You don’t need to resort to frying—or even baking—to make healthy crunchy snacks you’ll love. So many raw foods deliver the robust crunch you crave.
What is so satisfying about crunchiness anyway? Mental Floss (MF) has the answer. In the article, The Science Behind Why We Crave Loud and Crunchy Foods, MF explores the art of the crunch, or as one researcher dubbed it, the “music of mastication.” Crunchiness brings a whole new sense—hearing—to the magic of eating. Listening to the sounds of our eating engages us even further in the process; the more noticeable the sound, the better the experience becomes. Crunches remind us to pay attention to our eating.
Since we love crunching so much, it’s important to find healthy ways to do it. That’s why we pulled together a roundup of healthy crunchy snack recipes you can make with wholesome raw foods that come delicious, natural crunch.
Healthy Crunchy Snacks with Carrots
Carrots deliver a number of health benefits along with their characteristic crunch. They have few calories and a solid amount of fiber, and they have tons (334 % of your recommended daily value or DV) of vitamin A, which bolsters healthy vision and immune system function.
Crunch factor: 10
Carrot Recipes and Snack Ideas:
- Dip raw carrots in yogurt and sriracha.
- Spread almond butter onto raw carrot sticks.
- Drizzle olive oil and vinegar onto shaved carrots to make a bright orange salad.
- Pickle fresh carrots to have a crunchy, flavorful snack on hand at all times.
- Dip carrot rounds in fresh salsa to get a healthier version of chips and salsa.
- Dehydrate and season carrots.
Healthy Crunchy Snacks with Celery
Believe it or not, there’s a science to the satisfying crunch that celery offers.
Here’s a bit more detail from botanists at the University of California, Santa Barbara:
“Besides xylem (water-conducting) and phloem (food-conducting) tissues, which together are called vascular bundles, celery contains collenchyma tissue, which provides support for the plant. Collenchyma tissue is made up of elongated living cells filled with water, and the pressure of the water against the cell walls creates a stiffness that gives celery its crunch.”
In addition to crunch, celery has vitamin C, vitamin A, and even some calcium. Celery also contains loads of antioxidants that protect your body from cell damage.
Crunch factor: 9
Celery Recipes and Snack Ideas:
- Top celery sticks with raisins and peanut butter to make “ants on a log.”
- Get creative with some variations on the “ants on a log” recipe. Try topping celery sticks with:
- Tahini and crispy baked lentils
- Harissa and mashed chickpeas
- Chicken chunks and chopped grapes. (Consider it mayo-free chicken salad on a stick.)
- Salsa with chopped hard-boiled eggs
- Dip celery sticks in guacamole. (The half-moon shape will scoop up the guac better than most tortilla chips.)
- Marinate celery stalks in a mix of sesame oil and sesame seeds.
- Use celery as an edible garnish for your favorite juice or smoothie.
Healthy Crunchy Snacks with Apples
There’s nothing quite like taking the first bite of an apple. And with so many different shapes and varieties of apples to try, the sweet sound of your first crunch could be different every time.
Apples have been most of humanity’s favorite fruit throughout much of history. Perhaps their crunchiness has something to do with their enviable position on top of our grocery lists. (It also helps that apples make us feel good, providing us with plenty of fiber and lots of vitamin C.) Since apples have lots of fiber and a high water content, they make us feel full and therefore fit nicely into any diet and weight-loss strategy.
Crunch factor: 7
Apple Recipes and Snack Ideas:
Give the ideas below a try, but never forget that a whole, raw apple delivers a good crunch and great taste.
- Eat apple slices with cheese. This classic combination lends itself to many delightful combinations. Try apples with these cheesy pairings:
- Herbed goat cheese
- Sharp cheddar and fresh rosemary
- Blue cheese, red pepper flakes, and honey
- Swiss cheese and fresh dill
- Brie and hazelnuts
- Apple sticks with yogurt dip. (Mix 1/4 cup Greek yogurt with 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/8 tsp nutmeg, and 1 tablespoon of maple syrup.)
- Make apple bagel snacks.
- Make healthy raw apple donuts.
- Try raw apple nachos.
- Soak apple slices in juice.
Healthy Crunchy Snacks with Jicama
Sweet, starchy, and irresistibly crunchy jicama possesses remarkable snacking versatility. It has a mild flavor that tastes like a potato with just a hint of juicy apple.
Jicama goes by many names, including “the Mexican potato, Mexican yam bean, ahipa, saa got, Chinese turnip, lo bok, and the Chinese potato. (In Ecuador and Peru the name “jicama” is used for the unrelated Yacón or Peruvian ground apple, a plant of the Sunflower family whose tubers are also used as food),” according to Foodreference.com.
No matter what you decide to call it, jicama deserves a place in your snacking repertoire. Just 100 grams of jicama provides 20% of your DV of filling fiber.
Crunch factor: 7
Jicama Recipes and Snack Ideas:
- Dip jicama sticks in guacamole, salsa, hummus, and any other dip you want.
- Slice jicama into rounds. Top the rounds with black bean dip and a sprinkle of cheese.
- Make cilantro lime jicama fries with vegan chipotle mayo.
- Use jicama as a base for jicama-date canapes.
- Make a mini taco with black beans, avocado, and matchstick jicama.
- Make jicama chips.
Healthy Crunchy Snacks with Snap Peas
Snap peas, or sugar snap peas, have tender, yet crunchy shells. The shells hold up to cooking and still maintain a remarkable snap. Snaps peas also taste great! They have a subtle sweetness with a light nutty undertone, and they work well with a variety of different flavor combinations. To top it off, snap peas have a variety of health benefits. In fact, Chatelaine, a popular Canadian website, has five good reasons that snap peas are the perfect healthy snack:
Here’s the quick take from their post:
- May boost your immunity
- Contain bone-healthy vitamin K
- Offer sweetness with zero guilt
- Have tons of iron to ward off fatigue
- Provide a healthy dose of filling fiber
Get more snap peas in your snacking life by trying the recipes and ideas below.
Crunch factor: 7
Snap Pea Recipes and Snack Ideas:
- Dip snap peas in your favorite savory peanut sauce. (You can also whip your own with natural peanut butter, sesame oil, and your favorite healthy soy sauce.)
- Eat a bowl of raw snap peas drizzled with smoked sesame oil and lime juice.
- Saute sugar snap peas with lemon.
- Eat snap peas in a salad.
- Put a few snap peas inside a mini pita pocket stuffed with hummus.
Healthy Crunchy Snacks with Parsnips
We don’t often hear buzz about parsnips, and to us, that means the world is missing out on a delicious and healthy snack. Parsnips have the same shape and crunchiness of a carrot, but they have a potato’s inviting color and starchy, slightly creamy texture. With plenty of natural sweetness and starch, parsnips taste much richer than they really are. A whole cup of parsnips has only 100 calories, and that serving also includes 28% of your DV of fiber and 14% of your DV of potassium.
According to Organic Facts, parsnips may also boost heart health. The potassium parsnips contain widens blood vessels, which can ultimately relax blood pressure. And the folate in parsnips may reduce levels of homocysteine, an amino acid often linked to heart disease.
Crunch factor: 6 (These root vegetables have a firm crunch when raw, but they do soften after cooking.)
Parsnip Recipes and Snack Ideas:
- Use parsnip rounds as the “bread” for mini sandwiches. Try:
- Turkey and swiss
- Sliced mushrooms and goat cheese
- Turkey bacon and spinach
- Tahini and sun-dried tomato
- Shave parsnips to make slaws that are both sweet and savory. Try:
- Avocado and peanut oil
- Cider vinegar, sea salt, and fresh heirloom tomatoes
- Olive oil, lemon juice, and Old Bay seasoning
- Make shaved parsnip salad.
Healthy Crunchy Snacks with Bell Peppers
Often diced and added to soups, stews, tacos, and other dishes, bell peppers soften when cooked. Many of us overlook them when we’re considering healthy crunchy snacks but in raw form, bell peppers of all colors have a juicy, sweet crunch.
Bell peppers contain a long list of good-for-you ingredients, including vitamin C, vitamin K1, vitamin E, vitamin A, folate, potassium, and antioxidants.
Crunch factor: 6 (Based on its raw form)
Bell Pepper Recipes and Snack Ideas:
- Bell pepper sticks never disappoint. Try these dips with your pepper sticks:
- Spicy peanut sauce
- Curried Greek yogurt and cilantro dip
- Black bean dip
- Warm feta and shitake mushrooms
- If you’re sick of eating raw sticks, then give your snacks a bit more structure by stuffing bell pepper halves with inspiring fillings. Try:
- Cottage cheese and black beans
- Quinoa and chickpeas
- Diced tofu and green peas
- Tabbouleh and fresh tomatoes
Healthy Crunchy Snacks with Broccoli
A key member of the cruciferous* vegetable family, broccoli has staple on our plates since we were kids. This green veggie has a satisfying crunch and loads of health benefits from its generous levels of vitamin C, potassium, fiber, protein, and iron.
*Here’s a fun fact for anyone who’s ever wondered why we call some vegetables cruciferous. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, “The name “cruciferous” is an informal classification for members of the mustard family and comes from the Latin cruciferae meaning “cross bearing,” because the four petals resemble a cross.”
Crunch factor: 6 (Based on its raw form)
Broccoli Recipes and Snack Ideas:
- Dip broccoli florets in healthy broccoli salad dip. (Just stir together 1 cup of Greek yogurt, 1 tablespoon of yellow mustard, 1 teaspoon of diced red onions, 1 tablespoon of sunflower seeds, and one teaspoon of maple syrup.)
- Eat raw broccoli with salt, lemon juice, and olive oil.
- Try raw broccoli with a hint of shaved Parmesan.
- Put a mix of raw broccoli, pumpkin seeds, and chipotle hot sauce into one half of an avocado.
Healthy Crunchy Snacks with Cabbage
Like broccoli, cabbage belongs to the cruciferous family. This plant boasts incredibly strong stalks and thick, robust leaves. It produces a crunch that’s made for satisfying snacking. Cabbage offers a diverse list of benefits that include everything from warding off cancer to providing anti-aging beauty benefits.
To use cabbage in your healthy crunchy snacks, we recommended passing on the wraps and tortillas and filling those crispy, crunchy leaves with delicious healthy ingredients.
Crunch factor: 7 (Fill cabbage leaves with some of the other crunchy ingredients on this list to boost the crunch factor.)
Cabbage Recipes and Snack Ideas:
- Roll thin sticks of carrots and cucumbers into a savoy cabbage leaf with the dip or condiment of your choice.
- Put your favorite sandwich ingredients into a dark green cabbage leave. Roll and enjoy! Here are some ideas:
- Hummus and tomato
- Chopped broccoli and diced tofu
- Tempeh and bell peppers
- Brown rice and edamame
- Make raw cabbage sushi burritos.
- Make a sesame-lime detox salad.
Healthy Crunchy Snacks with Endive
Before we go into what endive is, let’s cover how you pronounce it. HuffPost Life covers the pronunciation of endive in their post, How You Pronounce ‘Endive’ Actually Matters, And Here’s Why. They say, “The rocket-shaped vegetable we call endive is actually pronounced ‘On-Deeve.’”
According to California Endive Farms,“Endive is a member of the chicory family, which includes radicchio, escarole, frisee and curly endive. It has a crisp texture and a sweet, nutty flavor with a pleasantly mild bitterness — great served raw or cooked.”
Endive’s small, robust leaves make perfect “boats.” You can put anything healthy in them to make a fast healthy snack.
Crunch factor: 6
Endive Boat Recipes and Ideas; try these fillings in your endive leaves:
- Pears, blue cheese, and walnuts
- Apples, blue cheese, and hazelnuts
- Artichokes, tomato, and feta
- Marinated vegetables
Healthy Crunchy Snacks with Radish
Radishes do more than add color to salads and restaurant plates; they can actually stand alone as a healthy crunchy snack.
Radishes have crunch, flavor—a nuanced peppery flavor to boot—and lots of feel-good nutrients, including vitamin C and potassium.
Crunch factor: 7
Radish Recipes and Snack Ideas:
- Slice radishes and serve them on crispy whole-wheat toast with avocado or tahini.
- Pickle them.
- Slice them into chips and snack on them with dilled yogurt.
- Stack radish slices with thinly sliced cucumber and tomato.
Healthy Crunchy Snacks with Brazil Nuts
A bunch of different nuts deliver a hearty crunch including almonds, hazelnuts, and pecans. We’re choosing brazil nuts as the basis of some healthy crunchy snacks because they’re a larger nut that can be enjoyed in two bites, thus making for an even longer lasting crunchy snack.
Plus, the selenium in Brazil nuts could improve thyroid function to help your body regulate hormone levels.
Please note: Be careful not to overdo the Brazil nuts! Here’s what the National Institutes of Health says about eating Brazil nuts:
“Brazil nuts, for example, contain very high amounts of selenium (68-91 mcg per nut) and can cause you to go over the upper limit if you eat too many.”
For adults, the upper limit of selenium is 400 mcg. So you may want to limit your brazil nut portions to 1/2 ounce, or about about 3 nuts.
Crunch factor: 9
Brazil Nut Recipes and Snack Ideas:
- Eat raw Brazil nuts as-is.
- Sprinkle them with cajun seasoning and bake them.
- Slice them in half lengthwise and add a dollop of your favorite sugar-free jam.
Healthy Crunchy Snacks with Water Chestnuts
Water chestnuts, Chinese water chestnuts to be precise, are not actually nuts; they’re corms.
That’s right, corms. What are they? According to Awkward Botany, “Corms are underground storage organs. They are the bases of stems that have become thick and swollen with starch.”
All that starch makes water chestnuts satisfyingly crunchy when they’re raw, and that means they’re the perfect ingredients for fast and easy healthy snacks.
Crunch factor: 8
Water Chestnut Recipes and Snack Ideas:
- Eat sliced water chestnuts with fresh ginger and your favorite Asian sauce to make a quick raw “stir-fry.”
- Add water chestnuts to salads to boost the crunch factor.
- Wrap them in rice paper with tofu and other veggies to make easy raw “spring rolls.”
Healthy Crunchy Snacks with Edamame
Delicious both in and out of the shell, edamame appears as a best-selling appetizer in sushi restaurants across the country. The snappy, sweet, and nutty soybean can become a full-flavored dish with just a little salt and some healthy steaming. Edamame has lots of plant-based protein, so it provides the perfect snack when you need something crunchy that’s also hearty and filling.
You can prepare edamame in many different ways. Here are some of our favorite snack-friendly ideas.
Crunch factor: 7
Edamame Recipes and Snack Ideas:
- Steam edamame. Try these variations:
- Season with sea salt and a squeeze of fresh orange juice
- Toss with fresh diced jalapeno and lime juice
- Mix with shallots and balsamic vinegar..
- Bake edamame to make it even crunchier.
- Roast edamame with chickpeas.
- Make blistered edamame.
Everyone likes a different kind of crunch. Some people enjoy a light and airy snap while others want something with a little bit of moisture. What kind of crunch do you crave? Let us know in the comments below.
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