One of the keys to eating healthy is having good snacks on hand and in the house. Here's a list of my go-to healthy + vegan snacks...
HUMMUS + VEGGIES
WHY? It's awesome. Tastes great and is healthy. With the main ingredient being chickpeas, it's packed with protein, fiber, iron and other great nutrients. (More on that here if interested.)
Because of the fiber and protein, it helps me curb my appetite / stay full for longer. When I'm gearing up for a key race and want to get lean, I'll eat a decent portion of hummus and carrots about a half hour before dinner. I end up eating a good bit less than I would normally, but still get the nutrients I need to build muscle and stay strong.
WHICH? Go with whatever hummus you like. Just make sure there isn't too much oil added. Fat content should be no more than 4g per serving (2tbsp). I'm currently obsessed with the Roots No Oil hummus. It isn't cheap, so I mix it with the Engine 2 Traditional. (I eat A LOT of hummus...)
I'm mostly a hummus + carrots guy, though celery & bell peppers are also good vehicles for getting your hummus on.
NUTS + DRIED FRUIT (OR JUST NUTS, STRAIGHT UP)
WHY? These two are transportable, require zero prep, and are packed with protein and good fats (nuts) along with fiber (dried fruit). (More deets here on nuts & dried fruit.) Oh, and they taste great especially together. Whether traveling, going into meetings, running errands, whatever, I always carry a plastic bag with nuts and dried fruit, or simply nuts.
I particularly like nuts because they're low in carbs. While I never count carbs, I recognize that my vegan diet can tilt towards "high carb". A great way to keep that in check without needing to count carbs is to get a good number of calories from fat. It might seen ironic, but I've found that when I increase my calories from fat - good fat from nuts & seeds that is - I'm able to slim down and carry less fat on my body.
If I really looking to get lean prior to a race, I'll eat dinner a couple hours prior to going to sleep
WHICH? I love raw almonds, peanuts and walnuts. I eat almonds and peanuts constantly. Mostly raw, but sometimes dry roasted with salt. I used to hold back, thinking Oh no, I better not since nuts are high in fat, but I've come to realize that when I indulge in nuts, I end up leaner. I think the same will be true for you.
Stick with raw unless you're working out hard and sweating a good bit. Then you've earned the addition of some dry roasted/salted to the mix. Just make sure they're DRY roasted. Just plain roasted means they've been roasted in oils that are typically pretty terrible for you. Also, Make sure the peanuts are organic and/or non-GMO, since many are GMO.
If mixing with dried fruit, walnuts + dried dates is my favorite combo. Almonds + dried apricots is pretty robust as well.
ALMOND BUTTER + DAMN NEAR ANYTHING
WHY? Healthy. Tasty. Easy. Almond butter is the bomb. I spread it on everything from bananas to celery and mix it into quinoa and smoothies. It's high in protein and healthy fat, plus helps curb hunger without carbs.
WHICH? Make sure to get the kind that's only almonds, no oil added. Best if it's raw, but dry roasted is fine. (Raw is usually pricey.)
AVOCADO + SALT & PEPPER
WHY? Healthy. Tasty. Easy. You might be sensing a trend here... Avos have lots of super healthy fats, fiber and potassium. (More on that here.) Again, like nuts, I dig that avocados are high in fat and low in carbs. Helps balance things out, making sure that you're getting good fats and not relying too heavily on carbs.
WHICH? No need for organic avocados in my opinion. (I buy organic if I'm eating the outer layer of a fruit or veggie -- especially if part of the "Dirty Dozen".) Just go with one that's newly ripe, i.e. just a bit soft to the touch.
WHAT ABOUT BREAD?
Two fairly obvious vegan snacks that I've skipped over are almond butter + toast and avocado + toast. Both of these are delicious and are insanely easy to prepare. (And a banana to the almond butter toast for supreme dankness. Similarly, add some variation of hummus, tomatoes, sprouts and sriracha to the avo + toast.) That said, I like to reserve these snacks as "In Case of Emergency" options. In fact, I flat out don't buy bread anymore. Too risky. I don't trust myself around it. (But seriously, I don't. If that shit were in the house when I return from a 5+ hour ride, it'd be over.) I'll eat it when at a restaurant, but when I prepare food for myself, I want the food to be as healthy as possible.
When I transitioned from meat-lover to vegan, I used grains as a crutch. Mostly bread and cereal. While eating whole grain versions, even sprouted grain bread, I came to realize that this was not getting me closer to the goal of eating unprocessed, REAL food. Bread simply isn't the healthiest thing out there. It's obviously fine in moderation, but not good when eating daily. I've since replaced bread (and cereal) with quinoa; still a grain but much less processed/refined. Quinoa also has TONS of awesome nutrients including protein, fiber, magnesium, iron, zinc, folate, etc. (More on that here.)
If you're going to buy bread — it can be good to have on hand when first transitioning — I'd recommend either Food For Life's Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Bread (found in the freezer section) or Dave's Killer Bread.
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