If you aren’t familiar with Veganuary, allow me to fill you in: Veganuary is a month-long challenge that encourages people all around the world to try adopting a vegan and plant-forward lifestyle.
There are a slew of reasons why many people choose to switch to a vegan diet, including the documented health benefits (reduced inflation and improved digestion just to name a select few), animal rights, and minimizing the environmental impact of our diets. In fact, some researchers at the University of Oxford found that eliminating meat and dairy products from one’s diet could significantly help reduce the individual’s carbon footprint.
Back in the day (even just five years ago, in fact), following a plant-based lifestyle wasn’t exactly easy if you wanted to eat our at restaurants find vegan snacks that didn’t actually taste like, well, plants. Fortunately, in recent years, a plethora of new plant-based foods have popped up on grocery store shelves, restaurants, and online retailers, so eating vegan has never been easier or more fun.
Even if you aren’t ready to commit to going entirely vegan, try a few of these snacks and I’m pretty sure you’ll be hooked—or at least that eating plant-based is 100 percent doable. Plus, new online shopping destinations like Bubble Goods and PlantBelly are excellent places to discover new indie brands to try. Here are some of my sweet and salty favorites that are equally nutritious and delicious.
Blake's Seed Based Rice Crispy Treats – Birthday Cake
These gooey, crunchy rice crispy treats are studded with sunflower, pumpkin, and flax seeds, adding a healthy, hearty boost to a nostalgic kid-friendly sweet treat. You might not have guessed, but Rice Krispie treats aren't vegan because the puffed rice cereal is fortified with vitamin D3 derived from animals
12 Tides Organic Puffed Kelp Chips
Conveniently curved for efficient dipping, these puffed kelp chips taste great on their own too, and aren't nearly as crumbly or greasy as most chips. I love the light, crispy texture and the kelp adds a nuanced, earthy umami flavor. Plus, farmed kelp is one of the most sustainable ingredients out there, removing carbon from the ocean and absorbing excess nitrogen too.
Founder Pat Schnettler previously worked in industrial aquaculture and saw firsthand the destruction that commercial fishing does to the oceans. With 12 Tides, he's combatting the overfishing, pollution, and coastline destruction he witnessed by creating a healthy ocean snack that doesn't disturb the ocean's natural ecosystem.
Clusterbucks Grain-Free Superfood Clusters
These grain-free granola clusters are made with sprouted buckwheat, a sustainable cover crop that's also a powerful plant-based protein. They're super crunchy and ideal for sprinkling on yogurt or acai bowls, but if I'm being totally honest, I also just devour the chocolate reishi and turmeric lemon myrtle clusters straight from the bag.
Light in texture, but big on flavor, popped water lily seeds have been a popular Ayurvedic snack in India for thousands of years, but only recently have they become popular in the United States. Mother-son duo Asha and Jai Farswani source their water lily seeds from small family farms in India, then season and pop them to perfection in Los Angeles.
Turmeric garlic is my personal favorite, but the vegan cheese made with nutritional yeast is excellent as well and there are even dark chocolate dusted AshaPops for chocoholics. The bags are resealable, so they're super portable, but I always finish mine in one sitting.
Three Dads Natural Foods Vegan Superfood Popcorn
The cheesy-tasting nutritional yeast blend on Three Dads superfood popcorn will coat your fingers like Cheeto dust, but this dairy-free vegan dust is so much better, chock full of B vitamins, protein and fiber.
Plus, the organic corn kernels are popped by air rather than oil, and sourced from a family farm in California. I can sprinkle nutritional yeast on my popcorn at home, but there's still a je ne sais quoi to Three Dads that makes it even better.
Sweetduet Organic Chocolate Dipped Dates
Dates are a popular ingredient in protein bars and vegan desserts because they are a natural sweetener with notes of honey and caramel. I love snacking on frozen dates at home and throwing them in smoothies. Here, they're dipped in a pure unsweetened 100 percent chocolate for an indulgent dessert bite that tastes like chocolate-dipped caramel fudge without any added sugars.
TCHO recently replaced all of their milk chocolate bars with plant-based dairy alternatives and debuted colorful new packaging for new flavors like Choco Latte and Toffee Time, made with cashew butter, oat milk and vegan toffee pieces.
Now their entire retail line is vegan, and the Berkeley-based bean-to-bar chocolate maker achieved Certified B Corp status last year too, so you can feel good about the social and environmental impact of satisfying your sweet tooth.
Sacred Serve Plant-Based Gelato
I'm a gelato fiend and Sacred Serve makes the richest, creamiest plant-based gelato I've ever tasted. Coconuts are the secret ingredient, with a combination of certified organic and fair-trade young coconut meat, coconut sugar, and unrefined coconut oil forming the base for all flavors.
Other superfoods like matcha, raw cacao, rose water, maca root, and saffron make an appearance too, in flavors like Chaga chocolate, saffron chai spice, and matcha mint chip. The shortlist of real food ingredients makes this dessert feel pretty damn virtuous.
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