Coming up with healthy snack ideas can be challenging.
These snacks are a great way to combat hunger between meals. They’re easy to make and a nutritious option for those just looking to eat more plant based foods.
Here are 24 healthy snacks that are both tasty and nutritious for the holiday period entertaining menu. They are bound to suit the whole crowd …… with a bonus of also being vegan friendly!
1. Fruit and Nut Butter
Fruit and nut butter, made from blended nuts, is so quick and easy to make yourself if you have access to a high powdered blender. It is a delicious plant based snack with many nutritional benefits. The fruits provide fibre, vitamins and minerals, while nut butters are rich in fibre and protein that can help you feel full and energized. It can be easy to change up for each occasion. Bananas or apples with cashew, almond or peanut butter are popular combinations, or why not try your own. If time is your enemy and you find yourself grabbing for a store bought option, make sure to select a nut butter without added sugar, oil or salt for the best nutritional benefits.
2. Guacamole and Crackers
Grab a couple of yummy avocado, add some onion, garlic and lime juice, maybe a few chili flakes, and there is a healthy and tasty dip sure to please everyone. Avocados are an excellent source of monounsaturated fats, fibre and potassium — all of which may promote heart health. Pair this with 100% whole-grain crackers and your Guacamole instantly becomes a healthy added nutritional snack and a hit on the serving table.
3. Edamame With Sea Salt
Edamame are nutrition dense immature soybeans in their pod. They’re an excellent source of high-quality plant
protein. One cup (155 grams) provides close to 17 grams of protein for less than 200 calories. Lightly boil or steam the pods or thaw them in your microwave. Sprinkle the warm pods with a little sea salt or soy sauce before chewing on them gently to eat the beans inside.
4. Trail Mix
Trail mix is a yummy, plant-based snack that typically includes nuts, seeds and dried fruit. Some varieties also have chocolate, coconut, crackers, pepitas or other whole grains. Depending on the ingredients, trail mix can be a good source of protein, healthy fats and fibre. Making up your own can be simply done and ensures you avoid the added sugar, salt and oil often found in store bought preparations. Vary the ingredients and even have a small batch ready as a healthy alternative avoiding the holiday temptations particularly when the energy levels start to deplete.
5. Roasted Chickpeas
Chickpeas (or garbanzo beans) are delicious little legume powerhouses of goodness.
One cup (164 grams) of chickpeas provides over 14 grams of protein and 71% of the daily value (DV) for folate. They’re also high in iron, copper, manganese, phosphorus and magnesium.
Roasting chickpeas can bring out a deliciously nutty appeal. You can easily make your own by simply soaking dried chickpeas overnight or using canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed, tossed in olive oil and seasonings. Spread them on a baking sheet and baking them for 40 minutes or until crunchy at 450°F (230°C) and boom!
6. Fruit Leather
With fruit in abundance at this time of the year, Fruit leather is an ideal snack go-to of sun-kissed goodness having much the same nutritional value of fresh fruit. Fruit leather is made from pureed fruit that has been thinly flattened, dried and sliced and is usually high in fibre, vitamins and minerals. Beware, however, some packaged fruit leathers may have added sugar or colour and are not as nutritious as the easily make homemade varieties.
To make your own, puree fruits of your choice and mix with lemon juice and maple syrup, if preferred. Spread the puree in a thin layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and dry it in a dehydrator or in your oven at 140°F (60°C) for approximately six hours.
7. Rice Cakes and Avocado
Rice cakes are a snack food similar to crackers. Look for those made from whole-grain puffed brown rice and contain few other ingredients. Two brown rice cakes provide 14 grams of carbs for less than 70 calories.
Top with avocado for a balanced vegan snack with both healthy fats and fibre, sprinkle the rice cakes with toasted sesame seeds for extra crunch. You might prefer to try them topped with tomato, smoked salmon, sliced egg, your favourite cheese, or a yummy spread.
8. Hummus and Veggies
Whip up a batch of Hummus made from chickpeas, oil, lemon juice, garlic and a sesame seed paste called
tahini, and blend till smooth for a quick and impressive nutritional dip. High in fibre, healthy fats, B vitamins and vitamin C, it is sure to please!
A homemade version is so easy to make and this way you avoid many of the added vegetable oils and preservatives contained in some of the commercially prepared versions.
Pair with carrot, celery, cucumber, radishes and other raw vegetables for a healthy and crunchy snack for all ages.
9. Fruit and Veggie Smoothies
Smoothies are an excellent on-the-go snack especially over this busy period.
Pack them full of vegetables and fruit, rich in vitamins and minerals and they are bound to keep you feeling satisfied for many hours. Blend your own smoothie by adding your favourite fruits and vegetables, including bananas, berries, spinach and kale to water or a plant-based milk such as almond, oat, hemp or rice milks.
Try adding a scoop of flax or chia seeds for an extra nutrient boost to provide important omega-3 fatty acids, often depleted in some diets.
10. Oatmeal With Fruit, Nuts or Seeds
Oatmeal is traditionally made by heating oats with liquid and commonly eaten as a breakfast food but can be enjoyed at any time of the day for a quick and healthy snack.
It’s high in fibre, iron, magnesium and several other vitamins and minerals. Oats have an almost magical calming effect on our nervous system, allowing us to keep our tolerance and sense of humour. Look for organic oats if you can tolerate gluten, or otherwise try a quinoa version. The oats can be cooked with unsweetened almond milk or left to soften overnight in the refrigerator, then adding sliced fruit and nuts or seeds to boost the nutrient content. Making your own is quick and easy and is the healthiest way but if you are looking for instant options, watch for some of the hidden added sugars or salt in commercially prepared versions. This makes an awesome snack to have on hand prepared ahead of time for those days when you are running out the door, and need to keep those energy levels firing.
11. Salsa and Homemade Tortilla Chips
Yummy Salsa never fails to please! Salsa is typically made from chopped tomatoes, onions, lime juice, salt and seasonings. It’s rich in vitamin C, potassium and the beneficial plant compound lycopene from the tomatoes, noted for its ability lower the risk of heart disease.
Complete the dish with some yummy tortilla chips. Making your own will avoid some of the excess oil and added salt often found in the store bought versions. Simply slice up a few tortillas, brush them with olive oil, season if desired, and bake for 15 minutes at 350°F (175°C). And watch it disappear from the table!
12. Popcorn With Nutritional Yeast
Heat dried popcorn kernels in an air popper, microwave or a kettle with oil on the stove for a deliciously yummy snack that is both highly nutritious and a sure crowd pleaser.
A two-cup serving (16 grams) has close to 10% of the DV for fibre at only 62 calories.
Adding nutritional yeast can boost the nutrition of popcorn even more. This flakey yellow yeast, which some say has a cheesy taste, is a high-quality plant protein and usually fortified with zinc and B vitamins.
This can be a fun activity to do with the kids…. If any makes it to the bowl!
13. Homemade Granola
Granola is a great mix of oats, nuts or seeds, dried fruits, spices and a sweetener, making it a powerhouse of nutrition to boost your busy day, or ideal to have on hand as a go-to snack. Making it from scratch ensures you get a healthy snack rich in fibre, protein and healthy fats, without the added sugar and vegetable oil often found in many store bought varieties.
To make your own granola, combine old-fashioned oats, almonds, pumpkin seeds, raisins and cinnamon with melted coconut oil and rice malt or maple syrup. Spread out the mixture on a lined baking sheet and bake for 30–40 minutes at low heat in your oven.
14. Fruit and Nut Bars
Fruit and nut bars are an easy on-the-go snack that can be very nutritious.
While there are endless varieties available on the market today, there is nothing that compares to our homemade version. Varying your ingredients will make them a great source of fibre, potassium and iron, with everyone continuing to come back for more!
• 1–2 cups (125–250 grams) of nuts,
• 1 cup (175 grams) of dried fruit
• 1/4 cup (85 grams) of maple or brown rice syrup.
Spread this mixture in a greased 8-inch (20-cm) baking pan and bake for approximately 20 minutes at 325°F (165°C).
15. White Bean Dip and Homemade Pita Chips
Blend white or cannellini beans with olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and fresh herbs and you have one of the yummiest dips around! White beans are impressively packed full of approximately five grams of protein, over 10% of the DV for iron and four grams of fibre in just 1/4 cup (50 grams).
Serve paired with some homemade pita chips by slicing whole grain pitas, brushing them with olive oil and baking them for 10 minutes at 400°F (205°C).
Also try it in your next wrap for a flavour boost if there is any left!
16. Peanut Butter and Banana Bites
The combination of Peanut butter and banana is hard to go passed and such a healthy snack favourite.
Bananas are loaded with potassium and fibre, while peanut butter provides protein and healthy fats. Eating them together can keep you feeling full and satisfied.
To make peanut butter and banana bites, slice a banana into thin pieces and spread a layer of peanut butter in between two slices. These treats taste especially delicious when frozen for at least 30 minutes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper in your freezer.
Why not add a touch of decadence by dipping partially in dark chocolate, for more nutritional value, of course!
17. Dried Coconut and Dark Chocolate
Some homemade dark chocolate is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth. Melt gently and boost the nutrition profile further by adding some dried coconut chips and some goji berries.
Dried coconut is made from dehydrated coconut flakes or pieces. Look for Unsweetened varieties of the dried coconut that are incredibly nutritious, packing 18% of the DV for fibre in just 28 grams. Goji berries are reported to contain, by weight, as much Vitamin C as oranges and lemons. These little nutrient powerhouses have not gained their superfood status lightly. Their high antioxidant properties protect our cells from free radical damage assisting our bodies in preventing premature aging, boosting the immune system, and protecting against heart disease.
Add some nuts or granola, whatever takes your fancy!
As an added bonus, dark chocolate that is at least 65% cacao provides plant compounds and may have a number of health benefits. Products that do not contain any animal products are usually fairly readily available if you are needing to a vegan friendly treat for someone special.
Chocolate( in moderation!) almost guilt free!
18. Baked Veggie Chips
Baked veggie chips made from sliced vegetables, dehydrated or baked at low temperatures, are a delicious snack and sure to be a hit at any gathering large or small.
Depending on the type of vegetable, baked veggie chips provide a variety of nutrients. For example, dehydrated carrots are loaded with vitamin A while baked beet chips are rich in potassium and folate.
You can make your own vegetable chips by baking thinly sliced veggies at 200–250°F (90–120°C) for 30–60 minutes.
19. Spiced Nuts
Nuts and seeds are incredibly popular at any gathering. Almonds, pistachios, cashews, walnuts, macadamia nuts, pecan, pepitas, sunflower seeds to mention a few.
Thee make a highly nutritious snack option. For example, just 23 grams of almonds has six grams of protein, over 12% of the DV for fibre and several vitamins and minerals.
Nuts are especially delicious when coated in spices. These are so incredibly easy to make at home and would also be super impressive as a small gift. To make homemade spiced nuts, toss your preferred variety in olive oil and seasonings before baking the mix for 15–20 minutes at 350°F (175°C).
20. Seaweed Crisps
Seaweed crisps, made from sheets of seaweed that have been baked, sliced into squares and seasoned with salt, make an excellent low calorie option for any occasion.
They are loaded with folate (vitamin B9), fibre 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.
If buying store bought always check the packaging for those varieties with minimal ingredients, ideally those that only contains seaweed, olive oil and salt.
21. No-Bake Energy Balls
Who doesn’t need more energy? Particularly during periods of high demands. These yummy little balls are bound to add to your bounce!
Energy balls are bite-size snacks 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 your chosen ingredients, these very nutritious snack options can be filled with protein, fibre and healthy fats that promote energy and satiety.
To make our homemade version of energy balls, combine
• 1 cup (90 grams) of old-fashioned oats
• 1/2 cup (125 grams) of peanut butter
• 1/3 cup (113 grams) maple syrup
• 2 tablespoons of hemp seeds
• 2 tablespoons of raisins.
Divide and roll the batter into balls and store in your refrigerator. Easy!
22. Ants on a Log
Ants on a log is the name of a popular snack made from celery sticks stuffed with peanut butter and raisins.
This treat is rich in fibre from celery, healthy fats from peanut butter and vitamins and minerals from the raisins.
To make ants on a log, simply slice a few stalks of celery into pieces, add peanut butter and sprinkle with raisins.
23. Almond-Butter-Stuffed Dried Dates
The sweet nutty flavour of Dates combined with their chewy texture makes them hard to go passed at any time of the day, but particularly if the those batteries are running on empty. The natural sugars and high fibre content provide the body with a quick boost of energy. In fact, one date has approximately 18 grams of carbs. For a healthy snack, you can remove the pits of dates and stuff them with some almond butter. But remember, these natural sugars are also high in calories, so remember to exercise some portion control.
24. Frozen Grapes
Grapes are power packed with goodness and come in many different varieties and colours of 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 snack and not just the food of Kings. For a simple, impressive and refreshing treat, keep grapes in a container in your freezer and enjoy a handful when you are out entertaining or just want to feel like royalty! Coat with a light dusting of sugar to add to the decadence!
– Pam Murphy | Naturopath