But first, a bit of definition: "Free foods," in my opinion, are those that have 25 calories or less per reasonable serving. "Almost free foods" have 25 to 60 calories per reasonable serving. Portion control is key here. While 2 cups of popped, 94% fat-free microwave popcorn may contain only 40 calories, if you eat the entire bag you'll end up with closer to 200 calories -- definitely not an "almost free" food situation.
It's easy enough to find vegan snacks; after all, things like store-bought hummus, fruit, and some crackers come that way naturally. But when a real craving hits, we tend to want something packed with tons of flavor—like a sweet-and-sour eggplant caponata for dipping, a batch of hearty homemade Wheat Thins, or a piece of avocado toast that's gussied up with sweet baby peas and spicy radishes. Because there's a time and a place for everything, including junky snacks, we also have recipes for saucy Korean-style fried cauliflower and fully loaded nachos covered in a vegan queso-style sauce. Keep reading for 18 of our favorite vegan snacks that will fend off any attack.
Making homemade potato chips is surprisingly easy—just slice the potatoes thin, boil them in vinegar-spiked water, and fry until crispy. The vinegar keeps the chips from getting too dark as they fry. All of our custom potato chip seasonings are vegan, and this one, despite the name, is no exception. Savory nutritional yeast helps mimic the taste of the roasted bird; we grind it up along with granulated garlic, lemon zest, dried thyme, and dried mushrooms to round out the flavors, then toss the spice blend with freshly fried chips to coat.
This fresh seasonal salad is ridiculously easy to put together and quite versatile. Serve our suggested amount as a side salad with grilled steak, chicken, or fish, or eat a double portion as a main dish. You can also stick with the serving size listed here and add canned oil-packed tuna or sliced rotisserie chicken breast for a filling lunch. Leftovers fare well as is, tucked into tacos, or added to whole-grain salad bowls.
Now that's an ingredient list we love looking at when we're picking our favorite healthy snacks to buy. Every bag of Skinny Dipped Almonds contains almonds, chocolate, organic maple sugar, sea salt, cocoa powder, and real powdered flavor (either espresso beans or dried raspberries)—none of that "natural flavor" stuff! Skip out on sketchy snacks to have this sweet treat instead.
For a savory snack under 60 calories, spread 1 tablespoon of low-fat cream cheese onto a slice of smoked salmon (lox) and roll it up. This salmon pinwheel is high in protein and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, though the salt used to cure the salmon boosts the sodium content. Use a little less cream cheese and you can have two pinwheels for under 100 calories.