Selecting nutritious snacks to enjoy throughout the day is a key component of any healthy diet — including vegetarian diets.
Unfortunately, many quick and convenient snack foods offer little in terms of nutrition apart from extra calories, sodium and added sugar.
Still, finding vegetarian snack options that are easy, portable and nutritious doesn't have to be a challenge.
Here are 17 quick and healthy vegetarian snack ideas.
1. Nut Butter with Fruit
Pairing your favorite fruit with nut butter makes for an easy, filling, and quick plant-based snack that you can enjoy anywhere.
Meanwhile, nut butters — like almond, peanut, or cashew butters — deliver a hearty dose of satisfying protein and healthy fats.
2. Cheese Sticks
Cheese sticks are a portable and convenient snack perfect to help curb cravings on the go.
Though the exact nutrient profile varies based on the brand and type of cheese, cheese sticks typically supply 5–7 grams of protein in a 1-ounce (28-gram) serving.
Protein is the most filling macronutrient, making cheese an excellent choice for a satisfying vegetarian snack (2).
This snack is also a good source of calcium, a key mineral that helps strengthen your bones and teeth (3).
3. Bell Peppers with Hummus
Bell peppers with hummus are a healthy, plant-based alternative to traditional chips and dip.
Bell peppers not only provide the same satisfying crunch as chips or crackers but are also lower in calories and contain more fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin A.
Plus, dipping them in hummus can help boost your intake of protein and fiber while keeping your calorie intake low.
4. Roasted Chickpeas
Chickpeas are loaded with protein, fiber, and vitamins and minerals like manganese and folate.
Best of all, roasted chickpeas are easy to make at home by tossing cooked chickpeas with olive oil and your choice of spices or seasonings prior to baking them at 400°F (200°C) for 20–30 minutes.
Cayenne pepper, garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, and nutmeg are all tasty options to help spice up your chickpeas.
Popcorn is a nutritious, low-calorie snack that is a great source of the minerals phosphorus, magnesium, and zinc.
It's also high in manganese — a mineral involved in digestion, immune function, energy production, and brain health (4).
Be sure to select air-popped popcorn rather than pre-packaged or microwave varieties, which are usually packed with extra calories, fat, and sodium.
For extra flavor, try seasoning your air-popped popcorn with paprika, onion powder, vegetarian Parmesan, or parsley.
Nuts — like almonds, walnuts, cashews, and pistachios — provide a wealth of important nutrients, including heart-healthy fats, fiber, protein, magnesium, iron, and calcium.
In addition to being incredibly nutrient-dense, research shows that adding nuts to your diet may reduce your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and certain types of cancer like colorectal cancer (5).
However, keep in mind that nuts are high in calories, so enjoy them in moderation and stick to about 1 ounce (28 grams) at a time as part of a healthy diet.
7. Yogurt with Fruit
Rich in protein, calcium, vitamin B12, and potassium, yogurt is an excellent vegetarian snack option.
Combining yogurt with apples, berries, bananas, grapes, or your favorite type of fruit can also help bump up your intake of fiber, vitamin C, and disease-fighting antioxidants (6).
Look for plain, unsweetened varieties to minimize your intake of added sugars and use a little cinnamon, honey, or maple syrup to naturally enhance the flavor.
8. Kale Chips
Kale chips are an easy and delicious way to squeeze a serving of leafy greens into your daily diet.
Try making kale chips at home by tossing kale with olive oil and sea salt, then baking at 275°F (135°C) for 15–20 minutes until crisp. Watch them closely, as they can easily burn.
9. Cottage Cheese
Made from the curds of cow's milk — which are coagulated milk solids made by adding an acid to milk — cottage cheese is a high-protein dairy product rich in phosphorus, selenium, and vitamin B12.
It's also a great source of calcium, an essential nutrient that plays a central role in bone formation, muscle function, and hormone secretion (9).
Cottage cheese has a mild flavor that can be enjoyed on its own or paired with fruits like bananas, melon, berries, and pineapple.
Alternatively, you can pair cottage cheese with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and black pepper for a vegetarian-friendly savory snack.
10. Green Smoothies
Green smoothies can be a quick and convenient way to fit a few extra servings of veggies into your diet while ramping up your intake of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Though green smoothies are usually made with leafy greens like kale or spinach, other fruits, veggies, and ingredients can be added as well. For example, try carrots, celery, beets, berries, bananas, chia seeds, or flax meal.
11. Roasted Edamame
Edamame are soybeans that are harvested before they're fully ripe. They can be boiled, steamed, or roasted to create a tasty and nutritious on-the-go snack.
In fact, cooked edamame packs a whopping 8 grams of fiber and 18 grams of plant-based protein into a 1-cup (155-gram) serving and contains a good amount of magnesium, iron, and vitamin C.
Edamame is highly versatile and can be purchased in convenient, ready-to-eat packages or roasted at 400°F (200°C) for 30–40 minutes with vegetarian Parmesan, garlic, pepper, or paprika for a satisfying savory snack at home.
12. Trail Mix
Trail mix is a simple, vegetarian snack typically made with nuts, seeds, and dried fruit.
It's portable, delicious, healthy, and versatile, and you can tailor it to fit your personal preferences.
Nuts, seeds, dried fruit, coconut, and whole grains like puffed rice or popcorn are a few examples of nutritious ingredients that you can use to craft and customize your perfect trail mix
13. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are a great source of many important nutrients, including protein and fiber.
They're also rich in magnesium, a micronutrient necessary for muscle contraction, blood pressure regulation, nerve function, and DNA synthesis (13).
You can easily roast pumpkin seeds at home by tossing them with olive oil, salt, and spices, then baking at 350°F (175°C) for 20–30 minutes or until golden brown.
Although it's often classified as a breakfast food, oatmeal can be enjoyed any time of day as a filling and nutritious snack.
Oats contain a type of fiber called beta-glucan, which is thought to promote weight loss and improve cholesterol levels, blood sugar control, and blood pressure (14).
Bump up the flavor of your oatmeal with toppings like nuts, seeds, dried fruit, berries, cinnamon, or nut butter.
15. Hard-Boiled Eggs
Hard-boiled eggs can be a wholesome and nutritious vegetarian-friendly snack to help keep you feeling full between meals.
In addition to being a great source of protein, hard-boiled eggs are also high in selenium, vitamin A, and B vitamins.
16. Guacamole and Plantain Chips
Pairing plantain chips with guacamole is an easy way to ramp up your intake of healthy fats while satisfying your cravings for a salty snack.
The avocados in guacamole are high in monounsaturated fatty acids, which have been shown to increase HDL (good) cholesterol and reduce triglyceride levels. They're also a great source of potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin B6 (18).
Plus, plantain chips are easy to make at home and can be baked instead of fried for a healthier alternative to store-bought potato chips.
Simply toss thinly sliced plantains with olive oil and seasonings and bake at 400°F (200°C) for 15–20 minutes — or until plantains are browned and crispy.
17. Homemade Energy Balls
Energy balls are a simple snack option that you can make at home and customize with your choice of nutritious ingredients.
To get started, add ingredients to a food processor and pulse until the mixture is smooth. Then roll into balls and place in the refrigerator to set for 10–15 minutes before enjoying.
The Bottom Line
Including a variety of healthy snacks in your diet can help keep you going between meals while squeezing in a few extra nutrients.
Fortunately, there are plenty of vegetarian snacks to choose from — all of which are nutritious, easy to prepare, and delicious.
To get started, simply pick a few of your favorites and enjoy as part of a healthy, well-rounded vegetarian diet.
All nutrition information for the foods listed in this article is from the USDA Foods Database.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Healthline.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Independence Day weekend is a busy time for coastal communities as people flock to the beaches to soak up the sun during the summer holiday. This year is different. Some of the country's most popular beach destinations in Florida and California have decided to close their beaches to stop the surge in coronavirus cases.
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For some combat veterans, the Fourth of July is not a time to celebrate the independence of the country they love. Instead, the holiday is a terrifying ordeal. That's because the noise of fireworks – loud, sudden, and reminiscent of war – rocks their nervous system. Daily fireworks in many U.S. cities in recent weeks have no doubt been interfering with the sleep and peace of mind of thousands of veterans.
What Is PTSD?<p><a href="https://theconversation.com/veterans-refugees-and-victims-of-war-crimes-are-all-vulnerable-to-ptsd-130144" target="_blank">PTSD</a> can occur when someone is exposed to extreme exposure traumatic experience. Typically, the trauma involves a threat of death, serious injury, or sexual violence. Along with war veterans, it happens to refugees; to victims of gun violence, rape and other physical assaults; and to survivors of car accidents and natural disasters like earthquakes or tornadoes.</p><p>PTSD can also happen by witnessing trauma or its aftermath, often the case with <a href="https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/ptsd/what-is-ptsd" target="_blank">first responders</a> and <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-many-faces-anxiety-and-trauma/202006/invisible-wounds-the-frontline-heroes" target="_blank">front-line workers</a>.</p><p>All this adds up to tens of millions of Americans. Up to 30% of combat veterans and first responders, and 8% of civilians, <a href="https://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/treat/essentials/epidemiology.asp" target="_blank">fulfill the diagnostic criteria for PTSD</a>. And that criteria is not easily met: symptoms of PTSD include nightmares, flashbacks, intrusive trauma memories, difficulty sleeping, avoidance of reminders of trauma, negative emotions, and what we call "hyperarousal symptoms."</p>
Fireworks Can Trigger Flashbacks<p>Hyperarousal, a core component of PTSD, occurs when a person is hyper-alert to any sign of threat – constantly on edge, easily startled and continuously screening the environment.</p><p>Imagine, for instance, stepping down the stairs in the dark after hearing a noise; you're worried an intruder might be downstairs. Then a totally unpredictable loud sound explodes right outside your window.</p><p>For people with PTSD, that sound – reminiscent of gunfire, a thunderstorm or a car crash – <a href="https://theconversation.com/veterans-refugees-and-victims-of-war-crimes-are-all-vulnerable-to-ptsd-130144" target="_blank">can cause</a> a panic attack or trigger flashbacks, a sensory experience that makes it seem as if the old trauma is happening here and now. Flashbacks can be so severe that combat veterans may suddenly drop to the ground, the same way they would when an explosion took place in combat. Later, the experience can trigger nightmares, insomnia or worsening of other PTSD symptoms.</p><p>Those of us who set off fireworks need to ask ourselves: Are those few minutes of fun worth the hours, days, or weeks of torment that will begin for some of our friends and neighbors – including many who put their lives on the line to protect us?</p>
Who Else Is Affected?<p>Millions of others, though not diagnosed with PTSD, may similarly be affected by fireworks. <a href="https://adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/facts-statistics" target="_blank">One in five Americans</a> have an anxiety disorder, many with symptoms of hyperarousal. Also impacted are those with autism or developmental disabilities; they find it difficult to cope with the noise, or just the drastic change from life routines. Then there are people who have to work, holiday or not: nurses, physicians and first responders, who have to be up at 4 a.m. for a 30-hour shift.</p><h3>How to Reduce the Negative Impact</h3><p>There are ways to reduce how fireworks affect others:</p><ul><li>For those with PTSD, the unexpected nature of fireworks is probably the worst part. So at least make it as predictable as possible. Do it in designated areas during designated times. Don't explode one, for instance, two hours after the designated time window. And avoid setting them off <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/jul/04/fireworks-ptsd-fourth-of-july-veterans-shooting-survivors" target="_blank">on the 3rd</a>. People are less prepared then.</li><li>If you're aware that a veteran or trauma survivor lives in the neighborhood, move the noise as far as possible from their home and give them prior warning. Consider putting a sign in your front yard noting the time you'll set the fireworks.</li><li>Remember, it doesn't have to be super loud to make it fun. Consider using <a href="https://thehill.com/opinion/energy-environment/504964-its-time-for-silent-fireworks" target="_blank">silent fireworks</a>. And you don't have to be the one who lights the fireworks. Simply enjoy watching while your city or township does it safely.</li></ul>
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By Jeff Berardelli
For the past year, some of the most up-to-date computer models from the world's top climate modeling groups have been "running hot" – projecting that global warming may be even more extreme than earlier thought. Data from some of the model runs has been confounding scientists because it challenges decades of consistent projections.
International Effort to Evaluate Climate Models<p>For the past 25 years the international community has been evaluating and comparing the world's most sophisticated climate models produced by various teams at universities, research centers, and government agencies. The effort is organized by the World Climate Research Programme under the United Nations World Meteorological Organization.</p><p>Climate models are complicated computer programs composed of millions of lines of code that calculate the physical properties and interactions between the main climate forces like the atmosphere, oceans, and solar input. But models also go a lot further, incorporating other systems like ice sheets, forests, and the biosphere, to name a few. The models are then used to simulate the real-world climate system and project how certain changes, like added pollution or land-use changes, will alter the climate.</p><p>Every few years there is a new comprehensive international evaluation called the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP). In the sixth such effort, known as CMIP6 and now under way, experts are reviewing about 100 models.</p><p>Information gleaned from this effort will act as a scientific foundation for the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) next major assessment report, scheduled for release in 2021. The goal of the report – the sixth in 30 years – is to inform the international community about how much the climate has changed, and, importantly, how much change can be expected in coming decades.</p>
A Conundrum Emerges<p>Over the past year, the CMIP6 collection of models being reviewed threw researchers an unexpected curveball: a significant number of the climate model runs showed substantially more global warming than previous model versions had projected. If accurate, the international climate goals would be nearly impossible to achieve, and there would be significantly more extreme impacts worldwide.</p><p>A foundational experiment in every report addresses "sensitivity": If you double levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) that were in the air before the Industrial Revolution, how much warming do the models show? This doubling is not expected for a few more decades, but it is a quick way to communicate the critical role of greenhouse gases in changing the climate.</p><p>The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has increased by 35% since the 1800s because of the burning of fossil fuels. As a result, global temperatures have already increased by more than 2 degrees Fahrenheit.</p><p>In the first IPCC assessment report, published in 1990, the answer to that question about the impact of doubling carbon dioxide gave a fairly wide range of results – between 2.7-8 degrees F of global warming. Since then, four more assessments issued six to seven years apart reached nearly the exact same conclusion on sensitivity.</p><p>But that sensitivity may, for the first time, change significantly in next year's assessment. Why? Because starting last year, numerous models in the CMIP6 collection displayed even bigger spikes in temperature upon doubling of CO2 concentrations. We're in serious trouble if the climate sensitivity falls in the mid or upper range of the previous assessments. But if the new, higher estimates are correct, the impacts on civilization would be catastrophic.</p>
In the above CarbonBrief interactive visualization, the bars offer a comparison in the range of sensitivity in the CMIP5 models (gray) and CMIP6 models (blue).
New and Encouraging Evidence Is Emerging<p>At first, scientists were uncertain whether the new model runs were on to something, so the international modeling community dug in to produce multiple studies. The results are not yet conclusive, but a gradual collective sigh of relief seems to be materializing.</p><p>"Evidence is emerging from multiple directions that the models which show the greatest warming in the CMIP6 ensemble are likely too warm," explains Dr. Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies.</p><p>For example, <a href="https://www.earth-syst-dynam-discuss.net/esd-2020-23/" target="_blank">a study</a> released April 28 evaluated the past performance of the models making up the CMIP6 ensemble. The team assigned weights to each model based upon historical performance of their warming projections, weighing the poorer performing models less. By doing so, both the mean warming and the range of warming scenarios in the CMIP6 ensemble decreased, meaning the warmest models were the ones with weaker historical performance. This result supports a finding that a subset of the models are too warm.</p><p>That conclusion is supported by another new study evaluating one particular model – the Community Earth System Model (CESM2) – that showed greater warming. Using that model, the researchers simulated the climate in the early Eocene era, about 50 million years ago, when rainforests thrived in the Arctic and Antarctic. The CESM2 simulated a historical climate that seems way too warm compared with what is known about that era from geological data, indicating that the model is likely also too warm in its future projections.</p><p>Two other recent studies of the CMIP6 models being evaluated use clever analysis methods to <a href="https://www.google.com/url?q=https://www.earth-syst-dynam-discuss.net/esd-2019-86/&sa=D&ust=1589209938203000&usg=AFQjCNHYwFB-1KqndGfJ4sXdrrm9DpbLaQ" target="_blank">narrow the range</a> of future warming projections and also <a href="https://www.google.com/url?q=https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/6/12/eaaz9549&sa=D&ust=1589209938203000&usg=AFQjCNEhKY1YZ19qgjSZ_hJM14JmzqXOXw" target="_blank">reduce the projected warming</a> of the CMIP6 models by 10 to 15%.</p><p>Through the intensive research spurred by the CMIP6 climate-sensitivity curveball, scientists have been able to turn a confounding challenge into a confidence builder, providing even greater certainty than they had before in both the abilities of the climate science community and in the computer models used. Moreover, the experience has helped unearth uncertainties remaining in the modeling process.</p><p>Experts conclude much of this uncertainty probably lies in the complexity of clouds. "We have been looking as a community at why the models with greater warming are doing what they are doing – and it's tied to cloud feedbacks in the southern mid-latitudes mostly," explains Schmidt.</p><p>In fact, <a href="https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/6/26/eaba1981" target="_blank">a new study</a> addressing the increased sensitivity was published in Science Advances stating, "Cloud feedbacks and cloud-aerosol interactions are the most likely contributors to the high values and increased range of ECS [sensitivity] in CMIP6."</p>
Understanding the Complexity of Clouds<p>It's long been known in climate modeling circles that cloud processes and interactions are a potential weak link for climate modeling. That reality has been brought front and center by the urgent challenges posed during this CMIP6 evaluation period, but the current evaluation of models also provides an opportunity for discovery and improvement.</p><p>Cloud complexity comes from the reality that clouds have a multitude of sizes, altitudes, and textures. Some clouds cool Earth by providing shade, reflecting sunlight back into space. Others act like a blanket, trapping heat and warming the world.</p><p>Given that about <a href="https://www.nasa.gov/vision/earth/lookingatearth/icesat_light.html" target="_blank">70% of the globe</a> is covered by clouds at any given time, it's no surprise that they play an integral role in regulating the climate. The challenge is to figure out which types of clouds will increase, which will decrease, and what the net effect will be on cooling or warming as the climate changes.</p><p><a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41561-019-0310-1" target="_blank">One study</a> last year reached an alarming conclusion: Left unchecked, the release of CO2 into the atmosphere may lead to a tipping point where shallow low clouds disappear – leading to runaway, catastrophic warming of nearly 15 degrees F. While scientists see that outcome as only a remote possibility, it drives home the urgent need to better understand clouds.</p><p>"We have a saying at NOAA: It isn't rocket science – it's much, much harder than that," quips Dr. Chris Fairall, ATOMIC's lead investigator. "One of the major problems for modeling is there is not clean separation of scales." The photo below is one that Fairall took from the NOAA P-3 aircraft.</p>
Investigating the Secrets of Clouds<p>To address the urgent question about the dynamics and role of clouds in a warming world, NOAA and European partners launched their ongoing research effort unprecedented in scale. The U.S. contribution, ATOMIC – short for Atlantic Tradewind Ocean-Atmosphere Mesoscale Interaction Campaign – is an international science mission that was featured recently on "<a href="https://www.cbsnews.com/video/study-aims-to-examine-links-between-climate-change-and-clouds/" target="_blank">CBS This Morning: Saturday</a>."</p>
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