Healthy Living

10 Healthy Plant-Based Snacks You Can Enjoy Guilt-Free

If you are the type that does not avoid snacking in between meals, then it is good to know that you have to choose the right (read: healthy) snacks along with the right amount to munch hours before the next main meal, ones that increase fullness while reducing your tendency to overeat. 

"One or two small snacks a day will help keep you feeling full, that way you don’t get super hungry and reach for foods that aren’t the best choices," Amy Gorin, registered dietitian nutritionist and owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition in New York, said.

Low in calories compared to animal-based food, plant-based snacks -- particularly those with 150 to 300 calories, at least 5 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber, with an added bonus of healthy fats in some cases -- are your best bets. 

For a uniquely healthy snacking experience, here are 10 dietitian-recommended plant-based snacks that you can enjoy guilt-free: 

Peanut Butter Stuffed Dates 

Four dates amount to approximately 120 calories and 12 percent of your daily fiber intake. You can make them more filling and flavorful by adding a tablespoon of peanut butter, which amps up their calorie count to over 200.

Roasted Chickpeas 

A favorite among plant-based snacks, chickpeas -- or more accurately, roasted chickpeas, "are a great source of protein and fiber, and they’re a tasty, crunchy, and portable snack you can make at home or buy," according to Rahaf Al Bochi, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics spokesperson and owner of Olive Tree Nutrition. 

Rice Cakes With Guacamole 

Do not just see rice cakes as "stale" diet food. Made with whole grain brown rice, these crunchy, low-calorie snacks are perfect when munched with various dips and spreads. For a totally healthy snack, add one or two tablespoons of guacamole, which is loaded with satisfyingly filling healthy fats.

Homemade Trail Mix 

A mix of assorted dried fruits and nuts is a sure choice for healthy snacking every day. "The variety is more interesting than just nuts or dried fruit alone, and the balance of fiber, plant protein, and healthy fat is filling and satisfying," Kaleigh McCordie, registered dietitian nutritionist, said.

Vegetable Chips 

No, not the bagged chips typically found in supermarkets, but healthy, homemade ones. Vegetables such as potato, beet or kale make fine veggie chips when roasted with some oil and salt.

Frozen Fruit And Yogurt Bites 

Adding yogurt to fruits such as various berries, grapes or pitted cherries before freezing them for at least an hour adds protein to snacks that are otherwise rich in carbs.

Hummus Lettuce Wraps 

With a bowl of hummus mixed with some fresh herbs, you have an opportunity to utilize the veggies that are still left sitting in your fridge. All you have to do is wrap slices of vegetables such as carrots, peppers or cucumber in big pieces of leafy greens such as Swiss chard or bib lettuce. Then dip away for a crunchy, healthy snack.

Chia Seed Pudding 

The tiny chia seed is laden with protein and healthy fats, and when mixed with liquids, it naturally becomes a pudding. To make it totally plant-based, add nondairy milk such as soy, nut (e.g. almond milk, cashew milk) or coconut. Mix two tablespoons of chia seeds and a cup of milk, then add some fruits and nuts. For added sweetness, add a dash of sweeteners such as maple syrup or agave. 

Cinnamon-Roasted Almonds 

Though unsalted almonds are tasty by themselves, you can add flavor to them by adding cinnamon and agave before roasting them in the oven for 10 minutes. Not only are they simple to make, but they provide you with fiber and healthy fats to keep you full.

Edamame 

Packed with 9 grams of protein in half a cup and less than 100 calories, edamames are best eaten with either a drizzle of spicy sriracha, a sprinkle of sesame seeds or garlic powder.

Plant-Based Diet Plant-based diets provide the body full of nutrients, without the cravings for meat or processed foods. Photo courtesy of Pixabay, public domain

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