Are you a snacker?
Of course you are! Who isn’t a snacker? Road trips. Movie nights. Vacations. Girls’ weekends. Late nights. Snacks are an important part of almost every fun experience. Right?
What’s your go-to? Doritos? M&Ms? BBQ chips? Sour Patch Kids? Chocolate chip cookies?
Okay, enough of that. My mouth is watering.
My husband and I flew to Dallas last month to visit his sister, and then we made a 5-hour drive to Little Rock to visit our friends. We were kid-free for the trip and excited to have a long drive with just the two of us.
We stopped at a small gas station outside of Dallas and loaded up with snacks. In a rush, we grabbed three bags of various cheesy, salty, taco-esque snacks and a sleeve of chocolate chip cookies. When in Dallas…right?
We didn’t recognize the brands, and the packages weren’t written in English anyway. Our options for last-minute snacks were pretty limited. Looking back, we should’ve done better planning.
To no one’s surprise, about halfway through the trip, we started feeling pretty sick. All that sugar, salt, oil, saturated fat, and excessive calories from the chips and cookies started to take their toll. It’s no wonder our bellies were wrecked by the time we arrived in Little Rock that night.
Don’t make the same mistakes we did when you load up the car for your next vacay. Some careful planning will help you choose healthy, plant-based snacks that will fill you up with the good stuff and not leave you with regret a few hours later.
Some Plant-Based Snack Ideas and Recipes
When it comes to a healthy, plant-based diet, you want to stick to as many whole foods as possible. Avoid processed junk foods whenever you can. Try making your own snacks for a healthier solution. Here are some ideas for plant-based snacks to get you started.
There’s no bad time for a smoothie. They’re quick, healthy, and brimming with vitamins and nutrients.
Toss in some fresh fruit, nuts, chia seeds, peanut butter, milk of choice and even some veggies for a delicious pick-me-up for the afternoon slump. Or give yourself a jump-start to your morning. Adding chia seeds is a great way to add protein and fiber into your diet.
This is one of those healthy, plant-based snacks you can have day after day and never get tired of. Switch up the flavors, try adding new ingredients, and make your favorite plant-based frozen treat. To make it vegan-friendly, choose plant-based milk and yogurt.
Granola is one of the tastiest and most versatile plant-based snacks you can find. Grab a pack at the store or make your own to avoid the extra sugar (and extra calories). Mix it with peanut butter and chocolate, add it to your smoothies, sprinkle it on some plant-based yogurt, or add it to a bowl of vegan-approved cereal. It’s versatile and delish.
For a pop of protein in your mid-day routine, try a handful of crispy, roasted chickpeas. You can make your own or grab a bag while you’re grocery shopping. They’re great gluten-free, vegan-friendly, plant-based snacks with whole-food ingredients.
Okay, before you give me some side eye, I know olives might not be your standard, go-to snack. But why not? They’re excellent sources of antioxidants like Vitamin E. They’re great for heart health and may even help protect against osteoporosis and cancer. And they’re gluten-free.
Plant-based companies are making olives even more snackable by packaging them in easy-to-grab containers, like these from Pearls.
No more side eye. Buy yourselves a pack of these plant-based snacks and enjoy.
Don’t get duped into thinking that all vegan protein bars are healthy plant-based snacks. Even “healthy” ones are often loaded up with extra ingredients your body doesn’t need. Make sure you read the labels, and keep an eye out for extra sugar, oil, and other additives.
Instead, try making your own Fruit and Nut Energy Bars . When you make it yourself, you can customize it to your own preferences. You’re in charge of exactly how much sweetness you want to add. These energy bars are a great snack for your plant-based diet.
My parents bought a dehydrator a few years ago. Full disclosure: they bought it to make beef jerky with the elk meat my dad got on a hunting trip. Because my family doesn’t eat meat often (or at all), my dad offers to make us dried banana slices from time to time. These plant-based snacks are such a treat! We love them. The only problem is keeping an eye on our portion sizes. Otherwise, we would devour the equivalent of 10 bananas without blinking. That’s a lot of bananas….
Dried fruit is a sweet and simple snack for a whole food, plant-based diet. Try mixing them with some nuts and seeds to make your own protein-packed and fiber-filled trail mix.
I love how some fresh fruits, like apples, bananas, oranges, and pears, come in their own self-contained packaging. You can just toss the whole fruit in your purse, and you have ready-to-eat snacks without any effort. Obviously, you can’t do that with grapes and other berries. That would be a messy disaster. But it’s nice having healthy options that are easy to grab and go.
A few years ago, my family spent a month in Cartagena, Colombia. We took a food tour of their best street foods and on-the-go snacks. We had a blast learning about their culture and their food. One of the tastiest vegan foods we tried was strips of sweet mango cut like french fries, covered in a little salt and doused in lime juice. It’s one of our foster daughter’s favorite plant-based snacks.
I’m always on the search for healthy snack foods that my kids will enjoy. For the most part, they’re classically picky eaters. Even when I try to hide fruits and veggies in their meals, they’re onto me. But somehow eating apple slices every night before bed became part of our nightly routine. They munch on apples while we read a stack of library books. It’s a pretty sweet part of our day.
I know what you’re thinking. No, we’re not talking about potato chips. Technically, potatoes fall into the veggie category and can be part of a plant-based diet. But in chip form, potatoes are a far cry from being deemed a healthy food. The nutritional benefits are negated once they’re deep fried in fat and doused in salt. They aren’t a great choice for a whole food, plant-based diet.
But you can make your own crispy chips with various veggies, including kale, seaweed, or sweet potatoes. Homemade recipes are best, but there are some great store-bought options when you’re in a pinch. Vegetable chips are great vegan-approved, plant-based snacks with simple ingredients.
Fresh veggies are obviously great plant-based, vegan snack foods. The trick to eating more fresh vegetables is to prep and package them as soon as you get home from the store. If you hide them in the bottom drawer unwashed and uncut, there’s almost no chance you’re going to grab them when hunger strikes.
Instead, wash them, cut them, and put them into pre-portioned containers. Then stack them in the front of your fridge. Do not hide them behind the gallon of milk or tuck them behind your expired condiments on the door. You want them in plain sight and at eye level.
You can even put them into containers that have a section for the sliced veggies and a separate compartment for dips—ranch, hummus, hot sauce, etc.
You can make your own Loma Linda Nutolene Dipping Sauce that pairs perfectly with fresh bell peppers, snap peas, and broccoli. It’s a delicious, plant-based snack that your family will love eating.
My family’s obsession with popcorn is a little over-the-top. We have a whole section of our pantry dedicated to our favorite popcorn seasonings.
We have every flavor: nacho cheese, white cheddar, garlic parmesan, butter, ranch, birthday cake. Yeah…birthday cake. My kids got it for me as a Mother’s Day gift. I’m not a big fan of it, but they love it.
My #1 favorite popcorn combo is garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, and nutritional yeast. The trick to getting the seasonings to stick to the popcorn is to spray it with a little vegetable oil cooking spray after it’s done popping. You can avoid the extra calories by using a little cooking spray instead of butter.
It’s absolute perfection and one of our favorite low-cal, plant-based snacks for the whole family.
During the pandemic, we put a big bowl of popcorn in front of our kids when they had to do their weekly Zoom session. It was the only way to keep our 2-year-old and 4-year-old in front of the screen for a 15-minute call with their teacher. Eating popcorn helped them stay focused, and the quiet snacking gave me a moment of sanity.
Pita Chips and Hummus
Hummus is a delicious, versatile food that is full of nutritional benefits. It’s packed with plant-based protein, contains lots of antioxidants to decrease inflammation in the body, and has a low glycemic index that will help you control your blood sugar.
Hummus is versatile in flavors. I love roasted pepper and garlic for veggies, and sometimes I grab a pack of chocolate hummus from Aldi to dip fresh strawberries in. It’s heavenly.
We pack hummus for pool days too. My kids dunk fresh veggies, pretzels, and crackers into the hummus. Sometimes it’s the main event of our poolside dinners. And sometimes it’s a quick, mid-morning treat when we get back from running errands. Snacking on hummus is a delicious way to include protein and fiber in your plant-based diet.
Want more ideas for healthy vegan meals and delicious plant-based snacks? Get inspired with these tasty, plant-based recipes from Atlantic Natural Foods. Happy snacking!