When it comes to our day-to-day diets, sometimes it’s best to follow the mantra of “keep it simple.”
So in a day and age where fatty, processed foods are the norm, eating more healthy plant-based snacks is a smart move.
Even if you don’t plan on going full-on vegan or vegetarian, the benefits of eating a plant-based diet are well-documented. From a lower risk of heart disease to minding your waistline, eating more whole foods and fewer animal products are both good news for your body.
To be clear, the difference between a vegan and a plant-based diet is that the latter offers a greater sense of flexibility and fewer “hard’ rules.
On a plant-based diet, you might still consume dairy or meat on occasion. However, your end-goal is to eat as clean as possible, focusing on foods that quite literally come from the earth rather than something produced in a factory.
If you’re looking to adopt a more natural diet, we’ve got you covered with our list of healthy plant-based snacks and recipes! This list has something for everyone in terms of flavor and experience level in the kitchen.
Oh, and don’t let the “healthy” part fool you – all of these plant-based options are seriously delicious!
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Grab-and-Go Plant-Based Snacks
Think that plant-based snacking needs to be complicated or time-consuming? Think again! Below are some quick grab-and-go snacks that are perfect for the office or when you’re pressed for time.
Photo courtesy of smilingnotes.com
1. Bush’s Best Roasted Chickpeas
We consider roasted chickpeas an elite “super-snack”. Why? Because they’re perfect on the go, completely versatile (think granola snack, salad topping, etc.), and they’re loaded with a surprising amount of nutrition in every bite. In fact, studies show that the high protein and fiber found in these tiny, crunchy seeds can help curb appetite, lower blood sugar, and maintain digestive health. So, which chickpeas should you grab? We love Bush’s Best Roasted Chickpeas for combining all of the health benefits of chickpeas with delicious, real flavor! Their Cracked Pepper flavor adds just enough spice, is gluten-free, and perfectly portioned in a grab-and-go pouch.
Fresh fruits and veggies are obvious staples of a plant-based diet. Smoothies offer a tasty and convenient way to get your fill of freshness without burning out.
Seriously, though. From bananas and mangos to blueberries and spinach, the flavor combinations out there are seriously endless. Ideal as a grab-and-go breakfast or something you can sip on throughout the day, you can experiment with a different smoothie every day without running out of ideas.
Despite popular belief, smoothies don’t necessarily have to be time-consuming. As part of a Sunday meal prep routine, you can put together your fruit and veggie combinations beforehand and simply blend them up before you head out the door. A thermal cup can keep your smoothies fresh and cold throughout the workday to help you curb your sugar cravings.
3. Plant-based Bars
Sometimes you need a snack that’s no-mess and no fuss.
Hey, we hear you.
We at SnackNation recommend keeping a fruit bar or two at your desk to take care of your afternoon cravings at a moment’s notice. Many of the healthy-plant based snacks on our list do require some degree of prep, so an instant option is always nice. Also, fruit-only bars serve as a guilt-free, filling alternative to candy bars or sugary snacks with little-to-no nutritional value. Easy to grab and go, plant-based bars offer the kinds of quality ingredients that will fuel you through a busy day at work, school, or just out and about.
4. Dried Fruit
Dried fruit is known as “nature’s candy” for a reason.
We recommend dried fare such as figs, apples, raisins, dates, apples and cranberries to munch on during the workday.
Dried fruit is perfect by itself or as part of a trail mix if you’re looking for something different. For example, this Nature’s Garden mix combines fruit with walnuts, almonds and sunflower seeds to serve as a healthy balance of sweet and savory. Snacks such as spicy banana chips are also worth trying if you really crave off-the-wall flavors.
Sometimes dried fruit gets a bad rap because of added sugar. That’s why it always pays to look at nutritional labels when shopping around for healthy plant-based snacks. For example, these Sunny Fruit Organic dried figs are just organic figs and water. How’s that for keeping it simple?
5. Fresh Fruit
No matter how you slice it, you can’t ignore the fresh stuff!
Fresh fruits such as bananas, apples and grapes good no-mess options for work. Bananas, in particular, are relatively cheap and can be bought in bulk with no refrigeration required.
We recommend cutting up and pre-portioning your fruits as part of your meal-prep routine if you’ve got the time. This allows you to try out new combinations and avoid any sort of peeling or washing at work. You can also look up what kinds of fresh fruit are in-season to choose the right fruit to take home. There are so many different kinds and varieties out there, knowing how and when to eat them can make all the difference.
6. Vegetable Chips
Who said that healthy plant-based snacks can’t taste like “the good stuff?”
Vegetable chips are a prime example of a savory snack that can taste just as good (if not better) than the real deal, all the while containing fewer additives and calories. For example, sweet potato chips, kale chips and roasted seaweed can satisfy your savory cravings minus the guilt.
If you consider yourself a bit of a junk food addict, these snacks are a great place to start on your journey toward a whole-foods, plant-based diet.
7. Fresh Vegetables
We also can’t talk about plant-based eating without talking about, you know, eating plants.
Fresh vegetables are nutritionally dense and are second-to-none when it comes to keeping you full.
Carrots and celery might not seem like the most exciting snacks in the world, but they do have the bonus of requiring little-to-no prep. Some creative dipping sauces such as guacamole and curry sauce can go a long way toward making your raw veggies more palatable, too.
It’s easy to forget about the “corn” in popcorn when thinking over healthy snacks.
It all comes down to how you prep it. For example, air-popping your popcorn will help reduce calories, as will avoiding any excessive, buttery toppings.
Bulk popcorn is inexpensive if nothing else. It can also be popped at home and brought to work without losing its freshness if kept in an airtight container.
If you find plain popcorn boring or off-putting, consider some flavors to spice things up. Parmesan popcorn and sea salt popcorn are both great options.
Eaten either roasted or as part of your favorite hummus, chickpeas are full of antioxidants. in addition to having a unique, complex flavor profile, roasted chickpeas are another example of healthy plant-based snacks you can prepare in bulk at home to enjoy to replace traditional junk food.
Plant-based dieters should rightfully be concerned about their protein intake. The good news? Tofu is a great source of plant-based protein and is a staple substitution for those trying to avoid meat. If you’ve been put off by tofu’s texture in the past, it’s worth experimenting tofu snack recipes such as tofu jerky or tofu chips to make yourself a believer again.
Whether or not granola is truly “plant-based” is up for debate, but it’s a perfect pairing for so many of the snacks above regardless. Trail mix? Fresh fruit? Smoothies? Granola is a fantastic option for adding in a sweet crunch, and you can make your own granola for next to nothing.
Simple Planet-Based Recipes to Try
Putting together a fully plant-based meal or snack at home is much easier than you might think. Here are some quick and easy plant-based recipes for when you’re looking for something savory, sweet or somewhere in-between.
12. DIY Vegan Trail Mix
Like many healthy plant-based snacks, this recipe from Lean Green Dad is also vegan-friendly.
As noted, trail mix is an awesome way to get your fill of plant-based flavors. This recipe serves as a template that’s so easy to follow for creating your own trail mix time and time again. To simplify, the ratios are half-a-cup of the following:
- A raw or dry-roasted nut of your choice
- A raw or dry-roasted seed of your choice
- An unsweetened dried fruit of your choice
- A vegan chocolate or chocolate substitute (carob) of your choice
This leads to a whole slew of sweet or savory options you can experiment with. You’ll love the boost in energy that trail mix provides, plus it can help fight off any junk food cravings.
13. Garlicky Kale Salad with Crispy Chickpeas
If you think that you’re sick of salads, this recipe from The Minimalist Baker will change your mind.
Combining kale and chickpeas with a tangy tahini dressing, this salad is entirely plant-based and delicious. Ready in less than 30 minutes, this is a prime option for a meal at home or at work.
14. Collard Green Spring Rolls
Another winner from the Minimalist Baker, these spring rolls are even better than what you can get at your favorite Asian restaurant. Veggie and tofu-based, they’re surprisingly filling and the Asian-inspired dressing can be paired with just about any raw veggie. Try it out!
15. 3-Ingredient Peanut-Butter Sesame Cookies
Here’s one to satisfy your sweet tooth! These cookies from Purple Carrot might not sound like much, but pack a punch of flavor with their three ingredients: peanut butter, maple syrup and sesame seeds (all of which are technically plant-based).
16. Sweet and Salty Coconut Chips
This recipe from Purple Carrot is a tropically sweet and savory treat that only takes 20 minutes to put together. Sweetened with natural agave, you can enjoy them as a snack or dessert when your cravings hit.
Plant-Based Substitutes for Snacking and Cooking
Adopting a more plant-based diet doesn’t necessarily mean giving up all of the foods that you love. Below are some common plant-based substitutions that can replicate animal products including dairy and meat-based ingredients.
17. Meat substitutes (black beans, mushrooms, tofu)
If you’ve gone meatless and are totally missing a good burger, we don’t blame you.
Black bean patties and Portobello mushrooms can do the trick for most beef dishes. For chicken or pork, tofu can be used as a substitution. Seasonings and condiments can go a long way for any meat substitutions in terms of flavor and texture.
18. Egg substitutes (bananas, flaxseed)
The debate over eggs and their impact on our health is ongoing. If you’re trying to reduce or replace them, vegan options such as bananas and flaxseed work like a charm for most baked recipes. As a side note, bananas typically work better for desserts (due to their natural sugar) while flaxseed is better for non-sweet dishes.
19. Chocolate substitutes (carob)
Plant-based dieting typically means trying to get away from processed sugars. That said, giving up chocolate can a challenge. That’s where carob comes in. Beyond acting as a natural chocolate substitute, the upsides of carob include a boost in calcium and properties that reduce headaches.
20. Protein powder substitutes (pea protein)
As noted, protein is a concern for those primarily eating healthy plant-based snacks. The good news? There are a number of vegan protein powders out there, including pea protein, which act as a substitute for old-school whey protein. Some of the best vegan protein powders include brands such as Orgain and Garden of Life
21. Butter substitutes (coconut oil)
If you’re used to cooking with butter and want something plant-based instead, coconut oil is a smart swap that won’t sacrifice flavor. Just be aware of coconut oil’s low smoke point and think “less is more” when it comes to using it for frying.
Quick Tips for Plant-Based Snacking
To wrap things up, here are some quick tips for those looking to eat more healthy plant-based snacks and adopt better snacking habits.
Ease Into It
Remember: you don’t have to go cold-turkey or totally transform your diet overnight.
Instead, take baby steps. For example, replace one of your daily meals with a plant-based dish or vow to give up processed snacks in lieu of healthy, plant-based ones. After that, see how you feel.
It’s better to take smaller steps rather than big, sweeping changes you can’t stick to. On the flip side, you may be surprised at just how easy it is to adjust to plant-based eating once you give it a shot.
Keep an Open Mind
Don’t look at plant-based snacking as “giving up” what you love, but rather than an opportunity to experiment with new snacks and flavors. Many people are put off by veganism because they see it as too restrictive. With plant-based dieting, there is so much out there to enjoy without making too many sacrifices in the grand scheme of things.
Switch It Up!
As is the case with any sort of diet, eating the same snacks over and over will result in boredom and burnout. Keep hunting for new recipes and rotate your snacks regularly (hint: we at SnackNation can certainly help in that department).
How Many of Our Healthy Plant-Based Snacks Have You Tried?
Plant-based eating doesn’t have to be boring – not by a long shot!
There are so many healthy plant-based snacks out there and we consider our list as a solid starting point for anyone looking for more variety.
And to help you experiment with even more plant-based options, make sure to claim your first SnackNation box to see what we have to offer. Happy snacking!