Vegetarian and Vegan Snacks
Is it hard to rely on plants for my nutrition?
And, is it healthy?
Vegetarianism vs. Veganism
Popular trends in all realms of health and fitness right now are vegetarian and vegan snacks
. Also known as plant-based meals. Vegetarianism (in the strictest sense) refers to an eating style in which meat products such as fish, beef, or chicken are excluded, but dairy, eggs, and honey are permitted. Veganism (also in the strictest sense) refers to dietary choices that exclude all animal products (including dairy, eggs, and honey). Many people subscribe to variations of these eating styles. These eating styles replace traditional meat items with soy, nut, oat, hemp, and coconut-based products.
Advantages of plant-based nutrition
Although plant-based eating has existed for thousands of years, in recent decades, choosing this type of diet is often based on many decisions: environmental, economic, animal welfare, health, and worker rights.
Furthermore, from a health perspective, vegetarian and vegan snacks and styles of eating have been shown to decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease (the risk of a heart attack) and several cancers. In general, people tend to have better health outcomes than those whose diets are heavy on processed red meat and high-fat dairy. (Consumption of unprocessed meat and dairy from grass-fed animals is another topic.)
Don’t fret! Vegetarian and vegan snacks are abundant and easy to prepare
In addition to plant-based eating styles becoming more popular, it is getting easier to find vegan and vegetarian designated food and snack items at the store. As a result, it can be not very clear for many people who want to convert from meat-based to a more plant-based diet to prepare their food on the go. It is effortless, not very time-intensive to make your treats, and usually requires very little cooking. A favorite vegetarian bite my whole family loves is homemade graham cracker squares (from Real Simple )
Vegetarian or vegan graham cracker squares*
2 cups each chopped graham crackers
2 cups quick-cooking oats (traditional or rolled oats not recommended)
½ cup dried cranberries (or raisins or dates)
½ cup roasted peanut (or other nuts such as chopped walnuts and almonds)
¼ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
¼ tsp salt.
½ cup honey (or agave nectar for vegan option)
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup peanut butter (or other nut butter)
½ tsp vanilla
*The best thing about this recipe is you can swap out most of the ingredients to make these bars precisely to your liking
1. Mix the dry ingredients (graham crackers, oats, dried fruit, nuts, coconut, and salt) in a big bowl.
2. Bring ½ cup honey (or agave nectar) and ¼ cup brown sugar to a boil in a small pot.
3. Stir in ½ cup peanut butter and ½ tsp vanilla.
4. Stir the liquid mixture into the dry mixture and press into an 11 x 7 greased dish, and let sit until hardened before cutting into squares.
Additional real food options that make excellent vegetarian and vegan snacks for before and after exercising or just any part of the day you need a healthy pick me up:
Easy and tasty vegan snacks
- apple or banana with peanut butter
- hummus with vegetables
- black beans with avocado, salsa, and rice in a whole wheat tortilla
- baked sweet potato topped with salted edamame, add some quinoa or farro with vegan spread, or sprinkle with chia or flax
- smoothie made with a milk alternative, frozen or fresh fruit, and soy yogurt
- a small bowl of oatmeal with berries, nuts, and a sprinkle of cinnamon
Easy and tasty vegetarian bites
- small taco size tortilla with scrambled eggs and cheese is an excellent pre or post-workout mini-meal
- slice of whole-wheat toast topped with ricotta cheese, fresh fruit, and a sprinkle of nuts and cinnamon
- whole-wheat toast topped with butter, spinach, an over-easy egg and topped with sun-dried tomatoes, feta, and green onion–a great meal
Not Ready for Full-On Meatless?
If you aren’t ready to take the meatless plunge full-on, try going without for one day a week.
Meatless Mondays was a campaign started several years ago to promote the consumption of more plant-based foods. You can find ideas here:
If you’d like to Reimagine your Wellness, please schedule time with Sherri Pearson, M.S., R.D., L.N.
Dietitian Sherri Pearson provides the nutrition coaching you need to enjoy your healthy, active life to its fullest