The Dos & Don’ts of Buying Vegan Protein SnacksWhether you’re fully vegan or looking for healthy snack options, vegan protein snacks might just be the thing you need!
That said, not all vegan protein snacks are created equally. There’s no point in buying healthy snacks that taste so terrible you don’t want to eat them, and buying snacks that are tasty and technically vegan but don’t offer much nutritional value doesn’t do you many favors, either.
Here’s what you need to know about choosing healthy vegan protein snacks that you’ll actually want to eat — and that nourish your body.
Why Choose Vegan Protein Snacks?
If the words “vegan protein snacks” make you think of fake meat made of dubious ingredients, think again. Picture instead plant-based proteins and a short list of whole food ingredients. Those are the vegan protein snacks you want.
Plant proteins offer a slew of health benefits over meat protein, and they come from a variety of sources. Peas, soybeans, chickpeas, chia seeds, and oats are just a few examples of plant protein sources that also do double-duty as nutritious whole foods.
In contrast, many popular meat or dairy protein sources — including certain types of protein powder — are low in nutrients and high in things like saturated fats, artificial preservatives, added sugars, and sodium.
Key Nutrients for Healthy Vegan Protein Snacks
Unfortunately, the word “vegan” appearing on the label doesn’t always guarantee that your protein snacks will be nutritious. Bearing that in mind, here are some important nutrients to look for when choosing vegan snacks:
— Protein: Obviously, if you’re buying protein snacks, they’d better actually contain protein. Look for plant proteins, like brown rice or pea, rather than meat or whey varieties.
— Iron: Iron is essential to keep your body functioning the way it’s supposed to, and experts say vegans need to actively add as much as 1.8 times more iron to their diets than non-vegans.
— Vitamin B12: One nutrient that doesn’t naturally occur in very many plant-based foods is vitamin B12. That means vegans need to specifically seek out foods — snacks and otherwise — that have been fortified with Vitamin B12.
— Calcium: Yes, dairy products contain calcium, but they aren’t the only sources for this nutrient. In fact, they aren’t even necessarily the best sources of calcium. Plant-based sources win in this department, too.
The best part? You can totally get vegan protein snacks that have all of these nutrients and more.
For example, Outstanding Foods snacks are made with pea protein and other plant-based whole food ingredients that provide 20 different vitamins and minerals. Plus, they taste so damn good, you won’t believe how good they are for you.
What Not to Eat
To reiterate, just because protein snacks are vegan doesn’t guarantee they’ll be good for you. Try to avoid snacks that contain:
— Excess sodium, preservatives, processed oils, and sugar: These types of additives may taste good in the moment, but are they really worth the gross feeling or the guilt they give you afterward? (No!)
— Saturated fat: This one can slip past you easily if you aren’t paying attention. Many coconut-based dairy substitutes, for example, tend to be high in saturated fat — thank you, next!
— (Certain types of) vegan cheese: Who doesn’t love a little cheesy flavor?! The problem with vegan cheese is that many types are overly processed, low in nutrients, or contain ingredients like coconut oil (and all of its saturated fats). Choose your vegan cheese carefully.
As a general rule, stick with vegan protein snacks that are minimally processed, made of nutritious whole food ingredients, and free of extra additives, and you’ll be golden.
Don’t Settle for Less
Healthy, plant-based protein snacks and tasty protein snacks aren’t mutually exclusive. Take advantage of the nutrients that healthy vegan snacks have to offer by finding plant-based protein sources that taste as great as they make you feel. Then kick those old, processed, nutrient-lacking protein snacks to the curb.
Ready to try some addictively delicious vegan protein snacks that are also packed with vitamins and minerals? Find Outstanding Foods snacks in stores near you.