Grabbing a quick snack from a vending machine isn’t so easy if you’re eschewing animal products. Cheese puffs? Jerky? Even seemingly wholesome granola bars may have been infiltrated by non-vegan-friendly ingredients like honey, whey powder, and eggs. Uggggh, what’s a herbivore to do?!
As is always true for eating vegan (or even just eating healthy in general), a little planning can save you from being stuck in these foodless disasters. Packing your own snacks for the road or the office ensures you’ll always have your favorite foods on hand (and you’ll probably save a little $$$, too).
But don’t just go grabbing the faux cheesy crackers. Vegan brands may be releasing tasty new versions of America’s favorite snacks—you know, corn dogs and pizza pockets and cheddar popcorn—but don’t forget rule #1 of vegan eating: Just because something’s vegan doesn’t mean it’s healthy.
Tips for a Healthy Vegan Snack
As always, look for a healthy balance of carbs, proteins, and fats, and choose fresh possible and whole grains whenever possible. Need ideas? Here are five plant-based snacks you’ll want to try ASAP.
Medjool dates with tahini and shredded coconut. Okay, in all seriousness, any fruit with any nut butter is a winning combo. Apple and peanut butter? Yes. Banana and almond butter? Absolutely. But if you really want to shake things up, try a medjool date. These soft, chewy fruits are downright luxurious, and the slightly bitter tahini balances out their sweetness.
Air-popped popcorn. You might think of popcorn as an indulgent, buttery treat reserved for the movie theater, but popcorn in its natural form is a light and healthy whole grain. To add more flavor and nutrients to this plain pop, sprinkle on the ultimate vegan artillery: nutritional yeast. If you’re not yet familiar with nutritional yeast (a.k.a. “nooch”), it’s a deactivated yeast product full of vitamins (like B12!) that gives a nutty, cheesy flavor.
Almond milk chia pudding. Sure, you could buy one of the many types of non-dairy yogurts on the market, but making your own chia pudding might save you some dough. (Like, really? $3 for a single cup of cashew yogurt? That’s highway robbery.) Plus, thanks to the health benefits of chia seeds, you’ll get a dose of protein and fiber that’s perfect for curbing cravings (and keeping you regular). Find out how to make your own chia pudding here.
Banana “nice” cream. Slice and freeze bananas, and you’ve got the base for a killer dairy-free dessert that falls somewhere between a fruity ice cream and a thick smoothie. Make this as simple or extravagant as you’d like. Blend with some vanilla extract and cocoa powder, or get fancy with cacao nibs, nuts, berries—anything goes. Check out our recipe for chocolate chip almond nice cream.
Radish slices with guacamole. Not a fan of peppery radishes? Try jicama, red bell pepper, or cucumber slices. LBH, you’re getting sick of your carrot-and-hummus thing. There’s only one thing that beats hummus, and that’s guac. Find out how to make your own guacamole here.
Want more plant-based treats to snack on?