What Plant-Based Pros Like to Eat for Snacks

By Dana Hudepohl,

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You’ve mastered the art of whole-food, plant-based breakfast, lunch, and dinner. But what to eat in between? We asked plant-based veterans what they like to nosh on so you can recreate their expert tips and tricks at home.

Dr. Shivam Joshi: Classic Fruit and Nut Combo

“I keep it simple. My favorite go-to snacks are fruits or nuts. They’re nature’s prepackaged snacks—ready to go! I love berries, mandarin oranges, and bananas. I may eat two or three bananas for a single snack. I buy nuts, like cashews, walnuts, and almonds, that are roasted and unsalted, and I sometimes make my own trail mix.” Shivam Joshi, MD, board-certified internal medicine physician at NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue and clinical assistant professor of medicine at NYU Grossman School of Medicine

Chef Darshana Thacker: Plant-Based Bhel

"One of my favorite snacks is an adaptation of bhel, a crunchy-savory snack from my childhood in India. First you chop up or coarsely mash a steamed russet potato—it can be warm or cold, and I always keep some on hand. Chop up 1 medium tomato, 1 Persian cucumber, and 2 tablespoons onion or scallions. Crumble three brown rice cakes over the top. Add ¼ cup chopped cilantro, 1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and a dash of your favorite hot sauce. Toss it like a salad and eat it right away, before the puffed rice gets soggy.” Darshana Thacker, Forks Over Knives culinary projects manager and author of Forks Over Knives: Flavor! 

Cathy Fisher: Crunchy Roasted Garbanzo Beans

“Crunchy roasted garbanzo beans remind me of the Corn Nuts that I loved as a kid. Drain 3 cups canned or home-cooked garbanzo beans, and gently pat dry with a paper towel. Place in a bowl, add 2 teaspoons each of paprika and granulated onion and garlic, and lightly toss. Or flavor any way you like. (I sometimes use curry powder for a change of pace.) Roast on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 40 minutes at 375°F. Turn the oven off and leave garbanzos inside for an hour to fully crisp. Store in an airtight container.” Cathy Fisher, author of the Straight Up Food cookbook and creator of straightupfood.com

Ashley Madden: Almond Butter and Fruit

“My easiest go-to snack is a tablespoon of almond butter smeared on a banana or an apple— nutritious, no cleanup, and great after a workout.”Ashley Madden, BSc(Pharm), CHN, ACPR, author of The Plant-Based Cookbook and creator of riseshinecook.ca

Chef Katie Simmons: Cucumber Boats

“Perfect for picnics or entertaining guests, Cucumber Boats come together super quickly and have a great crunch. I'll grab a pack of Persian cucumbers, cut them in half long-ways, and use a spoon to scoop out the center. Then fill with oil-free baba ghanoush (the Oasis brand is really good), or you can use oil-free hummus or guacamole. Top with some crunchy radish slices and a dash of smoked salt—so good! And if you don't like the spicy bite of radish, you can substitute sliced mushrooms, sliced celery, or halved grape tomatoes.”Katie Simmons, personal chef and creator of plants-rule.com

Heather McDougall: Baby Potatoes with Dipping Sauce

“I’ve been eating cooked baby potatoes as a healthy go-to snack since I was a little girl when my mom always had them in the fridge. When I was little, I preferred ketchup for dipping, but my favorites now are hummus, salsa, or Dijon mustard. I make dozens of potatoes at a time so I always have them available to snack on. Season with salt and pepper, a spice blend, or nothing at all. Boil 10 minutes, or roast or air-fry at 400ºF for about 20 minutes. They are delicious warm, room temperature, or cold.” Heather McDougall, CEO of The McDougall Program in Santa Rosa, California

Chef Del Sroufe: Sweet Potato Hummus Pockets 

“Sweet potato hummus is filling and full of flavor, and if you keep baked sweet potatoes on hand, then the recipe comes together in less than 10 minutes. Serve in a whole grain pita with sprouts and cucumber or as a dip for carrots, celery, cucumber, and red bell pepper. In a food processor, puree until creamy 4 cups peeled cooked sweet potatoes, 4 cloves garlic, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, ¼ cup tahini, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, and, if desired, 1½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper. The sweetness of the potatoes makes you think you’re eating a dessert!” Del Sroufe, plant-based chef and author of Forks Over Knives—The Cookbook and The China Study Family Cookbook

Dr. Columbus Batiste: Roasted Edamame

“I still have those moments of mindless snacking, but I’ve learned to replace chips and candy with healthier options. Apples and pears provide not only the crunch, but also the sweetness I received from candy. Roasted edamame provide the crunch and flavor I’m used to but are power-packed with nutrients: Mix edamame pods with ¼ cup nutritional yeast, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon each paprika, onion powder, and chili powder. Bake at 375°F for 20 to 30 minutes, turning every 10 minutes.” —Columbus Batiste, MD, FACC, FSCAI, interventional cardiologist and medical director of Southern California Permanente Medical Group Regional Home Based Cardiac Rehab Program

Dreena Burton: Popcorn Trail Mix

“I developed this Popcorn Trail Mix for our girls to bring to school as a snack, so it doesn’t include nuts, but you can easily substitute nuts for the seeds if you like. In a large container (with an airtight lid), add 10 to 12 cups of air-popped popcorn and 2 cups of whole-grain cereal, such as oat-based O’s or wheat squares. Add ⅓ cup raw or roasted pumpkin seeds, ⅓ cup dried apple slices, ⅓ cup roasted garbanzo beans (Editor’s Note: see instructions below for roasting), ⅓ cup raisins, 2 tablespoons goji berries or dried cranberries, and 3 tablespoons dairy-free chocolate chips. Portion into baggies for lunches, and enjoy!”—From Plant-Powered Snacks by Dreena Burton, author of award-winning cookbook Dreena's Kind Kitchen

Chef AJ: Air-Fried French Fries

“My favorite snack is air fries. Since I am a big fan of batch-cooking, I always have precooked potatoes and sweet potatoes on hand. I simply take one out from the fridge, cut it into wedges, and air-fry it at 400°F for 20 minutes. Super crunchy, filling, and satisfying!” Chef AJ, culinary instructor, chef, professional speaker, and author of Unprocessed: How to Achieve Vibrant Health and Your Ideal Weight 

Robby Barbaro: Lots of Fresh Fruits

“Growing up as a kid I used to love what I call ‘candy fruits’—strawberries covered in powdered sugar, mandarin oranges soaked in high fructose corn syrup. But now I've simplified my diet and discovered that natural, whole foods (like fruits) taste amazing all on their own! My go-to snack is portable fruit such as bananas, figs, grapes, cherries, blueberries, apples, raspberries, tangerines, blackberries, and strawberries—the list goes on! These are easy to find in just about any supermarket and don't require preparation other than a quick wash and peel—not to mention they’re packed with water, fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals to improve your metabolic health.” —Robby Barbaro, MPH, New York Times bestselling co-author of Mastering Diabetes

To learn more about a whole-food, plant-based diet, visit our Plant-Based Primer. For meal-planning support, check out Forks Meal Planner, FOK’s easy weekly meal-planning tool to keep you on a healthy plant-based path.

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About the Author

Headshot of Dana Hudepohl

About the Author

Dana Hudepohl

Dana Hudepohl is an Atlanta-based writer specializing in health. Her work has appeared in more than 40 national magazines, newspapers, and websites including O, the Oprah Magazine; Shape; Health; and The Wall Street Journal. A graduate of Stanford University, she enjoys listening to health podcasts while cooking plant-based meals for her family of four. Find her on LinkedIn.
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