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Sometimes it’s hard making sure you eat throughout the day. Whether you are busy, working, have a mental illness, hate food prep, or are just lazy (not judgements, I can be), it can be a challenge.
Let me take a moment to address why I mentioned mental illness. My husband suffers from bipolar disorder. As anyone with a mental illness, cognitive impairment, or is a partner/caretaker of someone with such a condition can understand, it can be really fucking hard making sure your dietary needs are met. When just getting out of bed is a regular challenge, preparing food for yourself doesn’t rank high up there in the list of priorities. But it is a priority to make sure you are eating regularly, even more so when you have depression, bipolar, are in chronic pain, or suffer from any of the other number of conditions that make it hard just to get through the day. So, having things around that are super simple to just grab and eat is imperative.
That’s why I wanted to compile a list of my favorite go-to vegan snacks that are cheap, easy, and satisfying. Most of these require little to no prep (because who feels like it, really?). These are meant to make your life easier and help you feel full and keep your energy up throughout the day.
16 Low-Effort Easy Vegan Snacks
1. Hummus with Veggies or Crackers
Check store-bought crackers as sometimes you may find honey or the dreaded “milk powder” in some. Yes, being vegan makes you a pro at reading labels.
2. Sliced Apples and Peanut Butter
Or, use any other nut butter. I cannot express enough how delicious this combo is. (Try this easy homemade peanut butter recipe.) Making your own is simple and saves money. In it’s simplest form, all you literally need are peanuts (or other dried, roasted nuts) and a food processor.
Want even more low maintenance? Grab a spoon and eat a scoop or two of peanut butter right out of the jar. I won’t tell.
3. Nuts and Seeds
Enjoy raw, or you can easily roast them in the oven, or even make candied nuts for a treat. If going with raw only, try a variety to keep from getting bored. I love Brazil nuts and pecans. My husband eats heaping amounts of almonds on the regular.
If you garden, save the seeds from pumpkins and squashes, dry, and roast. (Or, feed them raw to chickens. Mine go nuts over them…no pun intended.)
Check out Whole Foods or your local wholesaler or co-op to buy in bulk and save.
4. Fresh Fruit
My favorites are bananas, berries, grapes, clementines, apples, and whatever is in season. Nectarines, peaches, plums, apricots, and cherries are summer faves. Cherries can get really pricey though, so check for sales. Anything I can grab and eat = 100% win.
5. Fresh Veggies
As mentioned you can enjoy these with hummus or dips or just eat raw. Some easy favorites of mine are carrots, cucumbers, bell peppers, radishes, peas (snow or sugar snap), cherry/grape tomatoes, and jicama (this one also is amazing in a homemade coleslaw).
I know you either love ’em or hate’ em. I love them, so the two exclamation points were necessary. If you feel the same, then stock up! The cheaper canned ones are fine, but the flavor is not as good IMO. Mezzeta is a good brand that’s still pretty inexpensive and well worth the extra change.
7. Vegan cheese
There are plenty that come in spreadable form for crackers, or you can get the block style ones and slice up. (The Daiya Farmhouse Style Cheese Block – Jalapeno Havarti is one of my faves and is reasonably priced.) Store-bought vegan cheeses can be more expensive depending on the brand, so to stretch them, serve with crackers, olives, veggies, and anything else you want. My favorite store-bought spreadable cheeses are Miyoko’s and Nuts for Cheese. They are both pricey, but as mentioned you can make them last by combining with other snacks. Or, you can make your own cultured vegan cheese. It’s actually easier than you might think. For most you just need some probiotics, raw cashews, and a few other basic ingredients, plus some kitchen equipment you likely already have like a food processor.
8. Rice, Barely, Farro, or Other Grains
Okay usually I only “snack” on these when I have some extra around from a recipe, but it can be so filling and satisfying to have a steaming bowl of rice (or whatever) with a little vegan butter or extra virgin olive oil and hot sauce or homemade buffalo sauce. (I’m not pretending this is the most healthy of choices.) Add some sliced scallions or chives to dress it up if you feel like it. My favorites are wild rice, sushi rice, and farro.
9. Beans or Chickpeas
Another vegan staple that you can thoroughly enjoy with a little seasoning and evoo. Chickpeas are also SO good roasted with a little salt, pepper, evoo, and cayenne.
10. Homemade Larabars
Ever check out the label on a Larabar? They’re made with minimal ingredients, and you can easily replicate them yourself inexpensively. I’ve made my own coconut variety and they were amazing. Here’s the recipe I used. To make your own, you just need a food processor, dates, nuts, and your additions of choice (whether it be shredded coconut, lemon, dried fruits, etc). You can also opt to take your ingredients and roll them into small bites.
I never tried dates until going vegan. I wish I had tried them sooner, and possibly my favorite food that veganism led me to. They are magical. All you need is a couple to get a nice sugar fix and energy boost. You can get these sliced and pitted at your local grocery store, or, spring for some Medjool dates if you can. They are so lush.
Make some avocado toast, or enjoy it by itself with a squeeze of lime, salt, pepper, and cayenne. You can also add some sprouts or greens of choice on top.
Or, combine with beans and/or rice/other grains.
You can pick these up in the frozen section of most grocery stores. Some brands can be a bit expensive, so keep that in mind and check around if cost is an issue. You can get them shelled if you prefer. I like the ones still in the pods because you can quickly boil them, then salt, and suck them out of the pods. It’s really satisfying and a whole experience.
I’m not talking about the shitty microwave stuff… Get the plain, un-popped, corn kernels that come in a bag. You do not need an air-popper to make it either!
Simply add a small amount of oil to coat the bottom of a pan or pot (cast iron especially works great), and add a single kernel to the middle and cover with a lid. Once that kernel pops you know your pan is hot enough. Add more kernels in a single layer across the bottom of the pan. It won’t look like much, but trust me, it ends up expanding a lot. Plus, if you add too much you risk it burning.
Cover, shake periodically, and wait until most have popped. Remove from heat and add whatever topping you want: a little melted vegan butter, olive oil, seasonings like salt, pepper, and rosemary, cayenne pepper, whatever. Or, go for a sweet and salty combo by adding salt and a little organic sugar (regular white sugar is not always vegan) or drizzle of maple syrup or agave.
Smoothies don’t have to be this big ordeal. You don’t have to look up complex recipes or include every fruit or veggie under the sun. Pick a few fruits/veggies you love and are easy/cheap to just throw in a blender such as avocados, bananas, spinach, kale, or other leafy greens (fresh or frozen), and frozen berries. You can add some vegan protein powder too if that’s you thing. Blend with water or plant-based milk and you’re good to go. You can bottle them up and store in the fridge for a quick grab-n-go breakfast/snack.
For a to-die-for dessert type smoothie, combine a few tablespoons of peanut butter, 1-2 bananas, plant-based milk of your choosing, and cocoa powder. Trust me, you’ll be hooked. (If you have the energy, making your own homemade almond milk or other PB milk to save some $$.)
Store-bought yogurt can get expensive if you buy a lot of it, so I recommend getting the bigger tubs over the little cups—less waste and typically less sugar because the bigger containers tend to be plain/unsweetened, which is my go-to. You can add granola, maple syrup, fresh or frozen berries, sliced bananas, chia seeds, or whatever else you want as a topping. My current favorite is SO Delicious Unsweetened Vanilla Coconutmilk Yogurt. If you want to venture into the land of homemade vegan yogurt, there are plenty of recipes out there too.