The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
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
By Genna Reed
The EPA announced last week that it is issuing a preliminary regulatory determination for public comment to set an enforceable drinking water standard to two of the most common and well-studied PFAS, PFOA and PFOS.
This decision is based on three criteria:
- PFOA and PFOS have an adverse effect on public health
- PFOA and PFOS occur in drinking water often enough and at levels of public health concern;
- regulation of PFOA and PFOS is a meaningful opportunity for reducing the health risk to those served by public water systems.
By Kieran Cooke
Driving an electric-powered vehicle (EV) rather than one reliant on fossil fuels is a key way to tackle climate change and improve air quality — but it does leave the old batteries behind as a nasty residue.
Finance ministers from the 20 largest economies agreed to add a scant mention of the climate crisis in its final communiqué in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Sunday, but they stopped short of calling it a major economic risk, as Reuters reported. It was the first time the G20 has mentioned the climate crisis in its final communiqué since Donald Trump became president in 2017.