Health

15 of the best vegan snacks to make in a pinch, according to dietitians

Summary List PlacementWhile going vegan can reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels, improve heart health, and lower the risk of type 2 diabetes and cancer, cutting out all animal products can also make it challenging to find snacks.  That's because many pre-packaged foods contain sneaky non-vegan additives, like honey, casein, gelatin, isinglass, L-cysteine, and whey, says Kristin Gillespie, MS, RDN, a certified nutrition support clinician at Option Care Health. Related Article Module: 6 helpful tips to start a plant-based diet, according to dietitians Making your own snacks at home guarantees all ingredients are vegan — plus, they're typically healthier and cheaper than...

hummus platter with carrots and celery and pits

Summary List Placement

While going vegan can reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels, improve heart health, and lower the risk of type 2 diabetes and cancer, cutting out all animal products can also make it challenging to find snacks. 

That’s because many pre-packaged foods contain sneaky non-vegan additives, like honey, casein, gelatin, isinglass, L-cysteine, and whey, says Kristin Gillespie, MS, RDN, a certified nutrition support clinician at Option Care Health.

Related Article Module: 6 helpful tips to start a plant-based diet, according to dietitians

Making your own snacks at home guarantees all ingredients are vegan — plus, they’re typically healthier and cheaper than processed foods. 

Here are 15 easy vegan homemade snacks recommended by Gillespie and Shena Jaramillo, MS, a registered dietitian with a private practice.

1. Apple and almond butter 

Apples in almond butter

Spread 2 tablespoons (tbsp) of almond butter onto 1 medium-sized sliced apple, or dip the fruit into it. This snack contains:

A combination of protein and fiber will keep you feeling fuller for hours, says Gillespie.

2. Carrot sticks and hummus

hummus and carrots

Dip 1 cup baby carrots into ¼ cup of hummus for a snack with:

  • 172 calories
  • 7.2 grams of protein (14.4% DV)
  • 7.6 grams of fiber (27% DV)
  • 321 micrograms of vitamin A (35.6% DV)

3. Oatmeal with blueberries

oatmeal

Cook ½ cup rolled oats with 1 cup water or plant-based milk, and top with ½ cup of blueberries. You can also use strawberries, raspberries, or blackberries. Rolled oats made with water and blueberries contains:

  • 193 calories
  • 5.5 grams of protein (11% DV)
  • 5.8 grams of fiber (20.7% DV)
  • 14.5 micrograms of vitamin K (12.1% DV)
  • 1.8 milligrams of iron (10% DV)

4. Air-popped popcorn

popcorn

To yield 3 cups of popcorn, place 2 heaping tbsp of popcorn kernels into a paper bag, fold the top, and microwave on high for two to three minutes. Jaramillo suggests adding 1 tbsp of nutritional yeast for a cheese-like flavor. Popcorn with nutritional yeast contains: 

  • 102 calories
  • 8 grams of protein (16% DV)
  • 5.6 grams of fiber (20% DV)
  • 33.8 micrograms of vitamin B12 (563% DV)
  • 7.6 micrograms of vitamin B6 (381% DV)

5. Roasted chickpeas

roasted chickpeas

Strain, rinse, and dry ½ cup of chickpeas from a can. Toss with 2 teaspoons (tsp) of olive oil and sprinkle with 1 tsp salt. Stir to coat the chickpeas evenly before baking at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes. This makes a crunchy snack to nibble on with: 

  • 214.5 calories
  • 7.3 grams of protein (14.6% DV)
  • 6.3 grams of fiber (22.5% DV)
  • 0.9 milligrams of manganese (39% DV)
  • 7.3 grams of healthy, monounsaturated fats

6. Avocado toast

Ezekiel bread healthy bread avocado toast

For a snack portion, Gillespie recommends toasting 1 slice of whole-grain bread and topping with ¼-cup avocado. You can also sprinkle on salt, red chili flakes, and pepper for more flavor with no added calories. This snack-sized treat contains: 

7. Edamame

edamame

Boil 1 cup of fresh or frozen edamame in 3 cups of water for five minutes, or until the pods are tender. Drain and toss with 1 tsp sea salt for a salty graze with:  

  • 188 calories
  • 18.4 grams of protein (36.8% DV)
  • 8.1 grams of fiber (28.9% DV)
  • 482 micrograms of folate (120.5% DV)
  • 1.6 milligrams of manganese (69.6% DV)

8. Trail mix

Trail Mix in Hands

Combine ¼ cup of nuts, such as cashews, pistachios, or walnuts, with ¼ cup dried fruit, such as raisins, or dried cranberries, apricots, or cherries. 

Gillespie recommends almonds and walnuts, as they’re especially rich in omega-3 fatty acids and protein. For an easy, nutrient-dense combo, mix 1 ounce (oz) almonds with ¼ cup raisins which contains: 

  • 293 calories
  • 7.4 grams of protein (14.8% DV)
  • 5.5 grams of fiber (19.6% DV)
  • 7.3 milligrams vitamin E (48.7% DV)

9. Banana with peanut butter

GettyImages 174654544

Both bananas and peanut butter are high in phytosterols, which may lower LDL  cholesterol levels. Slice 1 medium banana and top with 2 tbsp of peanut butter, which contains:   

  • 295 calories
  • 9.3 grams of protein (18.6% DV)
  • 6.1 grams of fiber (21.2% DV)
  • 0.4 milligrams of vitamin B6 (23.5% DV)
  • 10.3 milligrams of vitamin C (11.4% DV)

10. Rice cakes with vegan yogurt and pomegranate seeds

rice cakes with berries and

Spread 2 cups of plain soy yogurt (or another plant-based yogurt) onto 2 unsalted rice cakes, and top with ¼ cup pomegranate seeds for added crunch. This contains:  

  • 165.7 calories
  • 4.6 grams of protein (9.2% DV)
  • 2.7 grams of fiber (9.6% DV)
  • 17 milligrams of vitamin C (18.8%)137 milligrams of calcium (10.5% DV)

11. Corn chips and salsa

NYC El Toro Blanco appetizer chips guacamole salsa Mexican by BethLevendis

Dip a 1-oz serving of multigrain tortilla chips — which is about 10 to 15 chips — into ½ cup of salsa for a spicy mid-day nibble with: 

  • 174 calories
  • 3.4 grams of protein (6.8% DV)
  • 3.8 grams of fiber (13.6% DV)

12. Chia pudding

oatmeal healthy breakfast

Mix 2 tbsp chia seeds with ½ cup of plant-based milk (such as unsweetened almond milk) and 1 tsp of honey (or agave nectar) in a container. Soak overnight in the refrigerator so the seeds puff up. This overnight treat is packed with: 

  • 157.5 calories
  • 5.2 grams of protein (10.4% DV)
  • 10.3 grams of fiber (36.8% DV)
  • 479 milligrams of calcium (36.8% DV)
  • 1.8 micrograms of vitamin D (8.8% DV)

13. Banana nut “ice cream”

Banana

Pulse a frozen banana in a blender or food processor until it has a smooth and creamy consistency. Top with 2 tbsp of chopped walnuts for a heart-healthy vegan twist on ice cream with: 

  • 197.5 calories
  • 3.5 grams of protein (7% DV)
  • 4 grams of fiber (14.2% DV)
  • 1.3 milligrams of manganese (56.5% DV)
  • 10.5 milligrams of vitamin C (11.7% DV)

14. Dates with cashew butter

stuffed dates

Slice 4 Medjool dates in half and stuff with 1 tbsp of cashew butter for a sweet treat that contains: 

  • 370.9 calories
  • 4.6 grams of protein (9.2% DV)
  • 7 grams of fiber (25% DV)
  • 783.4 milligrams of potassium (16.7% DV)

15. Kale chips

Kale chips

Wash and dry 1 cup of de-stemmed kale leaves, coat with 2 tsps of olive oil, add salt and pepper, garlic powder, or any other desired seasoning and bake at 275 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes. This more nutritious version of potato chips, contains: 

  • 98.8 calories
  • 0.6 grams of protein (1.2% DV)
  • 0.9 grams of fiber (3.2% DV)
  • 19.6 milligrams of vitamin C (21.8% DV)
  • 81.9 micrograms of vitamin K (68.3% DV)

Insider’s takeaway

There are numerous quick and easy, healthy vegan snacks you can make at home, many of which only require three or fewer ingredients. 

Dietitians say the most satiating options will combine foods high in fiber, like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, with foods high in protein, like legumes, nuts, and seeds.

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