Delicious High Protein Vegan Snacks to Keep You Energized

With our busy lives and being constantly on the move, it’s important to be able to grab a quick bite as we go about our day. For vegans that requires a little more thought as they don’t have the variety of options that omnivores do. As a vegan, one of the questions I constantly get asked is: Do I get enough protein? The answer is yes! Vegans are able to get proteins from many sources. But of course it’s good to be mindful of, especially if you are new to being vegan and are just building up your repertoire.

In this article, I’ll cover delicious and nutritious high-protein snacks that you can make from scratch or buy ready-made from the store.

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How much protein do we need?

Protein needs vary according to age and lifestyle. According to the Mayo clinic, the average sedentary adult needs 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. So, if you weigh 165 pounds, or 75 kilograms, you should consume 60 grams of protein per day.(1) The DGA (Dietary Guidelines for Americans) recommendations for males and females between the ages of 19 and 50 are 56 grams of protein for men and 46 grams for women (2).

If you’re exercising, you’re going to need more protein – approximately 1.1g to 1.5 grams of protein per weight in kilograms. For our muscles to recover and repair properly, we need amino acids, which we get from protein.

People over the age of 40-50 also need more protein to counteract muscle loss (sarcopenia) that occurs with age. They should get 1–1.2 grams per kilogram or 75–90 grams per day for a 75-kilogram person.

So, protein is an important factor to keep in mind for a healthy, balanced diet. High-protein snacks can help add to your protein total for the day.

Where do vegans get their protein?

Nuts are one source of protein for vegans.

The only difference for those on a vegan diet is that they know they have to get their sources of protein from foods other than dairy, meat, or eggs. This leads me to another question I constantly get asked a vegan – just where do you get this protein from? The good news is that there are lots of protein sources available for vegans – it’s actually quite easy to replace in a vegan diet.

Sources of plant protein for vegans:

  • Legumes – Black Beans, Peas, Lentils.
  • Nuts and seeds – Almonds, Walnuts, Pistachios, Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, Chia
  • Soy – Tofu, Tempeh, Seitan
  • Grains – Quinoa, Rice, Millet, Oats, Spelt
  • Fruits and Vegetables – Leafy greens such as Broccoli and Spinach, Kale, Sweet Potato, Banana, Kale, Avocado

High protein vegan snacks on the go

We all like to snack on the go. Whether we’re between meals or just too busy to sit down and have dinner or lunch, it’s always good to have a few alternatives to choose from. These are some options that are easy to store for those times when you just need an afternoon snack.

Nuts are always good to have available, whether by themselves or in a trail mix with some dried fruit.  The good thing about trail mix is that although you can buy it in stores, you can also make it according to your own tastes and it’s easy to make and portable.

1. Trail Mix

trail mix

Mixed nuts with raisins as Healthy Snack

The popular Power Up Trail Mix has more than 36,000 reviews on Amazon. It is a portable snack perfect for on-the-go snacking and contains almonds, cherries, raisins, pumpkin seeds, and peanuts. And with no extra sugar and low in salt, it’s also a healthy option. It has 7 grams of protein per 1/4 cup. It is Non-GMO, Vegan, Gluten Free, Keto-Friendly, Paleo-Friendly.

2. Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are a quick snack and an excellent source of magnesium, iron, and zinc, and seasoned with salt, make for a crunchy snack.

Here’s a simple roasted pumpkin seed recipe.

  1. Boil some pumpkin seeds in salted water for ten minutes.
  2. Toss them with a little olive oil, then simply season them with your favorite spice such as paprika, cumin, or some chili powder.
  3. Roast them for ten minutes in the oven.

You can do exactly the same with chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans) but to make them as crispy as possible, make sure they’re dry before going into the oven, where they should stay for about 20 minutes.

If you’d like to buy ready-made snacks to grab and go, here is a popular protein-packed snack:

Harvested For You Sprouted Pumpkin Seeds with Sea Salt get rave reviews on Amazon. They have 7 grams of protein per 1/4 cup, are non-GMO, gluten free, vegan, organic, have a low glycemic index, and are suitable for Keto and Paleo diets.

3. Chia seeds

Three-Ingredient Chia Pudding from Feel Good Foodie

Chia means ‘strength’ in the Mayan culture and with 5g in both protein content and fiber and a healthy dose of omega 3 in each serving, it’s easy to see why. It’s such a versatile little seed that because of its neutral flavor can be included in everything from muffins, yogurts, and granola.

Chia Seed Pudding

Why not pick up some chia seeds and try this simple Three-Ingredient Chia Pudding recipe from Feel Good Foodie? This recipe gets 5 star reviews from over 14,000 people who’ve made it!

You just need chia seeds, almond milk, and honey (or maple syrup). You can also add any fruit you like.

 

 

 

4. Chickpeas

Crispy roast chickpeas recipe from Love & Lemons.

Chickpeas are a favorite of vegans everywhere, and with a whopping 39 grams of protein per cup, it’s easy to see why they’re one of the best high-protein vegan snacks to buy. And just like with pumpkin seeds above, roasted chickpeas are a crispy protein-packed snack.

Check out this recipe for Crispy Roasted Chickpeas from Love & Lemons. You can snack on these on their own or add them to salads or other dishes.

If you’re looking for something ready-made, HIPPEAS Organic Chickpea Puffs + Vegan White Cheddar  are satisfyingly crunchy puffs that have 4 grams of protein per ounce. They are vegan, gluten-free, organic, non-GMO.

Hummus

hummus vegetables snackHummus is made with chickpeas and is a versatile snack that can be enjoyed in various ways. One of my favorite snacks is to munch on some fruits and veggies with a little hummus. You can buy hummus online in the organic original plain flavor or get a bit adventurous with this Jalapeño flavor that goes well with tortilla chips.

If you have just a few minutes, hummus is easy to make with a few simple ingredients:

  1. Blitz a can of chickpeas in a food processor, add some olive oil, a clove of garlic, and some lemon juice.
  2. Include some tahini for some added smoothness and texture.
  3. Voila!

Enjoy some hummus with celery or carrot for a crunchy nutritious high-protein vegan snack that’s easy to eat on the move. One of my recent favorites is thinly sliced baked sweet potato, which is high in fiber, vitamin b6, and antioxidants. Other crunchy vegetable choices include Bell peppers and cauliflower. 


Vegan Protein Snacks You Can Buy Ready-Made

Everyone has their favorite local organic food store to buy healthy snacks, and most have a good nut and dried fruit section. But the larger retailers have expanded their selection and there’s quite a range of high-protein vegan snacks online.

5. Vegan Jerky

This selection of vegan jerky from Primal spirit has been voted best snack by both PETA and Vegnews and comes in six classic flavors, including Texas BBQ and Mesquite lime. A single serving contains 10g of protein and as a low-fat, high-energy snack it’s perfect for hiking and biking.


6. Hazelnut and almond butter / Dark Chocolate

Another product beloved by active vegans is Hazelnut and Almond butter, which contains 6g of protein per serving. Healthy, creamy, and fresh, this is perfect when combined with low-carb crackers. Or if you have a sweet tooth and are feeling indulgent, why not combine it with a bar of fair trade-approved dark chocolate?


7. Non-Dairy Plain Yogurts

Cashew yogurt

Cashew yogurt

An inexpensive but nutritious and protein-packed option is non-dairy plain yogurts, of which there are many varieties available in stores everywhere. This Cashewmilk unsweetened yogurt is perfect for adding hemp or pumpkin seeds for a boost of protein. Add some berries for extra flavor and a refreshing fruity boost, or some plant-based protein powder.

8. Edamame beans

Another snack that I have noticed appearing more recently on the shelves of supermarkets has been edamame beans, which is an immature soybean, cooked in the pod (which you don’t eat). Low in sugar, they also have 11g of protein per 100g. Again, you can roast them or eat them raw.

9. Popcorn

popcorn

Popcorn gets an honorable mention as a snack with some protein

Popcorn is a wonderfully satisfying vegan snack and there are a variety of brands you can find at the store and online including this white cheddar popcorn which contains no sugar or artificial ingredients. While popcorn is not the highest protein snack on this list, 1 ounce (about 3.5 cups) does deliver about 4 grams of protein. If you’re making popcorn at home, you could add a small amount of sugar or salt, but why not get a bit more creative and add other seasonings such as cinnamon or a touch of maple syrup?

As with all the items listed, it’s always best to have a look at the ingredients on the products. Keep an eye out for gums, starches, and a high amount of sugar and processed ingredients. It’s easy to be a junk food vegan.

High protein vegan post-workout snacks

10. Vegan Protein bars

Protein bars are a great option for refueling after a workout and are a portable snack, easy to store in your bag. This coconut chocolate and almond organic plant-based protein bar contains 14g of protein, and is also low in sugar, which is something you should remain aware of when buying protein bars.


Make Your Own Protein Bars

You can make homemade protein bars according to your own tastes, thus avoiding too much sugar and preservatives. Here are two delicious recipes to try out:

Homemade Vegan Protein Bars (no bake) from Healthy Girl Kitchen – make chewy, fruity, and nutritious coconut and chocolate bars in just ten minutes.

Vegan Protein Bars from Feel Good Foodie – made using peanut butter, dates and rolled oats for a protein punch.

11. Rice Cakes

Rice cakes, such as these whole grain brown rice cakes, are popular post-workout snacks, but because they only contain about 8g of protein per serving, they are even better with some peanut butter and banana slices for an extra boost.


12. Post-Workout Smoothies

post-workout smoothie

Post-workout smoothie recipe from Simple Vegan Blog

Of course, one of the most popular high-protein vegan post-workout snacks is the smoothie. You can add lots of different healthy ingredients based on your tastes, but for added protein intake you can use plant-based vegan protein powder.

Smoothies are easy to make, and you decide on the ingredients. You can throw in frozen fruit, some greens, hemp seeds, coconut water or almond milk, or whatever strikes your fancy that day.

Here are two yummy post workout smoothie recipes:

Post-Workout Smoothie with bananas, strawberries and peanut butter – from Simple Vegan Blog

Everyday Post-Workout Smoothie with avocado, apple, spinach and chia seeds – from North South Blonde

 

 

 

 

Low-fat, high-protein vegan snacks

While some healthy fat is good for you (like olive oil), some people like to try to eat a low fat diet. Most of the snacks we’ve mentioned so far are naturally low in fat. Most fruits (besides avocado and coconut) are low in fat, and vegetables, beans (besides soybeans), grains, celery stalks, and protein shakes have almost none. Rice cakes and rice crackers are also low in fat. These are all good low-fat options for keeping the hunger pangs at bay.

13. Oat and banana cookies

Everyone likes cookies, and I like to occasionally make a batch as a great snack.

  • Mash a banana with a fork, then add oats, peanut or almond nut butters and mold them into a cookie shape.
  • Add a little cinnamon or nutmeg depending on your tastebuds then bake them in the oven for 15-20 minutes.

These are easy to store and a tasty low-fat vegan delicious snack on the move. I have been known to have a couple of these as a convenient snack for breakfast if I’m late and dashing out the door.

Vegan protein snacks recipe books

Of course, the key to having an availability of snacks as you go about your day is preparation, so it’s a good idea to invest in a recipe book. The great thing about prepping is that you can save money and time by combining ingredients in your snacks over a couple of days.

Vegan Meal Prep: Ready-to-Go Meals and Snacks for Healthy Plant-Based Eating has over 70 recipes, giving you plenty of options for healthy snacking. From a tofu and spinach scramble to kale chips, there should be something to suit every vegan’s taste.

Clean Snacks: Paleo Vegan Recipes with Keto Options has some great sweet snack ideas, including orange coconut macaroons and toasted coconut chips. There are lots of other vegan recipe books available, and there are lots on Instagram and YouTube to follow as well.


Preparing in advance to have vegan protein snacks ready

The majority of snacks available for vegans tend to be low in calories and fairly nutritional. Of course, there may be times when you desire something more savory or sweet, but you can still keep to unprocessed natural ingredients.

Preparation is key when it comes to having a range of vegan protein snacks available, but even if you haven’t had time there should be enough options in retail stores to keep the hunger pains at bay until your next meal.

Hopefully, this article has shown you that it’s just as easy to snack on a plant-based diet from enough vegan protein sources while remaining conscious of your healthy eating choices and environmental concerns.

Happy snacking!

 


References:

  1. https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/are-you-getting-too-much-protein
  2. https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/sites/default/files/2020-12/Dietary_Guidelines_for_Americans_2020-2025.pdf (page 133)
  3. https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/health-benefits-chickpeas
Adrian McGahan

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