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best plant-based snacks for weight loss

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Plant-based diets have gained traction over the years, but many people are concerned they won’t get enough protein. Incorporating plant-based snacks into your day can make it easier to meet your protein needs for weight loss.

Whether you are 100% vegan or just looking to eat more plants, these 10 healthy plant-based snacks can help you reach your goals.

10 Plant-Based Snacks to Buy

When looking for a plant-based snack that is weight loss friendly, look for one that ideally contains:

  • 150 calories or less
  • At least 5 grams of protein
  • A minimum of 2-3 grams of fiber

Here are 10 of the best plant based snacks to buy, recommended by myself and my plant-based expert colleagues.

1. Chia seed pudding

Chia pudding is made with chia seeds, which have a warm, nutty flavor are packed with plant-based nutrition. Making chia pudding is so easy – and it’s a favorite in our house as a snack or even a plant-based breakfast.

    Add 1 cup of your favorite plant-based milk (pea-based milk like Ripple or soy milk are the highest in protein) to 3 tablespoons of chia seeds, a touch of a low-calorie sweetener like stevia or monk fruit, vanilla extract, cocoa powder, or cinnamon if you desire added flavor. Mix together and let sit overnight. 

    A serving is about ½ a cup, which packs around 150 calories, 8-9 grams (g) of protein, and at least 5 g of fiber.

    2. Simply Protein Crispy Bars

    If you’re looking for a quality plant-based protein bar, Simply Protein Crispy Bars are a favorite amongst my dietitian friends.

      “I love having Simply Protein Crispy Bars as a quick, satisfying, high-protein snack. With 15 grams of protein and only 150 calories per bar, it is a convenient high-protein snack to keep around when you need an energy boost,” says Wan Na Chun, MPH, RD, CPT, Owner of One Pot Wellness.

      Chun adds, “The variety pack at Costco is a great way to try an assortment of delicious flavors, including peanut butter, chocolate, and lemon coconut.” I personally love all of their flavors, and what you crave may just depend on your mood!

      3. Nuts and seeds

      I’m keeping it simple with this one—just a handful of nuts or seeds, such as pistachios, almonds, pumpkin, or sunflower seeds, is all you need. Nuts and seeds are wonderful plant-based protein sources that provide protein, fiber, and healthy anti-inflammatory fats.

      They are also super portable—take a handful, pre-portion them into 1-oz baggies, and take them on the go. While all nuts and seeds are healthy, pistachios are the highest in protein nut. 

      I love Wonderful Pistachios roasted nuts in the shell, but they also have other de-shelled varieties, like plain roasted or their chili roasted flavor, if you’re craving a little kick.

      4. Biena Chickpea snacks

      Biena Chickpea snacks are another convenient travel snack high in fiber, protein, and energy-boosting vitamins. 

      “I love the Biena Chickpea Snacks. They’re easy to grab and stash in a purse, diaper bag, or the car. Containing 6 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein per serving keeps you satisfied and energized until your next meal,” says Vanessa Imus, MS, RDN of Integrated Nutrition for Weight Loss

      I personally love the sea salt and habanero flavors (you can see I’m partial to spicy!), depending on my mind.

      5. Trail mix

      plant based snack trail mix

      Photo: Budget Bytes

      Trail mix is another balanced plant-based snack that can satisfy a sweet or salty craving. While you can buy premade trail mix in the grocery store, it’s easy to make yourself, and you’ll have more control over the added sugar and fat you’re including.

      Make a simple trail mix containing your favorite nuts, seeds, a bit of sweetness from dried fruit or dark cacao nibs, and a little salty crunch from popcorn or pretzels.

      Stick to a small handful and pre-portion in small ziploc bags to keep the calorie content below 150. One serving contains around 150 calories, 5 g protein, and 2 g fiber depending on what you’re adding.

      6. Peanut or almond butter with fruit

      Peanut butter is one of my favorite foods, and it can be so incredibly satisfying. Simply add a tablespoon of peanut or almond butter to apples, pears, or a banana for a balanced plant-based snack. 

      Nut butters, such as peanut and almond butter, are rich in heart-healthy fats and a good source of protein. One tablespoon, depending on the brand, contains between 150 and 190 calories, 8 g of protein, and 2 g of fiber. 

      For a lower-calorie version, you can try the PBfit Pure Peanut powdered peanut butter where you mix 1 serving (2 tbsp) with 1.5 tbsp of water. PBfit powder contains 90% less fat and 70% fewer calories than traditional peanut butter, containing only 70 calories per serving but still packing 9 grams of plant-based protein. 

      You can also sneak this powder into smoothies, shakes, oatmeal, and other favorites for a yummy protein boost.

      7. Plain dairy-free yogurt

      Many plant-based yogurts are out there, but many rank pretty low nutrition-wise. However, there are a few that are pretty close in protein content to dairy yogurts and have the same creamy texture.

      One of the top brands I recommend is :ratio Protein Coconut-based Greek Yogurt, as it contains a whopping 25 g of protein in just 170 calories. This amount of protein is almost impossible to find in a plant-based yogurt, and it has a delicious creamy texture.

      It also has no added sugar, which is a bonus as too much-added sugar is linked to weight gain

      Top your plain yogurt with a handful of frozen or fresh berries if you want some added sweetness.

      8. Good to Go Soft Baked Bars

      If protein bars are a convenient snack for you, Good to Go Soft Baked Bars are a great plant-based choice to try. Made from almond flour, these bars are light and fluffy and provide balanced nutrition when you’re on the go.

      “These bars are made with almond flour and are gluten-free. With a variety of delicious flavors, there is something for everyone! My favorite is the Vanilla Almond, which contains 160 calories, 7g of fiber, and 6g of protein per bar,” says Elena Usdenski, RD, MScFN.

      They also contain no added sugar and are a good choice for those following a low-carb lifestyle.

      9. Dry Roasted Edamame snacks 

      Do you love edamame in restaurants as an app? If so, you’ll love The Only Beans’ dry roasted edamame snacks that are de-shelled and ready to eat.

      Edamame is a satisfying snack when you’re craving something salty or crunchy, and comes in convenient 100-calorie packs to make portion control easy.

      One 100-calorie pack contains 11 g protein, 4 g fiber, and 0 added sugars to help keep you full when you’re in a calorie deficit to lose weight.

      10. Bean Dip with Veggies

      If you love a good dip, choosing bean-based dips like hummus made from black beans can help boost your protein and fiber intake. One of my favorite black bean dip brands is Veggicopia, which contains 5 g of protein and fiber per serving. 

      They also come in individual serving-size dip cups to make portion control easy (it’s often easy to overdo it when scooping out dip!). Enjoy with a pre-chopped handful of your favorite raw veggies like baby carrots, celery, or bell peppers.

      Hummus is a chickpea-based dip that is also widely popular, but it doesn’t contain as much protein as black bean dips. 

      Can I get enough protein on a vegan diet?

      can i get enough protein on a vegan diet?

      Photo: Joe Lingeman

      It is a common misconception that you can’t get enough protein on a vegan or plant-based diet. It is absolutely possible, you just need to be strategic and intentional about including quality proteins with every meal and snack. 

      This is because many plant-based foods are lower in protein per calorie than animal-based options, so you’ll have to eat more to meet your daily goals.

      When you plan your weekly meals and snacks, jot down 8-10 types of protein you will keep on hand. You can choose from the list below if you need more ideas to mix and match to keep things fun and interesting. 

      As a weight loss dietitian, I recommend planning meals and pre-portioning snacks to ensure you have healthy, satisfying options that match your goals. If you have to spend time chopping and portioning snacks at the last minute when you’re pressed for time, you’ll probably grab what’s most convenient, which is not always the most nourishing option.

      What are the best plant-based sources of protein for weight loss?

      There are SO many great plant-based protein options, but some are more conducive to weight loss than others. This is because some plant-based proteins are higher in carbs or calories, bringing you over your calorie needs if you’re choosing mostly these options.

      Here are some of the best plant-based protein sources for weight loss:

      • Tofu
      • Tempeh – a traditional Indonesian food derived from fermented soybeans
      • Seitan – another soy-based protein made from wheat gluten that has a more meaty texture
      • Edamame
      • Plant-based milks (pea and soy are the highest in protein) and yogurts
      • Nuts
      • Seeds
      • Lentils
      • Beans
      • Spirulina – blue-green algae, often found in powder form added to smoothie mixes
      • Nutritional yeast – a deactivated yeast sold as yellow powder or flakes
      • Chickpeas

      Including more low-carb plant proteins such as tofu, tempeh, seitan, edamame, plant milk, spirulina, and nutritional yeast will make it easier to stay in a calorie deficit and lose weight. Higher-carb options like beans, lentils, and chickpeas are still highly nutritious but tend to be higher in calories. 

      Include a balance of all types for a sustainable plan that provides various delicious options!

      Takeaway

      Incorporating healthy plant-based snacks into your routine can help support weight loss, whether you are 100% vegan or simply want to eat more plants. When seeking quality plant-based diet snacks, look for ones ideally with 150 calories or less, at least 5 grams of protein, and 2-3 grams of fiber.

      A few great options include chia pudding, plant-based bars, roasted edamame, or non-dairy Greek yogurt. By being strategic and intentional, it’s possible to meet your protein goals on a plant-based diet (or any diet) to achieve your weight and wellness goals.

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