Plant-Based Snacks: The Best Options to Keep on Hand
Staying satiated on a plant-based diet can be a bit challenging. Why? Because plant-based foods like fruits, veggies, legumes, and whole grains have a lower calorie density than animal-based foods like meat and dairy.
The solution? Eating bigger portions at mealtime and keeping healthy plant-based snacks on hand.
To help you with the latter, we’ve rounded up a repertoire of healthy and delicious plant-based snacks to tide you over between meals. The snack ideas shared in this article are:
- Made with whole foods
- Vegan and gluten-free
- Loaded with nutrients, fiber, and plant-based protein to help you feel full, satisfied, and energized
First Things First, What Is a Plant-Based Diet?
A plant-based diet is exactly what it sounds like. It involves eating primarily foods derived from plants, including fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
To be clear, a plant-based diet and a vegan diet aren’t the same thing. Those on a vegan diet eliminate all animal products, while those on a plant-based diet focus on eating plant foods, but might have animal-based foods occasionally.
In other words, a vegan diet is a type of plant-based diet, but a plant-based diet isn’t necessarily a vegan diet.
Why Eat a Plant-Based Diet?
We can look to studies involving vegans to elucidate the benefits of plant-based eating. A large study involving more than 96,000 people showed that vegans have:[*]
- A 75% lower risk of high blood pressure
- A 47-78% lower risk of type 2 diabetes
- A 14% lower risk of developing cancer
The same study also found that all vegans experienced a reduced risk of heart conditions and mortality from cardiovascular problems.
Additionally, vegans tend to have a lower body mass index (BMI) than non-vegans, with research suggesting that BMI increases as the number of animal foods in the diet increases.[*]
The Best Plant-Based Snacks
Whether you eat a plant-based diet or are simply interested in adding more plant-based foods to your diet, the following plant-based snack ideas are quick to prepare, nutritious, and delicious!
Veggies with Hummus
Hummus is a popular plant-based snack, and for good reason: this creamy dip made by blending cooked chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans) is packed with protein, vitamins, antioxidants, and flavor.
Whether you opt for store-bought hummus or make your own, enjoy this dip with cut-up veggies like carrots, bell peppers, cucumber, and radish, and/or whole grain crackers.
Speaking of chickpeas, another great way to enjoy this healthy legume is by roasting them. Simply toss cooked chickpeas with savory spices like cumin, garlic powder, smoked paprika, sea salt, and black pepper and roast them in the oven at 350°F for 45 minutes or until crunchy.
One cup of roasted chickpeas offers over 14 grams of protein and a significant dose of folate, iron, and magnesium.[*]
Whether you need an energizing snack for a hike, an afternoon pick-me-up at work, or a portable snack for a road trip, trail mix is an excellent plant-based snack option. Depending on the ingredients, trail mix can be a good source of protein, healthy fats, and fiber.
If you’re buying trail mix from a grocery store, be sure to read the ingredient label, as many brands contain added sugar, salt, and oil. To keep your trail mix as healthy as possible, make your own by combining your favorite plant-based goodies such as:
- Nuts (cashews, almonds, peanuts, etc.)
- Seeds (pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, etc.)
- Sugar-free, whole-grain granola
- No-sugar-added dried fruit
- Sugar-free dark chocolate chips
Edamame are whole, immature soybeans in their pod. They’re commonly enjoyed at sushi restaurants, but they’re a healthy snack to enjoy at home, too! One cup of edamame beans provides 13 grams of protein for only 130 calories.[*]
To prepare edamame, boil, steam, or microwave the pods to thaw them (if necessary). Sprinkle the warm pods with a little sea salt or soy sauce and gently chew on them to squeeze out the beans.
Celery with Nut Butter
This quick and easy snack is a plant-based staple that offers healthy fats, protein, and hydration.
To prepare, wash off a few stalks of celery and smear your nut butter of choice (peanut butter, almond butter, etc.) into the concave part of the stalk. If you want to add a little sweetness, sprinkle some raisins on top.
No-Bake Energy Balls
Energy balls are bite-size snacks that are typically made from a mix of oats, nuts, seeds, nut butter, dried fruit, and other add-ins like chocolate chips.
This chewy plant-based snack offers fiber, protein, and healthy fats that will keep you satiated and energized in between meals.
Energy balls are endlessly customizable to your tastes. Here’s one combo to try:
- 1 cup old-fashioned oats
- ½ cup peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons hemp seeds
- 2 tablespoons raisins
- Sugar-free sweetener of choice (stevia, monk fruit, etc.)
Combine all the ingredients, roll the batter into one-inch balls, and store them in your fridge.
Tortilla Chips with Guacamole
Crunchy tortilla chips with creamy guacamole are a match made in plant-based snack heaven. Forgo store-bought tortilla chips and make your own by cutting corn tortillas into wedges, sprinkling them with salt, and baking them for six minutes at 350°F.
To make the guacamole, mash up avocado with a little lime juice and add chopped onion, tomato, and cilantro.
This snack offers healthy fats for satiety and a good dose of healthy carbs for energy.
Looking for a healthy Netflix snack? Craving something crispy and crunchy? Try kale chips! This savory snack can be easily made by tossing cleaned and dried kale leaves (Tuscan kale works best) with olive oil, sea salt, and onion powder. Line the leaves on a baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes at 275°F.
While this isn’t the most filling snack, it’s full of nutrients, antioxidants, and fiber, and is perfect for when you’re craving something salty, but don’t want to give in to a bag of potato chips. The only problem? They disappear fast!
If you’re looking for a plant-based snack that you can easily grab and enjoy on the go, plant-based protein bars are where it’s at. One healthy, low-carb option is IQBAR—a vegan and keto protein bar that offers 12 grams of pure plant-based protein and only 1-2 grams of sugar from natural sources per bar.
IQBAR also contains six key brain nutrients shown to support sustained cognitive energy, performance, and health. These include omega-3s, MCTs, lion’s mane, flavonoids, vitamin E, and choline.
Choose from flavors like Banana Nut, Almond Butter Chip, Chocolate Sea Salt, Lemon Blueberry, and Matcha Chai.
Plan for Plant-Based Success
From protein bars to chips and guac, keeping these healthy plant-based snacks on hand will help you stay on your healthy eating plan and feel your best.
And remember, snacks can be part of your weekly meal prep plan! Many of these healthy vegan snacks can be made ahead of time and stored in your fridge or cupboard. This way, you always have a nutritious, satisfying plant-based snack at the ready!