Vegans don’t have to feel deprived. In fact, they shouldn’t. There are plenty of vegan snacks and meals to satisfy every palate, and it all starts with fresh, whole foods.
Hunger can strike at any time of day, and if you want to sustain your energy for whatever tasks await you, vegan snacks can become your hero. Since you have to be careful about what you eat, planning is essential to successful vegan snacking.
The important thing is to make sure that your vegan snacks give you the fuel you need to get through your day. One’s nutritional needs vary depending on their lifestyle choices. For instance, if you’re an athlete and work out every day, you’ll need carbs as well as protein to maintain your energy level and build more muscle.
It’s not as complicated as it sounds, though. You’ll likely find a few vegan snacks that you can use as staples, whether you’re eating at your desk at work or grabbing a cup of something yummy for the road.
Common Questions About Vegan Snacks
There are lots of misconceptions out there about what really constitutes a vegan snack. Many processed foods, for instance, contain animal by-products even though they don’t seem to.
For instance, did you know that white sugar contains animal bones or that a lot of refried beans contain pork fat? These sneaky animal by-products make their way into some of the most popular snack foods and snack food ingredients, so you have to be careful and find foods you love that don’t have any non-vegan ingredients.
Fortunately, if you stick to whole foods, you’ll likely be safe. For instance, the orange juice you buy at the grocery store might contain fish oil, but if you squeeze your own orange juice at home, you won’t have to worry.
Additionally, some popular snack foods have vegan alternatives. While you don’t want to eat too many processed foods, sometimes you have to choose what’s fast and easy over what’s healthiest for your body.
Let’s look at some of the most common questions about vegan snacks.
Are Pretzels Vegan?
There are lots of different types of pretzels — both soft and hard — and the good news is that most pretzel snacks are vegan. You can grab a bag of twisted or stick pretzels without any guilt, or grab a soft pretzel to enjoy with your favorite hummus dip.
The only time a pretzel isn’t vegan is when it’s made with butter or other animal by-products. Steer clear of pretzels made with added fats or flavors. Of course, you can always make your own pretzels if you want complete control over the ingredients.
Can Vegans Eat Fries?
French fries are typically vegan snacks, but only if they’re fried in oil that doesn’t contain any animal fat. For instance, Chick-Fil-A waffle fries are vegan because they’re fried in peanut oil, but that isn’t the case at every fast food or dine-in restaurant.
Many vegans refuse to eat French fries because they know the friers are used to fry animal-based foods as well. If a restaurant uses the same fryer for French fries and chicken nuggets, are the fries vegan?
The answer is split between different vegans. Many will argue that the fries are no longer are vegan as they become fused with chicken-soaked oil. Other vegans will argue that they are vegan because the fries themselves don’t contain meat.
This will depend on each and every vegan out there as to how they themselves define veganism.
If you do love fries and want to continue eating them without risking cross-contamination, there are solutions.
You can make your own fries at home that are not only vegan but also healthier. Bake sliced potatoes instead of frying them in oil, for instance, or use an air fryer. They often come out crispier because they aren’t soaked in oil.
If you’re really health-conscious, you can make your own fries using healthier foods than potatoes. For instance, zucchini fries are both delicious and healthful. Just make sure you use vegan breadcrumbs.
Are Chips Vegan?
There’s good news and bad news here. When you’re looking for vegan snacks, chips offer a convenient solution. However, not all chips are vegan. Barbecue-flavored chips are among the worst culprits because they contain chicken fat.
You can, however, safely eat Fritos and certain other chips. Read the labels at the supermarket to make sure the ingredients list doesn’t include any animal by-products. Alternatively, consider making your own. Baked chips are healthier and often crisper. You can make chips from potatoes, kale, and many other vegetables.
What Are the Easiest Vegan Snacks?
The easiest vegan snacks to consume don’t require silverware and can be eaten on a grab-and-go basis. If you focus on healthy options, you’ll avoid packing on pounds while you satiate your hunger.
Individually packed bags of nuts can be an awesome vegan snack, especially if you’re on the road. Just make sure they don’t have any sneaky animal by-products in them, as is often the case with imported salted nuts. Ditch the salter variety and go with the plain-jane versions.
Other easy vegan snacks include homemade trail mix, raw vegetables with hummus or other vegan-friendly dips, sweet potato chips, and crackers with your favorite nut butter. Just because you choose not to consume animal by-products doesn’t mean you have to go hungry.
How Often Should You Snack?
Snacking can be part of a healthful diet, especially if you do so strategically. For instance, some people eat extremely light meals and snack in between. They’re getting sufficient calories and spreading out their meals over more occasions.
If you eat large meals, however, you’ll want to limit your vegan snacks to one or two per day and in small quantities. A handful of nuts or grapes, for instance, should curb your hunger until your next meal.
Best Vegan Snacks for Energy
If you’re facing a mid-afternoon slump, you need a snack that will give you a burst of energy. Vegan snacks that combine protein and carbohydrates can be just the thing you need to jumpstart the rest of your day.
Try dipping your favorite nuts in hummus or smearing nut butter on apple slices. Berries can also give you extra energy when you need it most, though they’re not as portable as other types of vegan snacks.
When you need energy, avoid overeating. You want just enough food to wake yourself up and infuse your system with calories. If you go overboard, you risk making yourself lethargic for the rest of the day.
Best Vegan Snacks for Satiation
If you feel like you could eat an entire meal, look for complex vegan snacks. Vegan granola bars, vegan energy bars, and vegan trail mix are all excellent options because they leave you feeling full and satisfied.
Since many of these foods aren’t vegan when you buy them in the grocery store, consider making your own and freezing them. In the morning, grab some out of the freezer to take with you to work or wherever your day takes you.
Cooking vegan snacks for yourself also gives you more control over calories. Even though you might be hungry, you don’t want to consume too many calories, especially in the form of carbs. Protein-rich vegan snacks offer the best bang for your caloric buck.
Best Vegan Snacks for Kids
Some kids are notoriously hard to please, while others will eat anything you put in front of them. One way to make vegan snacks more palatable is to have some fun with the presentation.
The classic “ants on a log” snack is a great choice for vegan kids. Smear nut butter onto celery sticks, then line up goji berries, cranberries, or other similar fruits to resemble the ants.
Many kids also love vegan trail mix and vegan cereal. Don’t reach for the Lucky Charms — they aren’t vegan — but instead, stick to whole-grain cereals without sugary additions.
Kids sometimes love veggies and dip. The vegetables provide them with much-needed nutrients, while various dips give them calories to fuel them for the day. This is a great choice for an after-school snack that everyone can enjoy together.
Best Vegan Snacks for Athletes
Athletes have unique caloric requirements, especially when it comes to distributing macros. It’s a myth that people who lead active lives should stay away from carbs. In fact, carbohydrates are essential for providing the energy needed to run, swim, bike, play sports, or lift weights in the gym.
Salads are actually great vegan snacks for athletes. Since people who expend a lot of energy have higher caloric needs, they can eat larger snacks without gaining weight. Adding fruits as well as vegetables to salads will provide that carb boost during slump times.
Whole fruit is also a great choice. Biting into an apple, for instance, provides satisfaction, and the fruit provides carbs. Other fruits, from pineapple and berries to jackfruit, are great go-to choices.
Other options include pretzels, vegan jerky, and crackers with nut butter. Consider mixing a handful of nuts with dried fruit when you need an energy boost before a workout.
Best Vegan Snacks for a Sedentary Lifestyle
If you spend most of your day parked behind a computer, you don’t burn as many calories as more active adults. Consequently, your caloric needs decline, and even vegan snacks can result in weight gain.
Try toast points with pesto and leafy greens to keep the calories down while providing satiation. You could also munch on almonds, which are highly satisfying without deluging you with calories. In fact, nearly all nuts are good vegan snacks for sedentary individuals.
Carrots and celery with nut butter or hummus might also do the trick. Just make sure to limit the amount of nut butter you consume. Instead of scooping up a big glob, just lightly dip your veggies to reduce calories without limiting satiation.
How to Know Whether a Snack Is Vegan
Vegans are fantastic label-readers. They know that animal by-products can be snuck into foods quite easily, so they don’t take anything at face value. You’ll learn this skill, as well, as you practice reading labels and familiarizing yourself with “safe” foods.
One way to know that you’re only consuming vegan snacks is to stick with whole foods. There’s no way that the apple you pick up at the local farmer’s market contains animal by-products, so you can consume it without worry or guilt.
If you must buy packaged or processed foods, read the ingredients list carefully. You’re looking for anything that might have an animal by-product in it.
The best vegan snacks are the ones you’ll reliably eat. If you identify them in advance, you won’t feel any anxiety when you’re hungry all of a sudden and need sustenance right away.
Grabbing Vegan Snacks on the Go
Planning becomes essential if you want to ward off hunger while you’re on the go. We’re all busy people, and we don’t always have time to run home, make a bowl of vegan trail mix, and return to our day.
With that said, you can get away with packaged foods on occasion. No vegan is perfect, and as long as you’re reading labels and selecting mostly healthy choices, you’ll keep yourself on target. Or maybe you’re craving a bag of salty pretzels. Why deny yourself that pleasure?
As mentioned above, making vegan snacks like granola bars and energy bars in bulk can save you time later on. Refrigerating or freezing them makes them easy to grab when you don’t have much time, and they can stay fresh for longer periods of time.
Stock your pantry and fridge with the vegan snacks you enjoy most, always with the goal of making your diet as healthy as possible. Vegans need to be mindful of healthy eating more than other folks because they need to make sure they’re getting sufficient vitamins, minerals, and macros.
Vegan snacks aren’t as elusive as you might think. After you have a few months of veganism under your belt, you’ll feel more confident about choosing snacks and meals that align with your values.
The meat industry doesn’t thank you, but the animals do.
Everyone has different priorities when it comes to snack foods. Some of us want the easiest, most convenient solution, while others want the most customized option. The vegan snacks you eat can also depend on how you spend your days. If you don’t have access to a climate-controlled area, for instance, you’ll need snacks that aren’t temperature sensitive.
The most important thing is to keep your fridge and pantry stocked so you don’t feel deprived. If you’re hungry, eat.
What’s your favorite vegan snack?
Sentient Media editorial team.