If you’ve decided to make the switch to a vegan diet or are simply looking for some healthy plant-based snacks, you’ve come to the right place!
We’ve gathered a list of 15 healthy vegan snacks for you that tick all the nutritional boxes. But before we dive into all these delicious and nutrient-packed vegan snacks, let’s have a look at why these are excellent snack options for a vegan diet!
Nutrients to look for in vegan snacks
Snacks need to be filling and nutritious as well as delicious. If you have any gaps in your nutrition intake, snacks are a great place to fill in the nutrient gaps!
When following a vegan diet, however, there are certain key nutrients you need to pay particular attention to in order to ensure you’re meeting all your requirements. These nutrients include:
The first nutrient is protein. Protein is a macronutrient that is found not only in animal foods but also many plant foods. Plant foods rich in protein include lentils, beans, tempeh, tofu, edamame, soy products (e.g. soymilk, soy yoghurt/yogurt, etc.), quinoa, wild rice, whole grain pasta and oats.
Many people assume you can’t meet your protein needs on a vegan diet, but this is incorrect. You can definitely meet your protein needs with plant foods, and including vegan snacks made from the high protein plant-based foods above will help ensure you meet your protein requirements.
The next nutrient to look for in vegan snacks is iron. Iron is an essential mineral needed by your body to form new red blood cells, transport oxygen to your muscles and keep your immune system strong. Low iron levels can leave you feeling tired and lethargic.
If you follow a plant-based diet, consuming iron-rich vegan snacks between meals can help ensure you meet your iron needs. Some iron-rich plant foods include beans, lentils, tofu, tempeh, nuts, seeds, spinach and silverbeet, asparagus, broccoli, sweet potato and pumpkin.
To help boost the absorption of the iron in your vegan snacks, include a Vitamin C containing food like tomato, citrus fruit, capsicum or strawberries. This can help boost iron absorption by up to 50 per cent! Also be aware of iron blockers, as these reduce iron absorption with your vegan snacks. These include coffee, tea, unprocessed bran and medications that contain calcium.
Vitamin B12 is only found naturally in animal products, so if you follow a plant-based diet, you need to be particularly conscious of this vitamin and may need a supplement. Some plant foods, such as certain soy milks and vegetarian meats, are fortified with vitamin B12, so they can be included in your day as healthy vegan snacks to help meet your Vitamin B12 requirements.
The next nutrient to include in your vegan snacks is the mineral calcium. To ensure calcium requirements are met on a vegan diet, foods like hard tofu, nuts and seeds, unhulled tahini, calcium-fortified plant milks and leafy green vegetables or Asian veggies can be regularly included with vegan snacks.
Our body can’t make omega-3 fats, so it’s essential to obtain enough through the food you eat. Including plant-based sources in your vegan snacks is a great place to start. Vegan sources of omega-3 fats include chia seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts, soybean oil and canola oil.
While the conversion rate is low, our bodies can convert some omega-3 fats from plant sources into the form of omega-3 found in marine sources. That’s why it’s still a good idea to consume omega-3 filled plant foods with your snacks.
Keeping these key nutrients in mind, let’s move on to 15 simple and delicious (or even simply delicious!) vegan snacks that tick these nutrition boxes and will help you meet your nutrition needs.
15 Vegan Snacks with Recipes
1. Roasted chickpeas
To roast your own chickpeas, drain 1x 475g (approx. 16 oz.) tin/can of chickpeas, place onto a lined baking tray and drizzle with olive oil, coating evenly all over. Sprinkle with a dash of cumin and roast on high for around 20 minutes or until crispy.
2. Plant based smoothie
As it so happens, I’ve already written about six plant-based smoothie recipes you can try. Remember to use a plant-based milk that is fortified with Vitamin B12.
3. Hummus and veggie sticks
Start out with some chopped carrot, celery, cucumber and capsicum. To make your own vegan hummus, combine 1 tin/can of chickpeas with juice of ½ a lemon, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 2 garlic cloves and ¼ cup of olive oil in a blender. Then blend until smooth and creamy…and get ready for some finger-licking goodness!
Edamame are an excellent complete protein and iron-rich vegan snack. Enjoy them steamed or stir-fried.
These can include walnuts, cashews, macadamias, pistachios, almonds, pecans, pine nuts, hazel nuts, etc. You can really choose any nuts you like!
6. High protein vegan meatballs
This is another one of those things I’ve written about in the past, and I can personally vouch for them turning out delicious!
7. Trail mix
To make your very own trail mix, simply get a mixture of your favourite/favorite nuts (maybe walnuts, cashews and almonds), seeds (chia and sunflower seeds are usually a lovely addition), and dried fruit like figs, dates and apricots. Chop dried fruit and nuts and then place them in a container with seeds and mix. Finally, portion out into little containers for a quick easy vegan snack on the go.
8. High protein satay tempeh
Once again, you can check out my full recipe here. This recipe has a hint of spice to it, so make sure your taste buds are prepared!
9. Small tin of beans
These include, for example, baked beans, chickpeas, four-bean mix, etc. Beans can make for a great on-the-go vegan snack that’s high in protein and iron while also being storable in your work bag or car.
10. Black bean dip on toasted whole meal pita bread
This is another one of my high-protein recipes that simply doesn’t disappoint.
Try sliced apples, medjool dates or sliced bananas with homemade nut butter. To make nut butter, simply take your favourite/favorite nuts and place them in a high-speed blender for around five minutes until they form a buttery consistency. Voila!
12. Energy balls
Be sure to check out my Simple Raw Vegan Lamington Ball recipe. If you can’t eat nuts due to a nut allergy, my Apricot and Coconut Energy Balls are nut-free and at least as good! If you’re not allergic, try both and let me know which one you like better!
13. Chia pudding
To make this, simply place two heaped tablespoons of chia seeds in ½ cup of plant milk of choice (look for one fortified with calcium and Vitamin B12). Place in the fridge for a few hours. Finally, remove and top with your favourite/favorite fruit (berries are a great choice) and enjoy!
14. Unhulled tahini on brown rice crackers
Tahini is a good source of calcium and also a delicious vegan snack option on crackers. If you have a nut allergy, tahini is also a great option for you to enjoy as an alternative to nut butter on top of fruit like apples, bananas and dates or even with veggie sticks, celery or carrots.
15. Homemade Vegan Banana Cake
Check out one of my personal favorite recipes here. Seriously, when doesn’t a healthy and delicious banana cake make sense?
I hope you enjoy these nutrient-filled vegan snacks packed with protein, iron, calcium, vitamin B12, omega-3s and flavor! I’d love to hear your feedback if you try any of these recipes. Also, if you have any of your own favourite/favorite vegan snacks, let me know in the comments below so I can try them as well!
And if you want even more inspiration for vegan and plant-based eating, download our free e-book “The Beginner’s Guide to Losing Weight with a Plant Based Diet”. It includes everything you need to know about vegan and plant-based eating, how to structure your meals to fit your needs, what foods to eat and avoid and how to easily transition to a plant-based diet. Remember, progress doesn’t come overnight, but be consistent with improving your diet, and you will both see and feel the results!
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