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Plant-Based and Protein-Powered: Healthy Vegan Protein Snacks and Hacks

“Where do you get your protein?”

This is the question that rings over and over again in the ears of every vegan. 

Vegans do not eat animal products. That leaves people wondering how on earth a vegan can get the proper amount of protein in their daily diet. 

The answer is simple—

Snacks. 

Lots and lots of snacks. 

Whole Plant-based foods are typically nutrient-dense and lower in calories. That means vegans get to snack guilt-free all day long to meet their recommended caloric intake.

You might still have questions swirling in your brain about vegan protein sources. Here are a couple of popular questions people find themselves asking:

“Is plant-based protein as good for you as animal-protein?”

“How many grams of protein do you need a day?”

“Why do you even need protein and what is it?” 

“What are the BEST vegan snacks I can make?”

This article is going to go over the information you need to know about high protein vegan snacks. Here is what we’ll cover:

  • Protein 101: How much you need and why you need it!
  • Plant-based Protein: The Mini-Guide
  • 28 Vegan Snacks: High Protein Edition

woman exercises weights

Protein 101: How much YOU need and WHY you need it!

Protein, protein, protein! When it comes to nutrition, this is one nutrient that always gets the spotlight. 

Most of us know that protein is essential for building muscle. But, beyond that—

How much do we really know about the stuff?

Let’s break it down. 

What is Protein?

Protein is one of the three macronutrients necessary for our bodies to function. The three macronutrients are fat, carbohydrates, and protein. 

All you really need to know about macronutrients is that they provide our body calories

Calories = Energy. 

So, feeding our body the right macronutrients is essential to a healthy life. 

Protein itself is made up of amino acids. There are 20+ amino acids in total. Together, they work to form long chains in our bodies and help our cells function. 

Our bodies do not store amino acids, so they need to make these amino acids from scratch or get them from food. There are 9 amino acids that our bodies cannot make, so we must get them from food. 

3 Amazing Things Protein Does For Us

As we said, protein is one of the three macronutrients our body relies on for energy throughout the day. 

But, what exactly does it do? 

Here are 3 amazing things that protein does for us! 

1. Controls Our Hunger Levels

Of the macronutrients, protein is the most filling. When you eat enough protein, you will find that you experience fewer hunger cravings. 

This is important for maintaining a healthy weight.

2. Increases Muscle Mass

It is no secret that protein is the driver behind building muscle mass.

Working out regularly has amazing benefits for your health. If you are exercising on a regular basis, it is essential that you are eating enough protein. This will help you build muscle mass and prevent muscle damage or loss.  

Reward your hard training sessions with a well-deserved blast of protein! 

3. Protein Helps Lower Your Blood Pressure

Scientific studies are just starting to look at the correlation between protein intake and lower blood pressure. However, some beginning research has shown a positive correlation between increased plant-based protein and lower blood pressure. 

High blood pressure puts extra strain on your heart over time. This puts you at an increased risk of heart attacks and stroke. 

Keeping your blood pressure in healthy ranges will lower your risk of heart-related illnesses. 

How Much Protein Do I Need Every Day?

We’ve already covered the importance of protein in our diets, but how much is the right amount?

The recommended daily allowance, or the RDA, for protein, is .36 grams per pound.

The amount of protein you will need daily will depend not only on your weight— 

but on your lifestyle!

If you exercise frequently, you will require more protein to maintain muscle mass than if you live a sedentary lifestyle. To find the exact amount of protein that you need, it is best to speak to your doctor or a nutritionist.

If you are an athlete, don’t worry about finding ways to meet your protein goal and pack on the muscle. 

Have you seen Gamechangers? It is a documentary about a few top-level athletes that are plant-based.

It goes to show that you can get enough plant-protein in your diet no matter what your lifestyle is!

nuts and seeds

Plant-Based Protein: The Mini-Guide

There has been an ongoing debate about whether or not vegans can get all of the essential amino acids they need in a plant-based diet. 

Members of the medical community have concluded that it is possible to get all of the amino acids you need through a healthy vegan diet.

Even Harvard recommends going for plant-based proteins whenever you can!

Want to know the trick to getting enough protein and all of the correct amino acids? 

Knowing where to find them. 

This article from YumUniverse shares a chart of popular plant sources of protein if you want to dig a little deeper. They even go in-depth into the different amino acids you need to get from food. 

In simple terms, there are four food groups to get the majority of your plant-based protein:

  • Legumes 
  • Nuts and Seeds
  • Grains
  • Alternative meat options (tofu, tempeh, seitan) 

Of the plant-based foods, here are the sources that are “complete proteins.”  This means they have all of the essential amino acids you need:

  • Amaranth
  • Chia Seeds
  • Hemp Seed
  • Quinoa
  • Buckwheat
  • Spirulina and Chlorella

If you incorporate these food groups into your daily diet, you’ll find that it’s easy to hit your protein goal. 

When thinking about protein-intake, it is important to note that you don’t need to limit yourself to complete proteins exclusively. As long as you eat a variety of plant-based proteins throughout the day, your body will store amino acids and get everything it needs! 

vegan chickpea fries

28 Vegan Snacks: High Protein Edition

Who doesn’t love an amazing snack? 

Bonus points if it's healthy and gives you the energy you need to make it to your next meal.

There is truly an art form when it comes to snacking and we’re here to show you the way. A great snack needs to fit the following criteria:

  • Satisfy Your Hunger
  • Be Convenient to Eat
  • Be Dangerously Addictive and Delicious

We scanned the following 28 recipes with a fine-tooth comb to make sure that they are up to snuff. Here they are! 

The Quintessential Chips and Dip

“But... chips and dip don’t have protein… do they?”

Normally? No. 

Chips and dip you get from the store are lacking in this area. 

However—

These vegan chip and dip recipes are filled with protein-rich legumes, grains, nuts, and seeds. 

  1. Make your own tomato and basil lentil chips with this recipe by Nest and Glow. 
  2. Swap out your guac and salsa with this classic vegan hummus recipe by Gimme Some Oven for extra protein.
  3. Been there and done that with classic hummus? No worries, check out this lentil hummus recipe by Elephantastic Vegan to elevate your chip game. 
  4. Give this weirdly addicting quinoa chips and broccoli pate recipe by One Green Planet a whirl. 
  5. This low-fat vegan cheeze dip by VegAnnie has cashews as the base, so it’s low-fat and high-protein.

Next time you’re binge-watching your favorite Netflix show, you can break out one of these chips and dip recipes to meet your protein quota.

Power-Packed Protein Balls 

Protein balls are the ultimate high-protein vegan snack. 

The proof’s in the name, right?

These snacks are fun to make, versatile, and super convenient. Make a batch at the beginning of the week and enjoy them in the days to follow!

6. Get a complete-protein source from these chia seed pudding energy balls by Any Reason Vegans. 
7. Enjoy these special no-bake cinnamon vanilla breakfast protein bites by Cotter Crunch with a fresh cup of coffee. 
8. Here’s the recipe to the classic peanut-butter oatmeal energy balls by The Big Man’s World. (Vegan, no-bake, AND gluten-free!) 
9. Okay, okay— it’s not technically a ball... But this no-bake pumpkin spice energy bar by Happy Healthy Mama is a must-try.
10. For a really convenient snack, whip up these 3-ingredient healthy food protein bars by In the Kids Kitchen.

These protein-packed snacks will carry you over to your next meal when you’re in a pinch for time. 

These recipes are easy-to-make, easy-to-store, and scrumptious! 

Naturally Vegan Snacks to Munch On

There are a few yummy vegan snacks that are filled with protein and require ZERO prep. 

Next time you are out grocery shopping, don’t forget to toss a few of these nuts in your cart. 

11. Almonds
12. Cashews
13. Pistachios
14. Pumpkin Seeds
15. Walnuts

 

Nuts are not only a great source of protein, they also contain healthy fats and omega 3’s. Enjoy these nuts on their own, or use them in some of your baking recipes for a healthy addition to your diet! 

Savory and Satisfying Snacks

There are a few savory vegan snacks that hit the spot every time. 

Warning: When eating these snacks, you might accidentally eat your whole day’s worth of calories. 

Proceed with caution. 

16. Devour this buffalo and Thai peanut-flavored seitan jerky by My Quiet Kitchen. We dare you just to have one slice!  
17. Cook up some of these chickpea french fries by Blooming Nolwenn to satisfy those pre-dinner cravings. (pictured above)
18-20. Roast some chickpeas a few different ways for a quick and easy protein-packed snack! The Domestic Geek shows you how to roast them three different ways in this video.
21. Along the same vein, try this addicting crispy garlic edamame recipe by Spinach 4 Breakfast. 
22. For some sneaky snacking, prepare some easy tempeh bacon bits by Copy Me That to munch on between meals. 

High-Protein Snacks for the Sweet Tooth

Chocolate? Cookies? Brownies? 

Can all of these snacks really be high-protein and vegan? 

These snacks taste like a guilty pleasure, but they are actually healthy for you. 

  1. These salty peanut-butter quinoa chia bars with chocolate by Greeny Sherry are as good as they sound. They’re also gluten-free. 
  2. Chickpeas in a cookie? Don’t knock it until you try it! These chickpea chocolate chip cookies by Stress Less Be Healthy will have you questioning everything you know about baking!  
  3. You’ll need to hide these chocolate bliss balls by Happy Healthy Mama from your kids in order to save some for yourself. (pictured at the top of this article!)
  4. These chocolate coconut protein balls by The Soccer Mom almost seem too good to be true. 
  5. Cookies for breakfast? If you say so! Try out these hemp seed breakfast cookies by Any Reasons Vegan for those mornings when you’re on-the-go. 
  6. It sounds crazy, but these black bean brownies by Balanced Bella might  just be the best thing since sliced bread. 

Who knew you could back so many legumes and seeds into a dessert-like snack? 

High-Protein Foods to Add to Your Snacks

Do you already have go-to snacks in your daily routine? 

Yes?

Here are three simple ways to add protein into your staple snacks. 

1. Add Vegan Protein Powder

There are several vegan protein powder brands to try out if you haven’t already. Add a scoop or two to your baking or mid-morning smoothie for a blast of nutrition. 

Vega Protein and No Udder Protein are some great brands to try! 

2. Sprinkle on Some Seeds

Hemp seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, sesame seeds, and sunflower seeds are all excellent sources of protein, omega 3’s, and other important vitamins.

Add a spoonful of seeds to your baking or chip dip for a little protein boost. 

Even better?

Just pop a handful into your mouth! 

3. Vegan Fairy Dust: Nutritional Yeast

Nutritional yeast is as magic as fairy-dust. You can add it to almost anything to bring out a rich, cheesy, and nutty flavor to your food. 

Sprinkle nutritional yeast on popcorn, roasted potatoes, or chips for some extra protein. 

Just two tablespoons have 4 grams of protein and tons of micronutrients! 

vegan hummus

Plant-Based and Protein-Powered

Who knew plant-based protein could be so delicious?

Next time you’re confronted with the question:

“Where do you get your protein?”

You’ll be READY with the answer:

Snacks! 

Here are the tips to remember for protein-packed snacking:

  • Aim to get a few “complete proteins” in your diet every day
  • Remember to check your handy plant-based protein chart
  • Stock up on nuts and seeds 
  • Munch on healthy snacks all day long

Want to learn more about healthy eating? Read our blog for more tips!

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