Healthy Snack Ideas

Healthy Snack Ideas

A great article from Healthline talking to us about nutritious, quick and healthy snacks that will have you wanting more.

Selecting nutritious snacks to enjoy throughout the day is a key component of any healthy diet — including vegetarian diets.

Unfortunately, many quick and convenient snack foods offer little in terms of nutrition apart from extra calories, sodium, and added sugar.

Still, finding vegetarian snack options that are easy, portable, and nutritious doesn’t have to be a challenge.

Here are a few healthy vegetarian snack ideas.

1. Nut butter with fruit

Pairing your favorite fruit with nut butter makes for an easy, filling, and quick plant-based snack that you can enjoy anywhere.
Fruits like apples, bananas, and strawberries are loaded with antioxidants and high in fiber that helps keep you feeling full between your main meals

Meanwhile, nut butters — like almond, peanut, or cashew butters — deliver a hearty dose of satisfying protein and healthy fats.

2. Cheese Sticks

Cheese sticks are a portable and convenient snack perfect to help curb cravings on the go.
Though the exact nutrient profile varies based on the brand and type of cheese, cheese sticks typically supply 5–7 grams of protein in a 1-ounce (28-gram) serving.

Protein is the most filling macronutrient, making cheese an excellent choice for a satisfying vegetarian snack.
This snack is also a good source of calcium, a key mineral that helps strengthen your bones and teeth.

3. Bell peppers with hummus

Hummus is a vegan dip made from chickpeas, oil, lemon juice, garlic and a sesame seed paste called tahini.
It is high in fiber, healthy fats, B vitamins and vitamin C. Homemade versions are generally more nutritious than commercially prepared hummus that may have added vegetable oils and preservatives.

You can pair homemade or store-bought hummus with carrot, celery, cucumber, radishes and other raw vegetables for a healthy and crunchy vegan snack.

Bell peppers with hummus are a healthy, plant-based alternative to traditional chips & dip.
Bell peppers not only provide the same satisfying crunch as chips or crackers but are also lower in calories and contain more fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin A.

Dipping the peppers in hummus can help boost your intake of protein & fiber while keeping your calorie intake low.

4. Roasted chickpeas

Chickpeas are loaded with protein, fiber, and vitamins and minerals like manganese and folate.
Best of all, roasted chickpeas are easy to make at home by tossing cooked chickpeas with olive oil and your choice of spices or seasonings prior to baking them at 400°F (200°C) for 20–30 minutes.

Cayenne pepper, garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, and nutmeg are all tasty options to help spice up your chickpeas.

5. Popcorn

Popcorn is a nutritious, low-calorie snack that is a great source of the minerals phosphorus, magnesium, and zinc. It’s also high in manganese — a mineral involved in digestion, immune function, energy production, and brain health.

Be sure to select air-popped popcorn (it can be a highly nutritious vegan snack) rather than pre-packaged or microwave varieties, which are usually packed with extra calories, fat, and sodium.
When made in an air popper-A two-cup serving (16 grams) has close to 10% of the DV for fiber at only 62 calories.

Adding nutritional yeast can boost the nutrition of popcorn even more. This flakey yellow yeast is a high-quality plant protein and usually fortified with zinc and B vitamins. It has a savory taste that some people compare to cheese. Or for extra flavor, try seasoning your air-popped popcorn with paprika, onion powder, vegetarian Parmesan, or parsley.

6. Nuts

Nuts — like almonds, walnuts, cashews, and pistachios — provide a wealth of important nutrients, including heart-healthy fats, fiber, protein, magnesium, iron, and calcium.
In addition to being incredibly nutrient-dense, research shows that adding nuts to your diet may reduce your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and certain types of cancer like colorectal cancer.

However, keep in mind that nuts are high in calories, so enjoy them in moderation and stick to about 1 ounce (28 grams) at a time as part of a healthy diet.

7. Yogurt with fruit

Rich in protein, calcium, vitamin B12, and potassium, yogurt is an excellent vegetarian snack option.
Combining yogurt with apples, berries, bananas, grapes, or your favorite type of fruit can also help bump up your intake of fiber, vitamin C, and disease-fighting antioxidants.

Look for plain, unsweetened varieties to minimize your intake of added sugars and use a little cinnamon, honey, or maple syrup to naturally enhance the flavor.

8. Kale chips

Kale chips are an easy and delicious way to squeeze a serving of leafy greens into your daily diet.
Kale is an especially good source of vitamins C and A — important nutrients involved in immune function and disease prevention.

Try making kale chips at home by tossing kale with olive oil and sea salt, then baking at 275°F (135°C) for 15–20 minutes until crisp. Watch them closely, as they can easily burn.

9. Cottage cheese

Made from the curds of cow’s milk — which are coagulated milk solids made by adding an acid to milk — cottage cheese is a high-protein dairy product rich in phosphorus, selenium, and vitamin B12.
It’s also a great source of calcium, an essential nutrient that plays a central role in bone formation, muscle function, and hormone secretion.

Cottage cheese has a mild flavor that can be enjoyed on its own or paired with fruits like bananas, melon, berries, and pineapple.
Alternatively, you can pair cottage cheese with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and black pepper for a vegetarian-friendly savory snack.

10. Green smoothies

Green smoothies can be a quick and convenient way to fit a few extra servings of veggies into your diet while ramping up your intake of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Though green smoothies are usually made with leafy greens like kale or spinach, other fruits, veggies, and ingredients can be added as well. For example, try carrots, celery, beets, berries, bananas, chia seeds, or flax meal.

You can also mix in vegetarian protein powders like whey, pea, hemp, or brown rice protein. These can keep you feeling full for longer and support muscle growth and blood sugar control.

11. Roasted Edamame

Edamame are soybeans that are harvested before they’re fully ripe. They can be boiled, steamed, or roasted to create a tasty and nutritious on-the-go snack.

In fact, cooked edamame packs a whopping 8 grams of fiber and 18 grams of plant-based protein into a 1-cup (155-gram) serving and contains a good amount of magnesium, iron, and vitamin C.

Edamame is highly versatile and can be purchased in convenient, ready-to-eat packages or roasted at 400°F (200°C) for 30–40 minutes with vegetarian Parmesan, garlic, pepper, or paprika for a satisfying savory snack at home.

12. Trail mix

Trail mix is a simple, vegetarian snack typically made with nuts, seeds, and dried fruit.
It’s portable, delicious, healthy, and versatile, and you can tailor it to fit your personal preferences.

Nuts, seeds, dried fruit, coconut, and whole grains like puffed rice or popcorn are a few examples of nutritious ingredients that you can use to craft and customize your perfect trail mix.

13. Pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin seeds are a great source of many important nutrients, including protein and fiber.
They’re also rich in magnesium, a micronutrient necessary for muscle contraction, blood pressure regulation, nerve function, and DNA synthesis.

You can easily roast pumpkin seeds at home by tossing them with olive oil, salt, and spices, then baking at 350°F (175°C) for 20–30 minutes or until golden brown.

14. Oatmeal

Although it’s often classified as a breakfast food, oatmeal can be enjoyed any time of day as a filling and nutritious snack.
Oats contain a type of fiber called beta-glucan, which is thought to promote weight loss and improve cholesterol levels, blood sugar control, and blood pressure.
It’s high in fiber, iron, magnesium and several other vitamins and minerals.

Bump up the flavor of your oatmeal with toppings like nuts, seeds, dried fruit, berries, cinnamon, or nut butter. Cooking oatmeal with unsweetened almond milk and adding sliced fruit and nuts or seeds can boost the nutrient content.

15. Hard-boiled eggs

Hard-boiled eggs can be a wholesome and nutritious vegetarian-friendly snack to help keep you feeling full between meals.
In addition to being a great source of protein, hard-boiled eggs are also high in selenium, vitamin A, and B vitamins.

Studies also suggest that eating eggs may decrease hunger to support weight loss and increase blood levels of HDL (good) cholesterol and antioxidants.

16. Guacamole and plantain chips

Pairing plantain chips with guacamole is an easy way to ramp up your intake of healthy fats while satisfying your cravings for a salty snack.

The avocados in guacamole are high in monounsaturated fatty acids, which have been shown to increase HDL (good) cholesterol and reduce triglyceride levels. They’re also a great source of potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin B6.

Plus, plantain chips are easy to make at home and can be baked instead of fried for a healthier alternative to store-bought potato chips. Simply toss thinly sliced plantains with olive oil and seasonings and bake at 400°F (200°C) for 15–20 minutes — or until plantains are browned and crispy.

17. Homemade energy balls

Energy balls are a simple snack option that you can make at home and customize with your choice of nutritious ingredients.
Energy balls refer to bite-size snacks that are typically made from a mix of oats, nuts, seeds, nut butter, dried fruit, maple syrup and occasionally chocolate chips or other add-ins.
Depending on their ingredients, they can be a very nutritious vegan snack with protein, fiber and healthy fats that promote energy and satiety.

I have personally tried and tested this recipe and it is fantastic:

To make homemade energy balls, you can combine one cup (90 grams) of old-fashioned oats, 1/2 cup (125 grams) of peanut butter, 1/3 cup (113 grams) maple syrup, two tablespoons of hemp seeds and two tablespoons of granola.
To get started, add ingredients to a food processor and pulse until the mixture is smooth. (Or, I mixed the ingredients with my hands once everything was in the bowl.) Then roll into balls and place in the refrigerator to set for 10–15 minutes before enjoying.

Try adding nuts and seeds to your energy balls to help boost your intake of protein, fiber, and heart-healthy fats.

Dried fruits, cacao nibs, and honey are excellent choices to amp up the flavor and antioxidant content of your snack.

18. Rice Cakes and Avocado

Rice cakes are a snack food similar to crackers. They’re made from puffed rice that has been packed together and shaped into circles.
The most nutritious rice cakes are made from whole-grain brown rice and contain few other ingredients. Two brown rice cakes provide 14 grams of carbs for less than 70 calories.

Rice cakes topped with avocado is a balanced vegan snack with both healthy fats and fiber. You can sprinkle the rice cakes with toasted sesame seeds for extra crunch and flavor.

19. Dried Coconut & dark chocolate

For a healthy snack that will also satisfy your sweet tooth, try eating dried coconut with a few squares of dark chocolate.
Dried coconut is made from dehydrated coconut flakes or pieces. Unsweetened varieties are incredibly nutritious, packing 18% of the DV for fiber in just one ounce (28 grams).

As an added bonus, dark chocolate that is at least 65% cacao provides plant compounds and may have a number of health benefits.

20. Seaweed Crisps

Seaweed crisps are made from sheets of seaweed that have been baked, sliced into squares and seasoned with salt.
They’re a vegan, low-calorie snack loaded with folate (vitamin B9), fiber and vitamins A and C. Seaweed is also an excellent source of iodine, a nutrient that naturally occurs in seawater and is vital to proper thyroid functioning.

When purchasing seaweed crisps, look for varieties with minimal ingredients, such as SeaSnax, which only contains seaweed, olive oil and salt.

21. Frozen Grapes

Grapes are small spherical fruits that grow on vines and come in purple, red, green and black.
One cup (151 grams) of grapes has 28% of the DV for vitamin K and 27% of the DV for vitamin C. They are also rich in polyphenols, which are plant compounds that may protect against heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Frozen grapes are a delicious vegan snack. For a refreshing treat, keep grapes in a container in your freezer and enjoy a handful when hunger strikes.

Fortunately, there are plenty of vegetarian snacks to choose from — all of which are nutritious, easy to prepare, and delicious.

All nutrition information for the foods listed in this article is from the USDA Foods Database.

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Source: Healthline
Image Source: blogfitbit.com

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