Shifting to a vegan diet means becoming familiar with meal planning. After all, your old shopping list with its meat, dairy and eggs isn’t going to cut it any more, and you’ll probably consult some recipe books (or the internet) to plan your meals. Subscribing to a plant-based delivery service like Green Dinner Table, makes it even easier – the week's meal planning is done for you. With your vegan dinners are sorted, what do you eat the rest of the day?

Healthy snacking can be a struggle regardless of your diet

Hence the booming market in chips, chocolate and ‘healthier’ alternatives, like muesli bars. When hunger strikes or your energy wains and you’re far from your kitchen, it’s incredibly tempting to reach for the nearest snack – and for those cutting out or cutting back on animal products, that makes this the hardest time to avoid the temptation, whether it’s healthy or not!

A quick search of the internet reveals lots of ‘accidentally vegan’ products (mainstream products that just happen to be vegan). If they’re highly processed and/or contain a heap of sugar or salt, however, they’re certainly not healthy. So, rather than stocking up on Oreos (which, yes are technically vegan), here are some healthy snack choices.

Fresh fruit

Yes, we’re starting with the obvious. When it comes to portability and convenience, it doesn’t get any easier than nature’s own pre-wrapped snack: a banana, or an orange, berries, or whatever is in season.

  • Pro tip: Top fruit with nut butter – up the ante on fresh fruit by adding nut butter and you’ll also be getting a dose of protein with your fibre. Haven’t tried it? You’re missing out. Slice up an apple and spread with peanut butter (or almond or cashew butter). Go wild and try it with veggies like celery!

Raw veggies and hummus

Also known as crudités, pieces of raw vegetables dipped in a sauce are a traditional French appetizer. Try carrot, celery or cucumber sticks, or get creative with slices of capsicum, radish, cauliflower or broccoli. Also try switching out hummus with guacamole.

Vegan yoghurt

With so many varieties of coconut and soy yoghurt available, this is a great option for satisfying those cravings for sweetness. Fruit flavours and even cacao (chocolate) blends are on offer or mix things up by adding a few nuts for a bit of crunch.

  • Pro tip: Mix it up by adding granola or Wheatbix to your yoghurt. You can top with roasted nuts or seeds and fresh or dried fruit.

Protein or bliss balls

Increasingly popular, you’ll often find a version of these in café cabinets or pre-packaged at supermarkets or health-food shops, or you can make your own. Check that they are vegan, of course, but most use some combination of dates, nuts and coconut for plant-based energy.

Smoothies

Combining plant-based milk and even plant-based yoghurt with various combinations of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, the possibilities are almost endless! Just look to Instagram for inspiration.

Chia pudding

Like overnight oats, simply soak chia seeds with any plant-based milk overnight in the fridge. You can also add a sweetener like maple syrup if you’re so inclined. In the morning add fresh fruit and voilà! A quick, easy and super filling snack.

Nuts

A super-easy option for snacking on the run, they’re also packed with protein and, depending on the variety, other essential vitamins, minerals and beneficial fatty acids too. They’re also filling, so just a few will keep you going. For maximum health benefits, skip the salted varieties and go for raw nuts instead.

Crackers

(Yes, you read that correctly) several varieties in NZ supermarkets are vegan. Ingredient lists do change, so check before you buy, but Ryvita, Vitawheat Original, Original Meal Mates and Huntley & Palmers Sesameal are options to try. Top with tomato, avocado or nut butter for a flavour boost.

Popcorn

Surprisingly, even ‘butter’ flavours of pre-packaged popcorn are often without dairy! Of course, this doesn’t necessarily make them healthy, so popping your own is best – but Serious Popcorn or New Zealand Kettle Korn are good options if you need it NOW!

Roasted chickpeas

Did you know that when roasted, these magical little legumes turn into a crunchy savoury snack? Make your own at home, adding the flavour of your choice (there are lots of ideas on the internet), and store in an airtight container for on-the-go snacking. P.S. Kids love them!

  • Pro tip: Keep the liquid from the can of chickpeas for baking. Google “aquafaba.” You’ll thank us later …