I love that I am finally doing what I love! Sounds so cliche but it’s true. I love that I love going to work. I love that I can help people eat better. I love that I have the ability to educate people about healthy food choices and make it easy for them in the process!
WEHL: Your healthy snack subscription box is all about balance. How do you find balance in your life being an entrepreneur and a mom?
EL: This is so tough and I think one day I may write a book about it. I’m still figuring it out, to be honest. I’m not going to pretend that it’s easy. I’m not going to pretend that I don’t have help. I have learned to ask for help and not be ashamed that I can’t “do it all”. My husband is very supportive but he also works full time. I hired a nanny 3 times a week to clean the house and watch my 1 year old, while my older 2 are at school. Some days I wake up earlier than the rest of the house to get in some me-time (write in my journal, take a morning walk, light yoga, etc.) or I work after the kids are in bed. I do a lot of work on my phone when I have to take the kids to their extra-curricular activities. I bring my laptop to dance class and work there. At the end of the day, as a mom and an entrepreneur, sometimes work takes up more of my time than family and sometimes family takes more time that work. The main thing for me is that I want to ensure I’m always fully present in any scenario.
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