Oreos may be vegan, but that doesn’t mean you should reach for the cookies when you need an afternoon snack. There are many healthier options that are also delicious. Here are a bunch of ideas to inspire you to stay away from the vending machine, and their associated packaging waste.
1. Nut butter apple stackFlickr/TowerGirl/CC BY 2.0
Peanut butter and apples are always a solid choice, or you can try layering this crispy fruit with almond butter or cashew butter. To make a sweet stack like one above, use an apple corer to pull out the middle and thinly slice the apple into disks. Or if you’re not feeling fancy, just chop, dip and chomp.
2. Fruit sweetened banana breadMattie Hagedorn/CC BY 2.0
This vegan recipe for banana bread has no added sugar! It’s sweetened only with the natural sugars of the banana, which are cooked down into a purée. It’s a great use for bananas that have gone brown, or the frost-burnt bananas in your freezer that never made it into a smoothie.
3. Kale chipsMargaret Badore/CC BY 3.0
Kale chips are so, so easy and so much healthier than processed potato chips! You can season them with whatever spices or herbs tickle your taste buds. Get my recipe here.
4. Pack a jar of produce
Mason jars are trendy, but they’re also a great alternative to disposable plastic baggies. For a crunchy raw snack, fill a mason jar with slices of carrots, broccoli, green beans, cucumber and baby tomatoes. It’s like a salad in a jar.
5. Fall fruit salad
Combine apples, pears and pomegranate seeds for a taste of autumn. Add a little dash of cinnamon, which has a number of health benefits. This snack also stores and travels well in a glass jar.
6. Peach and tomato salsa© Jaymi Heimbuch
If you’re looking for a snack to share, this salsa inspired by the flavors of summer may hit the spot. It’s great with chips or just a fork.
7. Vegan power puffsMattie Hagedorn/CC BY 2.0
If it’s rice crispy treats you’re craving, why not opt for a vegan alternative? This recipe for “power puffs” uses puffed millet cereal, plus healthy cranberries and seeds.
8. Trail mix
If your work day feels like a long slog, consider snacking on proteins and healthy fats to keep your energy up. You can make trail mix with any combination of nuts and dried fruit that appeals to you, or try out Jess Root’s recipe for “inspired” trail mix. Just try to go easy on the candy bits.
9. Spicy roasted chickpeas© Namely Marly
Chickpeas are an awesome source of plant protein and fiber. This recipe from Namely Marly is another great option to satisfy the craving for something spicy, salty and crunchy. In addition to being a great work-day snack, roasted chickpeas can also be served as a yummy cocktail party appetizer.
10. Homemade snack bars
It’s no longer a secret that most packaged “energy bars” and “protein bars” are really just glorified candy bars, packed with added sugar. Fortunately, the internet has plenty of healthier alternatives that you can make at home. Try these peanut oatmeal bars from our sister site MNN (contains egg) or gluten-free protein bars from Healthy Green Kitchen.
11. Whole fruit—the easiest snack of all
There are so many beautiful fruits that don’t need any prep and barely any thought, but I felt it would be remiss of me to not include them on this list. Grab whatever is in season at your local farmer’s market: apples, pears, cherry tomatoes, peaches, berries. Just do us a favor and compost any leftover cores, stems and peels.