As a Registered Dietitian, my clients often ask me what heart-healthy, plant-based snack options they can keep on hand.
Whether you are a full-blown vegetarian or are pondering a plant-based lifestyle, incorporating healthy plant-based snacks into your routine can help you meet your nutrient needs, provide steady energy, and optimize your health.

In this article, I’ll share my top 10 picks for wholesome and nutritious plant-based snacks to support your active lifestyle.

What to Look for in Plant-Based Snacks

There are plenty of healthy plant-based snacks out there, but you may not always know what to look for. Some vegan or vegetarian snacks may appear healthy, but they contain hidden unhealthful ingredients like added sugar and sodium. These can negatively impact blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Here are a few ingredients to limit in packaged vegetarian snacks:

● Added sugar – Stick to snacks with less than 8 grams per serving.
● Excessive sodium – Especially if you have high blood pressure or heart disease, it’s important to limit sodium intake as much as possible.
● Hydrogenated oils and trans fats – Stay away from products with “partially
hydrogenated oils,” “trans fats,” or “trans fatty acids” on the food label.
● Artificial colors, additives, and flavors – Try to limit products with a lot of ingredients or contain artificially made ones, as their health effects are unknown.
This is why on most occasions I recommend whole food-based snacks like the ones mentioned below, as they are less likely to contain these unwanted ingredients.

10 Healthy Vegetarian Snacks

You may be wondering what types of snacks you can eat on a plant-based diet. Here are 10 super simple, yummy ideas to get you started.

  1. Apple “nachos”
    If you want a crunchy, sweet snack, apple nachos are a yummy choice. Simply top sliced apples with your favorite nut butter, raisins, and if you’re feeling extra daring – a few dark chocolate cacao nibs.
    This snack is a balanced plant-based snack as it contains fiber and carbs from the apples and raisins and protein and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats from the nut butter. Because of this, it is super filling without contributing many calories.
    Bonus tip: Use natural nut butter as it typically contains fewer ingredients, salt, and less added sugar.
  2. Roasted chickpeas
    Chickpeas are a highly nutritious plant-based food that can be eaten in many ways. My clients who crave salty crunchy snacks absolutely love roasted chickpeas. They are also rich in fiber, essential vitamins, and minerals.
    Drizzle olive oil, a pinch of salt, and your favorite spices (I love paprika and cumin) on top of drained, no-salt-added canned chickpeas and bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes (or until golden brown and crispy). That’s it!
    Brands that I like: Biena, The Good Bean
  3. Rice cakes with mashed avocado and tomato slices
    For a savory healthy vegetarian snack, this one fits the bill. Spread a ripe, mashed avocado on your favorite rice cake and top with fresh tomato slices.
    This veggie and fruit-packed snack (yes, avocado is a fruit!) bumps up the nutritional ante of plain rice cakes and adds filling fiber to hold you over longer. Plus, research shows adding an avocado a day to a heart-healthy diet can improve LDL (the “bad” cholesterol) levels.
  4. Trail mix with pumpkin seeds
    Trail mix is one of my favorite go-to plant-based snacks, as it is packed with protein, fiber, and cholesterol-lowering fats. While many store-bought trail mixes tend to be high in added sugar or sodium, you can easily make your own wholesome blend at home.
    Make my DIY version by adding unsalted cashews, almonds, or pistachios with pumpkin seeds and dried fruit like cranberries and apricots. Pumpkin seeds contain a type of unsaturated fat called alpha-linoleic acid, or ALA, that may be beneficial for the prevention of heart disease.
    They also contain antioxidants that may improve blood flow in the body, supporting healthy circulation and blood pressure levels.
    Bonus tips: Since trail mix is high in fat, it can easily add up in calories. You can pre-portion a handful in individual baggies to have throughout the week. In addition, stick to unsalted or lightly salted nuts to keep your sodium intake in check.
    Store-bought Brands I like: Second Nature, PowerUp
  5. Raw veggies with hummus
    This classic plant-based snack pair supplies plant-based protein, fiber, and healthy fat without blowing your calorie budget. Veggies are naturally low in calories, making this a weight-friendly snack that does not disappoint.
    Pair 1-2 tablespoons of hummus with your favorite raw veggies like carrots, celery, or bell peppers, and enjoy!
  6. Energy bites
    To get you through that afternoon slump, look no further than energy bites. These are basically soft granola bars rolled up into bite-sized balls. Instead of chugging another sugar-laden coffee, energy bites will give you long-lasting energy and will also satisfy a
    sweet craving.
    You can make them yourself at home, get a mix, or buy completely premade. There are several prepared options at the grocery store – but make sure to look for ones lower in added sugar (ideally less than 8 grams per serving).
    To make them at home, add rolled oats, nut butter, flax or chia seeds, unsweetened coconut, and honey or agave in a large bowl. Roll into bite-sized balls, freeze for 1 hour, then place in individual ziplock bags. One serving = 2 energy bites.
  7. Smoothies
    Blend together your favorite fruits, greens, and plant-based milk or water for a refreshing and nourishing smoothie. Some of my favorite smoothie add-ins are frozen tropical fruit, spinach, ginger, and unsweetened almond milk.
  8. Kale chips
    If you want to up your veggie intake, kale is one of the best superfoods out there. It is high in fiber, potassium, and calcium – all essential nutrients for a strong heart. You can buy kale chips at the store, or easily make them at home.
    Simply lay out cut-up kale on a sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and bake at a low temp (around 300 degrees) for about 20 minutes or until crisp
    and browned.
    Enjoy any time you’re craving potato chips as a healthier, but crave-worthy alternative.
  9. Air-popped popcorn
    Popcorn often gets a bad rap because of all the butter and salt added to it in many situations. But the truth is that popcorn on its own is actually pretty good for you – it is a heart-smart whole grain rich in fiber and antioxidants and is low in calories.
    Instead of buying the butter-laden store-bought variety, make your own air-popped popcorn in the microwave. Enjoy 2-3 cups if your heart desires – as it is only around 100 calories!
    Bonus tip: Season popcorn with nutritional yeast for a savory, cheesy flavor and a vitamin B12 boost. Vitamin B12 is mainly found in animal foods, thus adding yeast to your foods can help you get more on a plant-based diet.
  10. Boiled edamame
    Edamames are soybeans commonly eaten in Asian cultures but are becoming more widespread as an American staple.
    Consuming soy protein found like that found in edamame is linked to reduced levels of cholesterol and triglycerides, which may contribute to a reduced risk of heart disease.
    Boil or steam-shelled edamame and season with a pinch of salt or your favorite spices like paprika for a protein-rich snack.
    Embrace the Power of Plant-Based Snacks
    Incorporating these healthy plant-based snacks into your daily routine can help fuel your workouts and provide numerous benefits to your health. Not only do they supply essential nutrients, but they also can help reduce cravings, support a healthy weight, and keep your heart
    in optimal shape.
    To reap the biggest health benefits, choose whole-food snacks whenever possible and limit your intake of added sugars, sodium, and unhealthy fats. These whole-food snacks will be easy to eat because they are more satisfying and provide the longer-lasting energy you crave.
    Keep following for more support and guidance in your plant-based, heart health journey to wellness.


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One Response

  1. Excellent information and well written and easy to understand
    Thank you for the amazing suggestions
    Here is to better nutrition and health thanks to you.

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