In my experience, meals on a whole-food plant-based diet are actually pretty easy. What seems to trip people up the most are snacks. When transitioning to a plant-based diet, I’ve seen more people fall off the rails with snacks than breakfast, lunch, and dinner combined. The cravings for something sugary or processed come on strong.
To combat these cravings, I created this list of healthy and delicious snack recipes that you can whip up in minutes. Some are sweet, some are savory, some are salty, some are full recipes, others are so simple they can be whipped up in seconds. Keep this list handy to combat those afternoon cravings –
1. Dates with Nut Butter
Perhaps my favorite snack of all, this is an instant antidote for every sweet tooth. Simply slice open a few dates, remove the pits (if necessary), and stuff with a teaspoon of almond, peanut, or cashew butter.
2. Steamed Greens
This might sound like the last thing you want as a snack, but trust me – greens are packed with micronutrients, and one of the rules of a whole food diet is that, “if you under-eat on micronutrients (i.e. antioxidants, vitamins), you’ll end up over-eating on macronutrients (cookies).” A bowl full of steamed greens can bust your cravings for something processed in an almost magical way. Simply boil a few inches of water and add 2 handfuls of kale, spinach, or chard to a steaming basket. Cover, and allow to steam for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with balsamic or fruit vinegar and sesame seeds. See my recipe at: Sesame Steamed Greens »
3. One Ingredient Ice Cream
This is a *truly* one ingredient dessert. To make, freeze a few bananas overnight, cut into small chunks, then pop them in a food processor until you have a creamy frozen dessert. See my original recipe for a few flavor suggestions.
4. Roasted Chickpeas
This is a classic healthy munchie that’s so easy to make. Preheat the oven to 400º and thoroughly rinse/dry a can of chickpeas. In a bowl, toss with cumin, chili powder, sea salt, and (optionally) a tablespoon of maple syrup. Arrange on a baking sheet and bake until the chickpeas are crisp and crunchy.
5. Banana Oat Cookies
These cookies are sugar-less, flour-less, and so delicious you’d never know they’re healthy. Plus, they’re virtually foolproof – this is one baked good you cannot mess up no matter how hard you try. They’re my favorite afternoon snack that can be prepped, baked, and devoured in less than 20 minutes. Get the full recipe »
6. Flax Crackers with Vegan Parmesan and Italian Herbs
These crackers are incredible! Made primarily from flaxseed (packed with healthy fats that will keep you full all afternoon) and an incredible seasoning combo that resembles parmesan cheese. You’ve got to try them – get the recipe here »
7. Sliced Apple Drizzled with Tahini
What is tahini? You can think of it like peanut butter made with sesame seeds instead of peanuts. It has a very distinct taste and creamy flavor that makes a great compliment to apples. Slice an apple into wedges and drizzle tahini over top.
8. Air-Popped Popcorn
Popcorn is a perfectly healthy and delicious snack… as long as it isn’t loaded with butter, salt, and other chemicals that come in the store-bought bags. To make your own, simply buy organic popcorn kernels and pop them with air using either a specially-made popcorn popper or by adding the kernels to a brown paper bag with some sea salt, folding over the top, and microwaving until popped. If you’d like to indulge, just one teaspoon of coconut oil goes a long ways here.
9. Sweet & Spicy Cashews
I love these things. They’re oven-roasted cashews (much like the chickpeas above) with beautiful Asian/Indian spices and a hint of sweetness from maple syrup. Simply coat raw cashews with spices, soy sauce/tamari, and maple syrup. Bake at 300º until crispy. See my original recipe »
10. Steamed Edamame
These fresh soybeans are so much fun to eat and packed with a complete source of protein. To cook, boil a pot of water under a steamer basket and allow the beans to steam for about 10 minutes, until thoroughly heated. You can also boil the edamame if you don’t have a steamer basket. Once cooked, serve in a bowl with a pinch of sea salt. To eat: place the pod in your mouth, bite down, and squeeze the beans out, discarding the pod.
11. Avocado Toast
Nothing need be said about avo toast. It’s basically the world’s most perfect snack. Simply take a piece of very unprocessed whole grain bread (i.e. Ezekiel brand) and mash about 1/3 of an avocado over the top. Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt and you’re happy. If you want to get really fancy, top with jalapeño slices and tomato as pictured.
12. An Artichoke
Seriously. It may sound totally bizarre, but I’m telling you – artichokes are an amazing snack. They’re healthy, delicious, and quite fun to eat. I have an entire cooking guide on how to cook artichokes, plus an amazing vegan aioli sauce recipe right over here »
13. Veggies with an Asian Peanut Sauce
Veggies are fine on their own… but when you dip them in a blend of peanut butter, tamari, and sesame oil they get kicked up to a whole new level. To make the dipping sauce, simply stir one tablespoon of peanut butter with one teaspoon of tamari, and 1-2 drops of sesame oil. It’s amazing with carrots, celery, broccoli, and more.
14. Two-Minute Taquitos
These taquitos satisfy any afternoon snack craving and seriously take two minutes to make. The filling is a blend of leftover brown rice with fresh salsa and lime juice. Heat this in the microwave, then wrap it all up in a corn tortilla and you’re done. See the full recipe with my homemade salsa here: Two-Minute Taquitos with Homemade Roasted Salsa »
15. Dangerously Cheesy Kale Chips
The first of our pair of kale chip recipes goes in the savory direction, with tons of cashew + nutritional yeast cheese slathered onto the crispy chips. The problem with these is trying to not eat the whole batch at once. Get the recipe »
16. Crispy Cocoa Kale Chips
The second kale chip recipe goes in the sweet direction. I’ve long believed that chocolate and kale go amazingly well together and this is the perfect example. These crispy chips are the perfect base for this healthy unprocessed chocolate and coconut sauce that firms up on the outside. MGet the recipe »
17. Quinoa & Chia Granola Bars
One of the most unique (and delicious) granola bars you’ll ever try. This blend of half quinoa, half rolled oats ultimately firm up into a granola-like texture with an amazing flavor profile of cherries and vanilla. Make a big batch of these and keep them around to fight off cravings. Get the recipe »
(see more healthy snack ideas)