24 Tasty, Healthy Vegetarian Snack Ideas

If you still haven't tried roasted chickpeas, do it now and thank us later.

Post written by Susan Lacke.

When I was a kid, I always swore that when I grew up my days would be filled with snack time and recess.

Twenty years later, though I still won’t admit to being a grown-up, I will say I’ve managed to make my childhood dream come true: life as a triathlete provides me with plenty of time playing in the water, riding my bike, or running around.

And the best part? The active lifestyle is one which definitely favors lots of snacking.

Workouts lead to busy days, and snacks are a natural fit to fill the gaps between meals. If you’re heading to the pool after work, for example, dinner afterwards can seem like a long way off if your stomach hasn’t been filled since lunch. And as athletes, of course, we need more calories and nutrients than the average person does, so snacks allow us to fulfill those needs without taking too much time to prepare or eat.

But if you’re vegetarian or vegan, you know how hard it can be to find a variety of snacks — questions about snacking are posted at least weekly on the NMA Facebook page. So many lament on the uninspired options available for vegetarians and vegans … sure, there are days when we’re cool with baby carrots and pretzels, but we can only take so much. When we come in from recess, dammit, we want some tasty treats!

24 ways to avoid the vending machine

Though the snacks served by machines may be convenient, the veg options are often lacking in the nutrients you need. They’re also not the best sources of energy required for your workout. Prep some of these ahead of time (Sunday afternoon is a great time to do this!), and keep them on hand for noshing:

1. Basic baked kale chips or almond crunch kale chips

2. Roasted chickpeas

3. Sweet or savory hummus

4. Baba ganoush

5. Veggies with green herb & yogurt dip

6. Herbed cashews

7. Popcorn or kettle corn

8. Guacamole

9. Homemade energy bars or granola bars

10. Homemade granola

11. Chipotle black bean dip

12. Miniature soft pretzels with peanut butter or mustard

13. Smoothies, like a homemade superfood concoction or my favorite, the mango-lime hot pepper smoothie from Thrive

14. Fresh fruit and vegetable juice blends

15. Raw frozen banana truffles

16. Cashew hemp bars (like homemade Larabars)

And if you don’t have time to make your snacks yourself, here are a few ready-made snacks that get the NMA thumbs-up:

17. Food Should Taste Good chips (especially the sweet potato!)

18. Bearded Bros. raw energy bars

19. Mary’s Gone Crackers gluten-free and vegan crackers

20. Health Warrior chia energy bars

21. We Can’t Say It’s Cheese spreads and dips

22. CLIF Builder and Mojo bars (check ingredients, as not all are vegan)

23. Starbucks Sesame Noodles Bistro Box

24. Unique sprouted-grain pretzel splits

Be ready in a pinch

Far be it from me to criticize people who would rather watch football on a Sunday afternoon than cook a bunch of snacks for the week. I’m right there on the couch with ya.

However, if you don’t take the time to stock your pantry and fridge with healthy options, you’ll be buying a questionable-looking bag of god-knows-what at the convenience store … or, worse, spending ten dollars for a banana at Starbucks. And keep a snack stash in your car and your office for emergencies. (Yes, hunger is always an emergency in my book. Isn’t it in everyone’s?)

Do you have a favorite snack that I left out? Let us know in the comments below, and feel free to include a link to a favorite vegetarian or vegan snack recipe on your own blog.

Susan Lacke is the Resident Triathlete at No Meat Athlete, and the resident cupcake eater at her house. She also writes a weekly humor column, called Out There, for Competitor Online.



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  1. I see a lot of great recipes out there and great ideas, especially for on-the-go energy food.
    One problem- most of them contain oats and I am oat intolerant.
    Any ideas or suggestions for good oat-free energy food or energy bars that I can use when I am training??

  2. guacamole … be still my beating heart 😉

  3. I can be found spreading nut butter and honey on a rice cracker with a sliced banana on top sprinkled with cinnamon.

    A mashed sweet potato that is combined with homemade guacamole always works for me as well.

  4. Hunger is definitely an emergency. When I’m hungry, I’m moody, irrational, and impulsive. Screaming matches have occurred, before I realised this, and took better steps to avoid it.

    Also, when I was testing the waters on veganism, hunger was the one thing that could get me to eat something vegetarian instead.

  5. I absolutely love your snack recipes. Thanks for posting and please keep them up so we can check back often!

  6. Star Waters says:

    ‘Ask and it is given!’ I had just ‘put’ it out on a vegan support page, as to what to snack on as a vegan, and some kind angel shared this article with me! I have so many ideas…. healthy choices now. Thank you for sharing and enlightening. I will seek more information from you as well. This was very well done!

  7. Hmm those Roasted Chickpeas sounds great!

    I am home today and my English football sorry soccer team are playing, I think these will beat the heck out of buffalo wings and chips 😉

  8. Unknownsuperpi says:

    Raw Almonds with golden currants and cinnamon shaken up and eaten!

  9. These chickpeas are in the oven… instead of the gooey brownies I had set out to find in my Reader. Thanks NMA!

  10. I am so making those chickpeas today—Genius. Thanks for sharing my Almond Crunch Kale Chips recipe too! What a fantastic roundup…

  11. I am obsessed with kettle corn – I probably eat it every day! I also like the Bhuja Nut mix – perfectly spice!

  12. Celery with peanut butter or apple with sunflower butter are two of my favorites! I love anything sweet and made with dates too- check out my Mocha Quinoa Brownie recipe at http://rinutritionhousecalls.com/?p=889

  13. Y’all are making me hungry!!

  14. Yum. Had to click on half those recipes… adding to my huge bookmarked list of recipes to make 😉

  15. Sweet hummus…this has opened up a whole new genre of eating for me! I love experimenting with hummus but I’m yet to try sweet. I’m stoked. Also can’t wait to try the roasted chickpeas.

  16. Coconut-rolled dates!
    (with a cup of tea)

    • jwoolman says:

      Michelle- coconut rolled dates with a small Brazil nut stuffed inside! Or peanut butter in a pinch… That’s what the hole is for.

  17. Love to snack on FROZEN GRAPES

  18. those roasted chick peas sound a lot like one of my favorite vegan vending machine staples (when in desperation at the hospital late nights, vending machines are the only option) — CORN NUTS! true, they’re not always the healthiest, and i think only the original, non-flavored variety are vegan, but they provide me with tasty crunchy salty treat!

  19. Mmmm, baba ganoush never gets old for me.

  20. baba ganoush, never think of that!!! great idea.

  21. TheCatFromOuterSpace says:

    Although I’m rarely super organised, one thing I do when I have a spare half hour is fry up a bunch of falafel balls (I cheat, I use the packet mix, rather than make them from scratch). It’s quite easy to make up 20 or so, which gets my partner and I through the working week.

    I also make up a bunch of hummus every 2 weeks or so to go with them. It’s super easy… just remember to blend the lemon juice and tahini before you put in the chickpeas. The combo of hummus and falafel is a complete protein, so is a good way of topping-up your protein intack. It’s also filling and (most importantly) tasty.

  22. Rhianna A.L. says:

    Halva, sesame bars, peanut brittle, dark chocolate, crisps (chips), fruit leather, popcorn and proper pretzels (the ones that are doughy and freshly made with a sprinkling of cinnamonomonom). :p

  23. Great recipe’s! Will be trying them all out in the near future and will report back with the verdict 😛

  24. i love eating unsalted walnuts at snack time or with breakfast. Peanut butter on whole grain bread or whole grain crackers is yummy too.

  25. I’m new to this , thou veggies have always been big in my diet . So many things I can’t eat due to intolerance . But my fave little snack is gf wrap with organic peanut butter and alfalfa sprouts. Yum

  26. Yes! Finally, I found a vegetarian website for athletes!! Thank you!

  27. Stephanie Diersing says:

    Just my two cents: roasted chick peas are awesome (but not too many if you have a board meeting the next day – they are a form of beans after all), hummus and guacamole are great for veggie dips, and air popped popcorn is delicious in moderation. But I question the Cliff Bars. 28g of sugar! I prefer Pure Protein bars which aren’t vegan, just vegetarian, but only have 6g per bar and 200 calories. Peanut butter crunch is the best.
    Thanks for sharing all the deliciousness! 🙂

  28. If you’ve never tried the combo of a banana with pecans you owe it to yourself. Somehow they intensify each other’s flavors with a quick punch of lasting energy.

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