They're mini health packets. Fresh herbs are calorie-free and loaded with antioxidants and other healthy ingredients. Basil and mint contain compounds that are potential cancer fighters; rosemary may help fight memory loss; and cilantro appears to slow the growth of certain bacteria that cause food-borne illness. Herbs are also a viable source of vitamins: 2 tablespoons of fresh basil, for example, delivers 27 percent of your recommended daily quotient of vitamin K, and just a handful of chives provides 10 percent of your daily requirement for vitamins A and C.
Oh man, it’s already worth making baked pears just because of how great the kitchen smells when you shove them in the oven. They’re so easily prepared too: Slice a pear in half, scoop out the pit with a spoon. Now add a couple of walnuts, sprinkle cinnamon over them and drizzle maple syrup or honey (for non-vegans) on top. Off they go in the oven for about 25 minutes on 380°F/180°C.
This classic Sicilian eggplant dish, terrific as a spread, a dip, or a pasta sauce, is proof positive that vegan food doesn't have to be bland. The sweet-and-sour mixture packs in all sorts of intense flavors, including pine nuts, mint, raisins, capers, and vinegar. Even with the long ingredient list, it's not that hard to make: By cooking the ingredients in a particular order, we've engineered this recipe to use just one skillet.
If you're looking for a creative way to add more fruit to your diet, try frozen banana pops. Slice several peeled bananas in half and insert popsicle sticks. Coat each half with an ounce of low-fat plain yogurt. Put the pops in the freezer, and soon you'll have ready-to-eat low-calorie treats. At just under 80 calories a pop, this is a snack you can feel good about.
It's as simple a snack recipe as can be, but unusually satisfying: For a twist on plain homemade popcorn, try drizzling it with olive oil and sprinkling it with za'atar, the heady Middle Eastern spice blend of oregano, thyme, sesame seeds, and tart sumac. You can check out all our popcorn flavors here, including Thai coconut curry, miso soup, and roast chicken dinner; those three are vegan if you swap out the butter.
Making your own raisins at home might sound silly, but these oven-dried grapes are a cut above the sad, shriveled raisins you buy in a box. Plumper and juicier, they have a flavor that's more similar to fresh grapes—just concentrated, and with a little caramelization. Try playing around with different varieties and cooking times to find the flavor and texture that you like.
Use this guide as a great starting point for a lot of healthy snacks (and a few that are not so healthy). Of course, you don't need to be vegan to enjoy some of these tasty snacks. These snacks are also great if you are heading to a potluck, office party, or school event. By bringing a vegan snack, you'll share a healthy option and something that someone who may be dairy-free, gluten-free, or vegan (or vegetarian) can happily enjoy.
Who doesn’t love a good snack? They’re essential for staving off hunger between meals and keeping you fueled from your early morning workout until your late night dinner with friends. But small bites can also be a nutritional trap, providing few nutrients and tons of unnecessary calories. A 2012 study examining the diets of nearly 5,000 adults found that almost a third of their daily calorie intake was from “empty,” or nutritionally void, snack calories.
“Crackers do not stave off hunger well,” Culbertson says. Low in fiber and high in sodium, this snack does not provide the energy boost most people are looking for during the afternoon, and you’re not likely to feel satisfied. (However, some crackers are high in fiber and low in sodium; and topping them with low-fat cheese takes them from a bad snack to a healthy one.) And if they’re not single-serving packages, Culbertson says, it's easy to eat too many.