Adopting a vegan diet means only eating plant-based foods and not using any products derived from animals. It can have significant health benefits and is better for the environment as well. Changing your diet can be difficult at first, but with a few tips and tricks you can make lasting change. When becoming vegan or adopting a more plant-based lifestyle, many think it difficult to find healthy vegan snacks.
Snack foods are generally produced with convenience in mind rather than sustainability. This trend is changing, however, and it is now easier to find healthy vegan snacks in local grocery stores. When in a pinch and purchasing pre-packaged vegan snacks, look for snacks that are minimally processed and do not contain artificial sweeteners. You should also try to choose high-fiber snacks whenever possible because fiber helps you stay full longer and improves your gut health. Added bonus if your snacks provide prebiotics, probiotics or nutrients that can be difficult to get without animal products, such as vitamin B12, iron, calcium, and vegan protein.
When you do have time, preparing snacks yourself allows you to make a delicious snack that is often more economical, satisfying and nutritious than pre-packaged snack foods.
Vegan yogurt is made from a plant-based dairy substitute, most commonly made with cashew, almond or coconut as the base. For example, Forager Project’s Cashewmilk Yogurt is organic and made from responsibly sourced cashews. Vegan yogurt mixed with fruit and other toppings is a healthy and delicious snack option.
You can also try roasting fruit to bring out its flavor and increase its shelf life. Roasting fruit works well with apples and persimmons in the winter or strawberries, peaches and plums in the summer. Try this delicious recipe for Roasted Persimmons with Cashewmilk Yogurt or this Strawberry Compote.
Frozen fruit is a delicious cold, sweet treat. Good candidates for freezing and snacking include grapes, bananas and mangoes. Little prep is required for making delicious frozen fruits – just chop up your ripe fruit into smaller pieces (keep grapes whole) and place them in the freezer. Freezing fruit is a great way to store and save your fruit before it goes bad. You get both sweetness and nutrients from frozen fruits, and they taste like sherbet.
Baba Ganoush and hummus are delicious plant-based dips that are often eaten together. Baba Ganoush is a dip made from eggplants. This vegan Baba Ganoush recipe is extra creamy thanks to Unsweetened Cashewmilk Yogurt. Add sumac, paprika or additional spices of your choosing for extra flavor.
The main ingredient in hummus is usually chickpeas, but other types of beans, like cannellini beans also work well. Both hummus and Baba Ganoush are very easy to make and can be seasoned creatively for different flavor combinations. These dips are great paired with vegetable crudite, such as sliced cucumber, red pepper or carrots.
When it comes to vegan snacking, nuts are a nutrient powerhouse, including vitamins, protein, and fiber. Nuts may be eaten alone or in combination with fruits, such as dates. When you remove the pit of a date, you can stuff nuts or nut butter into the space left behind. Dates blended with nut butter and cocoa make great vegan energy balls – for a version that also packs probiotics try these Vegan Blackberry Bliss Balls or these Almond Butter Yogurt Bites. Either way, dates and nuts blended together to create energy balls makes for a delicious and easy on the go snack.
Note: Pay attention to whether the nuts you buy were sourced responsibly and how they have been processed. Salted nuts can often be quite salty so in a pinch mix salted and unsalted nuts or roast and season your own nuts with for a delicious, sugar free snack.
For added fiber, use multi-grain, seeded bread as the base for this savory toast. Top toasted bread with sliced avocado and drizzle with lemon juice, Unsweetened Plain Cashewmilk Yogurt, olive oil, sea salt and pepper. If you like a little spice, add red chili flakes for even more flavor. For an equally delicious green toast, try this Smashed Peas on Toast recipe.
Chia seeds are rich in fiber and are a good source of plant-based protein. Chia pudding is an easy make ahead snack – soak 3-4 tablespoons of chia seeds in 1 cup of plant-based milk. Leave this mixture in the refrigerator for 2 hours or overnight, then mix with your desired toppings. If you like overnight oats, try adding 1 tablespoon of chia seeds to your overnight oats or try this Carrot Cake Overnight Oats recipe which includes chia seeds. If you prefer berries in your chia pudding, then try making this Berries and Cream Chia Seed Pudding.
Vegan snacking may present challenges, especially at first. However, as you can see from this list, there are many healthy vegan snack options that are easy to make. If you have more snack ideas you think others would find useful – please share them with us.
For more Forager Project vegan recipes, check out our recipes page.
Michele L. Seattle, WA
Judy H. Marblehead, MA