This portable, affordable protein is a must-eat for anyone looking to lose a few. Why? Canned tuna is a prime source of a specific omega-3 fatty acid, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which has been shown to "turn off" fat genes in the abdomen, preventing belly fat cells from growing larger. To keep calories to a minimum, skip the mayo and instead add a few cranks of ground pepper, a splash of balsamic vinegar and serve the fish over a bed of greens—super filling, yet low-cal.
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.
If you're sacrificing snacks to cut calories, stop—to lose weight, you need snacks. "Snacking is an opportunity to fuel your body between meals," says nutritionist Rania Batayneh, author of The One One One Diet. Healthy snacks ensure you won't be ravenous come mealtime and keep your fat-burning metabolism revved up. Here are 21 nutritionist-approved choices for both store-bought and make-your-own snacks. Each nosh packs 150 to 200 calories, is filled with good-for-you nutrients, and will make you feel like your diet is about anything but deprivation.
While chili may seem like a main dish, a small scoop of this keto variety can provide you enough protein (almost 3 grams!) to keep you going. "Use an Instant Pot for great fast cooking," says Suzanne Ryan, author of Beyond Simply Keto. To make it, brown your ground beef and sausage, saving half the fat drippings. Chop one green bell pepper and ½ onion. Pour meat, fat, veggies, canned ingredients and spices into your instant pot, and cook for 40 minutes. (This is also a great keto meal-prep recipe to have on hand.)
A mini-meal snack is a good idea when dinner is a long way off. The combo of tomato soup and baby carrots is not just filling; it also gives you lots of body-healthy nutrients, like potassium, cancer-fighting lycopene, and beta-carotene. Try a microwavable soup cup that you can stash in your car's cup holder. (Concerned about sodium? Pour about a quarter of the soup down the drain and dilute the rest with water, says McLachlan.)
When tomatoes are out of season, you can still make great bruschetta by breaking out a can. Slowly roasting canned whole tomatoes concentrates their flavors, and mixing them with basil and red wine vinegar as a topping for toast produces a delicious year-round snack. We like to rub the toasts with garlic before spooning on the tomatoes to get an extra layer of flavor.
If you’re craving chips and dip but don’t want to compromise your healthy diet, reach of some buckwheat crackers with herby edamame dip instead. Both buckwheat groats and edamame are packed with protein, making them an ideal option to help ward off hunger. Buckwheat groats also filled with nutrients like zinc, copper, manganese, and magnesium. Plus this dip is so creamy and flavorful, you’ll likely forget that it’s actually healthy.
I say potayto, you say potahto, we all say baked potatoes! Potatoes are a lazy cook’s best friend—cheap, adaptable and filling—how could you go wrong with that? Skip the mashing, the French fries, go and just bake your potatoes instead. While baking potatoes can take about an hour, it’s actually perfect for the lazy cook. Just pop it in the oven and come back when it’s ready! For the lazy and the time-crunched, wrap your potato in a wet paper towel and microwave until tender, around 4-7 minutes. To make your baked potato into a meal, make sure to stuff them with robust fillings. Beans, vegan cheese, crumbled tempeh, or frozen veggies are all simple ingredients for stuffing. Use these 8 Ways to Make Badass Baked Potatoes as inspiration for your own creations or try these Twice-Baked Cheesy Hummus Potatoes. For a meal with more nutrients and antioxidants, try using baked sweet potatoes. The lentil, kale, or Mediterranean recipes in 10 Ways to Stuff a Sweet Potato would be perfect options for the hungry and lazy vegan.
“You might assume that you can’t eat pulses like chickpeas, beans, and lentils on the keto diet. But you totally can, especially in smaller portions," says Amy Gorin, RDN, owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition in the New York City area. "Pulses are a good source of satiating protein and an excellent source of filling fiber—and research shows that eating them daily can help your overall health and can even help you lose weight." Roast chickpeas and toss with oil (for added fat) and spices (to amp the flavor).
No, that isn't a typo. This skinny alternative really has just 35 calories per serving! It isn't too shocking when you consider that makers of the treat replaced the cream and milk typically found in ice cream with water and whey protein. While staffers who tried this stuff out thought the taste was on point, they did note that the texture was more icy than creamy. For more low-cal ice cream alternatives, check out these best ice creams for weight loss.
If you’re looking for a post-workout snack with a little more staying power, try this delicious sweet potato toast recipe. Sweet potatoes provide filling fiber and carbohydrates, and ham and egg offer protein to help build muscle. Spinach is a good source of magnesium, which often gets lost in sweat, and carbohydrates for replenishing glycogen stores. Photo and recipe: Carmen Sturdy / Life by Daily Burn
If you have issues with sodium and salt, this is not a good option for you. However, if you are generally healthy, salt has some health benefits, just make sure you are hydrated adequately. Also, check the ingredients carefully on commercial packets of soup – many may have additives that are derived from animals. This is a vegan snack under 100 calories that you should only enjoy every now and then.
What about evening snacking? The biggest problem with nighttime snacks is most of us reach for ice cream and chips-not fruit and yogurt. That's not to say you can't have a treat after dinner. Some of your favorite evening snacks may even be on this list (chocolate! popcorn!). One thing to note, if you're always hungry after dinner, make sure your meal is made up of filling and healthy foods and you're getting enough food. If all you're nibbling on is a lackluster salad you may legitimately be hungry and need an evening snack(see our best dinner foods for weight loss). If you love an evening snack after dinner, serve yourself a healthy portion onto a plate or bowl so you're not scooping straight from the container.
For a more substantial alternative to cookies, try these no-bake, oat-based bites, where almonds and almond butter pack in healthy fats to make them highly satisfying. Note that the dark chocolate drizzle on top adds a bit of time to the recipe, but as with most things chocolate, it’s totally worth it. Swap in maple syrup for the honey if you follow a strict vegan diet.
If you need your snack to have real staying power, go for a combo of good protein and a little bit of fat. A homemade egg salad is a great choice. Chop up one whole egg and one egg white, then mix with a tablespoon of reduced-fat mayonnaise. The high-quality protein in the eggs will fuel your body for hours, while the fat helps slow digestion, so you'll feel full and energized longer.