To snack or not to snack, that is the question.
OK, we know Hamlet didn't really say anything about snacking in his famed soliloquy. But let's be honest. Even if you plan the perfect day of meals for you and your family, sometimes everyone just needs a little somethin' extra tucked into a lunchbox, a special after-school treat, or the perfect late-night bite.
So whether you're jonesing for the perfect sweet, savory, spicy, or something in-between snack, we're here to lend a hand. We've put together a roundup of our favorite plant-based snacks that are perfect for sharing (or not, we won't tell) and are sure to leave you and your family asking for seconds.
Choosing Better Plant-Based Snacks
While we wish all snacks were created equal, they just aren't. It pays to be picky when you’re shopping online or at the grocery store.
While homemade snacks are a great way to ensure there's no funny business or unnecessary ingredients added to your food (more on that in a minute), it's not always practical or possible. And there's no shame in taking a shortcut, especially when you're pressed for time (who isn't nowadays?).
Here are some quick tips for finding the perfect plant-based snacks:
Opt for quality ingredients and avoid unnecessary additives: Put the snack through a simple test — can you or your kids read and recognize everything on the ingredient list? The highest quality food is often the simplest, and doesn't need ingredient additives or things like excess sodium to make it taste great. Also, keep an eye out for fillers and extras that don’t belong, like methylcellulose, resins, and gums like carrageenan. Heads up — some of these are found in non plant-based foods too. It never hurts to give an ingredient list a once over before buying.
Consider sustainability: This one can be a little trickier. While some foods may have an easy-to-understand ingredient list, there are definitely more environmentally friendly ingredients than others. For example, plant-based ingredients don’t require as many natural resources compared to animal products (think plant-based nuggets vs. processed animal nuggets).
- Make your macros count: While it's fun to casually snack on whatever strikes your fancy during a moment of hunger, sometimes you need to get the most bang for your buck to power through an afternoon. Start looking for snacks with a solid macronutrient profile. This means choosing things with the right combination of fat, protein, and fiber instead of snacks high in saturated fat, carbohydrates, and sodium.
Easy Peasy Plant-Based Snacks for the Whole Family
Without further ado, consider these plant-based snacks that need no introduction.
1. Upgraded Trail Mix
When you need a quick and portable snack idea, start with trail mix. Endlessly customizable with whole food ingredients, it's a breeze adapting trail mix to special dietary needs.
Start with dried fruit (apples, cherries, apricots, and raisins are all classic picks) and your choice of nuts. Cashews, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and peanuts provide heart-healthy fats, fiber, and carbohydrates when you need them. Plus, adding a handful of vegan chocolate chips can satisfy your sweet tooth without the added sugar that many pre-packaged trail mixes have.
If you’re not comfortable winging it quite yet, take a peek at The Simple Veganista’s Almost-Everything Trail Mix. With crunchy banana chips and toasted coconut flakes, you’ll have the perfect healthy snack in five minutes flat.
2. Nutrient-Rich Homemade Energy Bites
If you're craving something a little less crunchy and a little chewier, consider whipping up a batch of homemade energy bites. These Larabar-like gems are nutritional powerhouses.
Much like trail mix, you can add and subtract ingredients to your heart’s content, which means you also get to avoid ingredients found in some granola and protein bars that may not be a good fit for your family.
Some snack bars are loaded with sugar or are made from ingredients that aren’t great for people with food sensitivities, such as soy protein, eggs, or wheat.
Check out Bijoux & Bits' Easy Nut and Date Bars for a stellar base recipe. Made with just three ingredients (dates, nuts, and dried fruit), these are the perfect dairy-free, gluten-free bars to experiment with. Add a handful of chia seeds for heart-healthy omega-3s or nut butters — peanut butter, sunflower, or almond butter — for a boost of nourishing fats. (Excuse us while we dream of the unbeatable flavor combo of peanut butter studded with dark chocolate chips.)
You could even top your bars with a sprinkle of sea salt to balance out the sweetness of the dates.
3. Reinvented Chips and Dip
Carrots and hummus are a pretty dependable snack duo. Still, there are so many ways to be creative and try new variations on an old standby. Try swapping out the carrots for other more veggie-forward options, like sweet potato chips or kale chips. An even better choice? Replace the chips with protein-rich (yet no less crispy) Nowadays vegan chicken nuggets! A warm meal is a great alternative to veggies and dip. Plus, sometimes you just need something a little more comforting to keep you going.
Instead of sour cream and onion dip, opt for cool and creamy tzatziki sauce or hummus made from chickpeas — other legumes like edamame are tasty too. With a few clever shortcuts, you can throw together the ultimate rainbow snack platter that's perfect for after-school snacking. Raw veggies steal the show (and are a fresh twist on traditional chips and dip), and fresh fruit rich in antioxidants gives everyone a chance to get their snack fix while dipping crispy, golden brown nuggets into their favorite sauce.
Nowadays nuggets are tailor-made for snacking anytime. Made with just seven junk-free ingredients, these plant-based nuggets are made with organic and non-GMO yellow peas and pack 13 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber into each serving with zero saturated fat. Because they’re made from plants, these nuggets are better for you and the planet.
4. Scrumptious Sliders
Delectable plant-based sliders? Sign us up!
Look no further than these crispy nugget sliders when you need more substantial plant-based snacks in your rotation. They’re perfect on their own as a meal or when you need a quick and filling bite — heads up, you'll definitely want more than one, so make sure you have enough ingredients on hand, or you'll be sorry. (Just sayin’.)
When you need a quick snack in a flash, these little guys won't let you down. With 10 minutes of prep and only a 12-minute cook time, you can have a plate of deliciousness on the table in under a half-hour. Crunchy pickles, crisp lettuce, and a smear of comeback sauce tie everything together for quite possibly the best vegan sliders you’ve ever had.
5. Best Ever Tacos
It’s always a good time for tacos — especially when they’re crispy tacos with fresh pico de gallo.
While we love a flavorful taco filled with black beans or jackfruit, these tacos raise the bar with a plant-based nugget filling (yes, it's true). Sprinkle a bit of fresh cilantro, shredded cabbage, and a squeeze of lime juice for the ultimate Taco Tuesday snack. The fresh pico de gallo is a delight on its own, but feel free to add some fresh-cut mango for a perfectly sweet upgrade. Add a dollop of guacamole for a colorful and tasty garnish.
Dig Into Healthy Vegan Snacks
Whether you're in the mood for something sweet, savory, or spicy, these plant-based snacks can help get you through the week morning, noon, or night. And with so many different ways to adapt a snack to fit your dietary and lifestyle needs, there's no reason not to enjoy wholesome nibbles and noshes.
Nowadays nuggets can help you make it through an afternoon slump or fill your tummy before bedtime, all while being delicious and nutritious. Plant-based snacks can be just as mouth-watering as the conventional snacks you may be used to, except you don’t have to choose between taking care of yourself and the planet. You can do both.