What are plant-based snacks? They are just what they sound like- foods eaten between meals made primarily from plant foods. By the way, in case I haven’t mentioned this before, I LOVE snacks! Sweet or savory, snacks can be an AWESOME way to fill the gaps in your diet with healthy foods. Don’t miss this ultimate guide on how to make plant based snacks, as well as vegan snacks to buy at the grocery store.
You’re in for a treat... quite literally!
I’ve got 101 healthy plant based snacks for you below. You’ll find vegan snacks for kids, for athletes, for folks trying to lose weight, and for everyone else!
Amazingly, every item on this list is a whole food plant based snack, with no added sugar and no refined grains. These treats don’t only taste great, they are also good for you. (My little dietitian heart is totally singing with joy right now.)
The best plant based snacks are one that fit your budget, your time, and your taste buds. That’s why I’m offering up a lot of different ideas that include store-bought suggestions too.
Sometimes there’s just no time to cook, but with a little planning, you can still maintain a healthy diet. These recipes and store-bought treats focus in heavily on some food categories where Americans are not meeting recommended intakes:
- Nuts and Seeds
- Whole Grains
On average, across nearly all age groups, we are not eating enough of these foods. Let’s start changing that, shall we?
Learn about what snacks you can eat on a plant based diet. (Hint: there are TONS of options!) Save this list, and I promise, you’ll never be bored with plant based snack ideas ever again!
🍎 Fruit Snacks
Why eat fruit? Many fruits are a rich source of a variety of essential nutrients including vitamin C, potassium, and folate. These vitamins and minerals play a variety of roles in the body.
For example, vitamin C helps to support our immune system. Potassium has a key role in helping us to maintain a healthy blood pressure.
The vitamin C in fruit (and other foods) can also help our body to better absorb plant-based sources of iron. This is especially important for those following vegan and vegetarian diets.
Fruit also provides fiber. Fiber can help lower our LDL cholesterol levels and improve digestive function. However, it’s whole fruits that give us the fiber we need. Most of the fiber has been stripped out of fruit juices.
Fruit is the food group that comes first to my mind when I think about plant based snacking. Most fruits are naturally sweet, ready to satisfy that sweet tooth. Additionally, many fruits are ready to eat, making for a very convenient snack.
Below, I’ve got a variety of delicious vegan fruit snacks for you to enjoy. You’ll find popsicles, smoothies, and ice cream if you need refreshment and hydration. When the summer comes, treats made with frozen fruit is the perfect cool down!
I’m also serving up some portable fruit snacks for your hiking adventures and road trips. Fruit lovers of all ages will find something here!
🥬 Vegetable Snacks
Of all the snack categories, the fruits and vegetables have some of my favorite plant based snacks for weight loss. That’s because fruits and veggies offer a lot of volume for very few calories. They provide bulk that can help you feel full.
Vegetables and fruits have a lot of nutrient overlap. You’ll find a bounty of vitamin C, folate, and potassium in many of the vegetables you eat. You’ll also find provitamin A carotenoids, fiber, and hydrating fluid in many veggies.
Have you ever heard the tip to “eat the rainbow”? Aside from the essential nutrients, fruits and veggies also contain a variety of non-essential but beneficial phytonutrients. These phytonutrients are basically the pigments found in your colorful produce.
So, the wider variety of colors of veggies that you eat, the broader range of phytonutrients you’re getting. All of the colorful veggies will make your plate look more beautiful as well.
And yes, white counts as a color! Don’t leave garlic, onions, cauliflower, and potatoes on the shelf. They are healthy veggies too.
By the way, did you know that mushrooms are categorized with the veggies on the MyPlate? I guess they had to put them somewhere!
Mushrooms are a bit different nutritionally than the veggies, however. They offer a variety of B vitamins, and UV-treated mushrooms offer some vitamin D. There are few foods that naturally contain vitamin D, so this is a good thing to be aware of.
Are you ready to eat your veggies? Let’s get to it!
🥘 Chickpea Snacks
Chickpeas get their own category in this roundup of plant based snack recipes because my family loves them so much! The humble garbanzo bean can be flavored in a variety of ways, perfect for after school snacks.
Beans, peas, and lentils (including chickpeas) are special because they can count as part of the vegetable or the protein group. They provide fiber, folate, and potassium, similar to the veggies. Unlike most vegetables, though, chickpeas are a significant source of plant based protein.
If you are a vegan or vegetarian, legumes are one the best whole food sources of protein around! And if you often fall short on veggie intake, don’t forget about chickpeas and other legumes. They don’t have that bitter thing going on that some veggies have, making them more appealing for some people.
The recipes in this section are some of my favorite plant based snacks for kids. They’re fun finger foods, portable, and high in energy for active young people.
I love the versatility of roasted chickpeas. If they are roasted until very firm, they are perfect for snacking. If you leave them a little soft, they make a wonderful protein-packed filling for tacos and burritos.
However you like your chickpeas, I think you’ll find something to enjoy here.
💪 Protein Snacks
Most of us ARE meeting the recommended intakes for protein. So why give plant based protein snacks a separate section?
First of all, there are certain groups that are falling short (on average) for protein. This includes teen girls and young women. These are the groups that are also most likely to adopt vegan and vegetarian diets.
So, including a protein section here seems entirely appropriate. Another reason I wanted to focus in on protein is that the current protein intake recommendations are small. IMVHO, they should be thought of more as minimum intakes, certainly not a limit.
Protein (or more specifically, the amino acids) functions as important building blocks in your body. You need the essential amino acids for building bones, muscle, skin, blood, enzymes, and hormones. No matter your special diet preferences, it’s critical to get adequate protein.
Additionally, foods in the protein group provide more than just protein. You’re also getting a variety of B vitamins as well as iron and zinc in protein group foods.
Sometimes I see recipes using cauliflower, jackfruit, and mushrooms in place of the protein in a recipe. These are not protein group foods. If you make one of these substitutions, it’s important to add another source of protein to your meal.
If your meals do tend to fall a bit short on protein, this is the section that’s going to help you out. We’ve got recipes using protein powder and legumes galore here. Make sure to also check out chickpea snacks and the dips section for more plant protein snack ideas.
🔥 High Energy Snacks
It seems like everywhere you look, there’s information on weight loss and weight loss recipes. However, some of us may have trouble maintaining a healthy weight or want to gain weight. This is where high calorie vegan foods can help.
The plant based foods in this section are perfect for athletes, kids, or anyone else who needs an energy boost. Many of these treats are wonderful plant based snacks for travel. They pack a lot of calories into a small volume, making them great for hikes and camping trips as well.
Foods like nuts, seeds, and coconut are non-perishable and portable. You can find packs of trail mix, granola bars, and nuts pretty easily at stores and gas stations in many countries.
“High calorie” and “low calorie” are actually neutral descriptors of a food. Just because a food is high in calories doesn’t mean it is bad or unhealthy.
There are actually a LOT of healthy high calorie foods, as you’ll see below. To me, healthy foods are whole foods that help us meet our essential nutrient needs. In this sense, delicious energy balls packed with coconut and sweetened with dates definitely fit the bill!
BTW, I learned about Skuta through the KetoKrate snack box delivery program. They send an assortment of low-carb snacks straight to your door, every month! Click here to get 25% off your first Krate!
The dips in this section are made with a variety of legumes and vegetables. Dips made with beans, peas, or lentils provide some plant-based protein, as discussed above.
I love to have some good dip recipes in my culinary toolbox because kids tend to love them. For some reason, many children are more likely to eat their veggies when served with a delicious dip.
I’m using the term “dip” in the broadest sense here. I’m also including sauces, vegan “cheese” balls, and anything else that gets served with dippers.
Speaking of dippers, you have a variety of options that go beyond crackers. Here are a few of my favorite vegan foods to eat with dips.
- Apple slices
- Pear slices
- Sweet bell pepper strips
- Jicama sticks
- Celery sticks
- Baby carrots
- Sugar snap peas
- Cucumber slices
- Whole grain pretzels
Of course, you’re going to want to choose the right dipper for your dip. As much as I like apple slices with peanut butter, I don’t think they’d work as well with hummus. (If you regularly eat apples and hummus and enjoy it though, rock on!)
Here are some delicious plant based dips that I think are going to knock your socks off. Seriously, serve one of these up at your next gathering and impress your family and friends:
🍘 Healthy Crackers and Chips
I can’t have a list of dips without also including a list of healthy vegan crackers and chips. “Healthy” is definitely key here!
Here’s the deal. Most crackers are made with white flour, something that Americans tend to get way too much of. (Like way, way too much.)
The crackers and chips in this section are different because they are made of nuts, seeds, and whole grains. No refined grains in sight!
Whole grains are superior to refined grains because they contain fiber and other nutrients that stripped from refined grains. Sometimes *some* of the nutrients that were stripped out are replaced. Enriched white flour often has vitamins B1, B2, B3, and iron replaced.
Fortified grains may have nutrients that were never in the original whole grain in the first place. If you see a cereal with vitamin B12 (a nutrient not present in plants), that cereal was likely fortified.
My preference is to get as many of your essential nutrients from whole foods as possible, without reliance on supplements and fortified foods. However, certain special diets, such as vegan diets, must rely on fortification and/or supplementation. In that case, fortified foods may have an important place in creating a nutritionally sound diet.
Labeling foods “healthy” and “not healthy” is often not as simple as it sounds. A food that may not be the best choice for one person could be an important source of nutrition for another.
But I digress. Here are some tasty vegan cracker recipes using whole foods. Nearly everyone will find something to enjoy here.
Also, I believe no list of plant-based snacks would be complete without popcorn. Though not technically a cracker or chip, it's another way to satisfy those crunchy snack cravings.
🍪 Baked Goods
Last, but certainly not least, we’ve come to the plant based baked goods recipes. These recipes are a great way to sneak some fruit, whole grains, nuts, and seeds into your diet. They’ll also satisfy a sweet tooth!
Something neat about the recipes in this section is that some of these “baked goods” require no baking at all! I love the idea of throwing together something like brownies with so little effort. I promised easy plant based recipes on this list, and I hope you feel that I’ve delivered.
That's 101 plant based snack ideas! We made it!
Thank you to my fellow food bloggers out there who contributed a recipe (or a few recipes!) to this roundup. Putting this list of plant based treats together was a mouthwatering task. I could not have made such a terrific and varied list of plant based snacks without your help!
After checking out this long list, my answer of yes and no might come as a surprise! Most of the “junk foods” Americans eat ARE primarily plant based. Donuts, cakes, cookies, cupcakes, fried chips, sugary cereals, are all plant foods that are not optimal nutritionally. That said, as this roundup proves, there are plenty of healthy plant-based snacks out there to choose from!
Some people use “vegan” and “plant based” to mean the same thing. Most dietitians I know use “vegan” to mean a diet completely without animal-based foods. They use “plant based” to mean a diet that may (or may not) contain animal foods, but that is primarily composed of plants.
I get this question ALL the time, and the answer is yes- popcorn counts as a whole food! Popcorn is a gluten free whole grain that makes a nice plant based treat. It’s also a low calorie, high volume food (unless you drown it in added oil or fat, of course).