Life

15 quick and easy vegan snacks that are healthier and more satisfying than potato chips

Business Insider US
Pair hummus with celery, carrots, or pita for a healthy vegan snack.
  • The best vegan snacks are those with fibre, protein, or both as they are filling and satisfying.
  • Healthy vegan snacks include apples with peanut butter, popcorn, or roasted chickpeas. 
  • It's safest to make your own snacks since pre-packaged foods can have sneaky non-vegan additives. 
  • For more stories, go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

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.

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 

Dip your apples into a favorite nut butter like 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 fibre will keep you feeling fuller for hours, says Gillespie.

2. Carrot sticks and hummus

Cut up some carrots and pita to dip into hummus.

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 fibre (27% DV)
  • 321 micrograms of vitamin A (35.6% DV)

3. Oatmeal with blueberries

Top your oatmeal with a berry of your choice.

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 fibre (20.7% DV)
  • 14.5 micrograms of vitamin K (12.1% DV)
  • 1.8 milligrams of iron (10% DV)

4. Air-popped popcorn

For added flavor, top your popcorn with nutritional yeast.

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 flavour. Popcorn with nutritional yeast contains: 

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

5. Roasted chickpeas

Roasted chickpeas make a crunchy, protein packed snack.

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 fibre (22.5% DV)
  • 0.9 milligrams of manganese (39% DV)
  • 7.3 grams of healthy, monounsaturated fats

6. Avocado toast

Swapping out regular bread for Ezekiel bread can boost your protein intake.

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 is a healthy alternative to chips.

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 fibre (28.9% DV)
  • 482 micrograms of folate (120.5% DV)
  • 1.6 milligrams of manganese (69.6% DV)

8. Trail mix

Mix your favorite nuts and seeds together to make trail mix.

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)/28g almonds with ¼ cup raisins which contains: 

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

9. Banana with peanut butter

Bananas and peanut butter are a filling snack. Peanut butter provides a lot of protein to keep you full longer.

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 fibre (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 yoghurt and pomegranate seeds

Rice cakes are a low-calorie base for other toppings like berries, peanut butter, or yogurt.

Spread 2 cups of plain soy yoghurt (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 fibre (9.6% DV)
  • 17 milligrams of vitamin C (18.8%)137 milligrams of calcium (10.5% DV)

11. Corn chips and salsa

Opt for multi-grain chips for extra fiber.

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 fibre (13.6% DV)

12. Chia pudding

Top your chia pudding with healthy fats and carbs like peanut butter, or fruit.

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 fibre (36.8% DV)
  • 479 milligrams of calcium (36.8% DV)
  • 1.8 micrograms of vitamin D (8.8% DV)

13. Banana nut "ice cream"

Blend frozen bananas to make banana ice cream.

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 fibre (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

You can fill dates with a range of nuts or nut butters.

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 fibre (25% DV)
  • 783.4 milligrams of potassium (16.7% DV)

15. Kale chips

Prep kale chips before the week so you have them on hand.

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/135°C 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 fibre (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 fibre, like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, with foods high in protein, like legumes, nuts, and seeds.


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