If you are wondering what whole food plant based (WFPB) snacks actually are, you’re in the right place!
Find out what makes them different, along with dietitian recommended snacks right here!
Disclaimer: This article is not a substitute for medical or dietary advice. Always talk to your doctor about any major dietary changes, health concerns, or supplements. See our Disclaimers for more details.
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This post was originally published on 3/30/22. The updated date is listed above.
What Does Whole Food Plant Based Mean?
While whole food plant based (WFPB) does not have an official dictionary definition, it is often thought of as foods that:
- Come from plants
- Are not heavily processed
- Do not include animal products (such as dairy, meat, fish, eggs, and honey).
- Do not include lots of refined oil, refined sugar, or heavily refined flour (like white flour).
Examples of whole plant based foods include whole fruits, veggies, whole grains and legumes, nuts and seeds.
Whole food plant based snacks include these foods in different combinations.
For instance, many would consider low oil home made kale chips to be a WFPB snack, but not sour cream and onion potato chips.
There are several examples of healthy plant based snacks in this category.
Which ones do dietitians love?
Get some inspiration next!
Whole Food Plant Based Snack Recipes
As an FYI: some of these recipes include optional chocolate chips, or oil containing sides. If those are a concern for you on a whole food plant based diet, know that there are alternatives (ie: oil free raisins instead of chocolate chips, whole wheat pita’s instead of chips, etc).
“Trail mix is lightweight, temperature-stable, energy-providing, and well-balanced. It’s easy to pack for a day on the trails, at the office, on the run, or even at home!”
-Lexi Endicott, RD, LD, CCMS of To Taste
Check out their Trail Mix Base Recipe here.
“I love these inexpensive, simple bites made with rolled oats and peanut butter to provide soluble fiber and mono-unsatured fat. Sunflower butter could be used in the case of nut allergies.”
-Lisa Cicciarello Andrews, MEd, RD, LD From Sound Bites Nutrition
Check out Lisa’s recipe for Peanut Butter Oatmeal Energy Bites here!
“Zesty Southwest Salsa is my go-to homemade snack because it takes less than 5 minutes to make, is super affordable , and acts as a complete protein source. It’s a fun snack that both adults and kids will love.”
-Colleen Wysocki Woods, MS, RDN of Zest Nutrition
Try her recipe here!
Here’s some delicious ideas for whole foods plant based foods to dunk in this salsa!
- Whole grain pita slices
- Whole grain oil free (or reduced) crackers
- Homemade oil free (or reduced) chips, like this one from Forks Over Knives
“Flaxseed pudding is an ultra heart healthy snack! It is packed with plant protein, fiber, and omega-3s- a perfect nutrition combo for an anti-inflammatory and heart healthy food!”
-Sheri Berger, RDN, CDCES
You can get the recipe on Sheri’s blog.
Oatmeal Protein Cookies
“Oatmeal protein cookies are easy, vegan, & gluten-free! Using peanut butter, flax, & cinnamon, they make a yummy, & healthy option!”
-Megan Byrd, RD
Smoothies are a classic and totally customizable. You can make fruit based ones like this Vegan Berry Smoothie, or use them as a vehicle to add healthy fats and veggies as well!
Plant Based Whole Food Snacks You Can Buy at the Store
*Consumer Notice: This post contains affiliate links that are marked in this manner: (affiliate link*)”. If you click on these links and purchase, I earn a commission at no added cost to you.
“I love Larabars because they’re tasty and convenient while also providing fiber for digestion, carb for energy, and healthy fat for sustenance. The fats from the nuts help to buffer the rate the dates raise blood sugar.”
-Functional dietitian Jenna Volpe of Whole-istic Living
Larabars come in a variety of flavors, with different fruits and nuts! Of note, some varieties have chocolate chips, which some WFPB consumers may not agree on as “whole” foods…
Nonetheless, here are a couple chocolate free ones I have tried and enjoyed! (affiliate links*):
Natures Candy: Fruit
We would be remiss if we didn’t mention this classic!
Fruit requires minimal prep, and is easy to prepare. So don’t forget this nutrient dense snack that can also satisfy your sweet tooth!
Depending on how much you need to “tide you over” to the next meal, here are some popular parings with a bit of plant powered protein, fat and fiber to make for a more satiating snack:
WFPB tip: Try to go for the unsalted, oil free, refined sugar free versions.
- Nuts and/or seeds
- Seed and/or nut butters (Idea: apple or banana with mixed nut and seed butter, stuff a date with peanut butter, etc).
- Just mix em up (ie: make a fruit salad with some nuts and seeds sprinkled in)!
Raw Veggies and/or Whole Grain Crackers/Pita Bread and Hummus
Ideas for raw veggies include carrots, cucumber celery, jicama, etc!
Want to make your own hummus? Here’s a few recipies to get inspried with!
- Simple Roasted Red Pepper Dip from Dietitian Debbie
- No cloves of garlic on hand? Easy Chickpeasy’s got you with this recipe.
If added refined oil is something you are trying to avoid, look for hummus with tahini or oil free versions like Cedars Fat and oil free.
Raw Veggies with Guacamole
“I enjoy bell pepper strips and carrot sticks with guacamole: these are sturdy and pack well in lunch bags with an ice pack.”
–Melissa Altman-Traub, MS, RDN, LDN
If you are looking for a simple guacamole recipe, this one from Fad Free Nutrition Blog uses only 4 ingredients!
Avocado Toast with Smashed Beans
Add some whole food plant based protein in the form of beans to mashed avocado.
Top some hearty bread made with whole food ingredients like Food for Life’s Ezekiel bread (*affiliate link) and you’ve got a stasifying snack!
Roasted Chickpeas or Edamame with Whole Fruit or Whole Grain Crackers/Pita Bread
Rethink legumes as a lunch or dinner only item! Roasted chickpeas or edamame are fun ways to get in some more fiber, plant based protein, and important vitamins and minerals.
Eat them as is, or pair with some fiber filled carbohydrates for added sustenance.
Whole Food Plant Based Snacks FAQ
Here’s some tips to keep in mind when you prep when making healthy whole food plant based snacks on the go:
1. Make It Less Processed. Keeping ingredients whole is in line with WFPB. This could mean plain nuts over oil roasted, sugary ones, apples instead of added sugar sweetened apple sauce… get the gist? When looking for ingredients to minimize, consider reducing added sugar (look for natural sugars instead), unhealthy oils (consider mostly whole food fats instead), and refined flours (ie: whole grain/intact grain over refined).
2. Know the 3 Satiating Factors- Fiber, Fat, Foods with Protein: These three things can help you feel more full, which is often what we want from a snack! An example of a WFPB snack with these 3 things is trail mix! The fruit contains fiber, and the nuts and seeds provide some fiber, protein, and fat.
3. Also Assess Your Hunger Level: Perhaps you just aren’t that hungry, but need a little something to tide you over for a even shorter period of time. Maybe an apple or other less complicated snack will due the trick?
In most circumstances, yes. WFPB tends to be vegan, so snacks would likely be as well. Remember WFPB does not have a set definition, so some people might be ok with including non vegan ingredients like honey, so make sure you read the ingredients if you are on a vegan diet!
Plant-based snack brands are hot! It seems like most major companies are slapping the plant based label on many of their snacks.
Why the increase in popularity? For one, there is a growing awareness of veganism, and accordingly, a demand for products (along with plant-based snack brands)!
Research also suggests that plant based diets are better for the environment in general(1).
With increases in global warming, extreme weather events, and climate change, consumers may be examining how their food choices impact the planet, and looking specifically for plant-based snacks to buy.
And finally, the health benefits of a appropriately planned vegetarian and vegan diet are becoming more well known, more and more consumers may be seeking out whole food plant based diet snacks(2).
1. Take advantage of sales.
2. Consider buying certain long lasting foods in bulk: Some dried fruits and nuts last longer than other foods. If you know you and your family will eat them, why not shop around for bulk savings?
3. Check out the bulk bins: Curious about a dried fruit you have never tried before? Bulk bins allow you to get a small amount without paying for a larger package!
In my books nut butters like peanut and almond butter! The main ingredients tend to come from plants. If you want one with no added salt or oil those are also available in many stores.
Did you find this article helpful? Discover that WFPB snacking doesn’t just mean raw nuts? What are your favorite healthy plant based snacks or easy vegan options to take on a road trip? Let us know in the comments below!
If you enjoyed this post, you might be interested in our other posts about snacks including:
Vegan Hiking Snacks
Vegan Snacks for School
Tattooed Chef Acai Bowl Review
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