Following a plant-based diet either on a full or part time basis is a fantastic step for sustainability. The carbon footprint of the meat and dairy industries contribute a great deal towards climate change.
You might have found the best non dairy milk for coffee. You may also know how to get enough protein from plants. But when it comes to snacks, it can be a bit tricky. Milk powder hiding in protein bars and gelatine in ‘healthy’ sweets can make plant-based snacking a minefield.
If you’re looking to eat less meat and dairy, here’s some of our favourite plant-based snacks to keep you energised. Hope you’re hungry!
What Does Plant-Based Mean?
Before we get to the snacks, let’s quickly go over what being plant-based means. Plant-based refers to a diet focused around foods derived from plants. It’s a diet free from animal products where foods are as minimally processed as possible.
In simple terms this means no meat, fish, eggs or dairy products, including milk, cheese and yoghurt.
Instead, a plant-based diet is full of vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes and fruits.
The plant-based approach has been gaining in popularity in recent years. Especially as our understanding of its environmental and health benefits have increased.
The Ultimate Guide to Going Plant-Based
Grab our PDF guide with everything you need to know to start going plant-based.
From putting together a balanced meal, to tips on eating out, we’ve got all (plant) bases covered.
Getting the Nutrients Right, Even When Plant-Based Snacking
Many of us label snacks as bad. We might feel guilty about reaching for something as we hit the afternoon slump. But snacking doesn’t have to be ‘bad’.
Snacking for adults and children alike helps bridge the gap between meals. It allows the body to maintain its energy supply, keeping us going for longer.
All types of snacks, including plant-based snacks, can increase your nutrient consumption. This can mean healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, fibre and lean proteins. And it can also mean saturated fats, salts and sugars.
There’s a misconception that ‘plant-based’ automatically means that a food is healthy. We think we can eat them with abandon. But that’s not the case. It’s all about balance.
What Do I Need to Think About When Choosing Plant-Based Snacks?
Snacking on an apple or a raw carrot is great. But there are times when you need a little more sustenance. Plant-based snacks such as cereal bars are ideal, but there are some things to watch out for.
It’s common for food manufacturers to replace animal products with a higher fat and salt content. It may improve the flavour but the nutritional value is decreased.
This is often the case with brands that make both plant-based and non plant-based chocolate bars and sweets. They tend to want to keep the flavours the same so add fillers to compensate for lack of animal products.
Many independent brands who only make plant-based snacks tend to stick to healthier ingredients.
Also, due to the increased popularity of plant-based diets, more plant-based snacks are hitting the shelves every day. Unfortunately, not all manufacturers are correctly interpreting what being plant-based means.
Check the ingredients to ensure there’s no hidden dairy or animal fats making a sneaky appearance.
Plant-Based Snacking on the Go
There are fewer plant-based snacks readily available than for those who eat meat and dairy. Planning ahead is crucial to avoid energy dips and hunger induced crankiness.
If you’re out and about and in need of a snack, widely available options include fresh and dried fruit, nuts and rice cakes.
You can also look out for specialty snacks made by Graze, Native Snacks or Hippeas puffed chickpeas. Hippeas are like eating Wotsits without the cheese and animal fat.
Another option is Itsu’s Seaweed Thins. These are a great source of iodine which can be overlooked on a plant-based diet.
Getting Your Employer on Board
If you work in a fixed location, find a local cafe or lunch provider with plant-based snacking options. You could also ask your plant-based colleagues for their recommendations.
Consider having a chat with your office or HR manager too. They may be able to supply plant-based snacks for breakfast meetings and working lunches.
If you work from home, plan ahead when doing your weekly shop. That way, you’ll always have snacking options to hand.
Being Creative in the Kitchen: Making Your Own Plant-Based Snacks
Snacking doesn’t always have to mean buying something already prepared from a shop. There are plenty of homemade options – both savoury and sweet.
- Cacao and almond energy balls
- Trail mix
- Spicy roasted chickpeas
- Hummus and guacamole with vegetable crudites
- Nut butters and oat cakes
- Savoury or chocolate muffins
- Fruit leathers – a firm favourite with kids
Smoothies are great too. There are lots of plant-based milks to mix with your chosen fresh or frozen fruit and vegetables. Coconut water works well too.
Smoothies are also a great way to use up any over ripe fruit and surplus vegetables. Not only do they taste good and provide nutrients, they reduce food waste.
Making Healthy Plant-Based Snacks Part of Your Normal Diet
Healthy snacks provide nutrients and will keep you energised throughout the day. Sadly, many are wrapped in plastic.
If you’re looking to buy ingredients free from plastic wrapping, try visiting a zero waste shop. They’ll have a range of ingredients for making snacks such as oats, nuts, seeds and vegan chocolate. Shopping in bulk also has the added bonus of saving money.
Plant-based snacking can take a little more thought and organisation. But there are still a wide range of healthy options available. Making your own helps sustainability by reducing plastic and food waste.
Experiment with shop bought and homemade snacks. And always keep an eye out, even when you’re not hungry. With new snack brands appearing all the time, you never know what you might find!