Well, it’s officially September—and that means it’s back-to-school season! Whether you're packing treats for your kids' lunchboxes or heading off to college, this time of year can come with a side of stress. To keep students focused, it's important to keep those hard-working brains fueled with some delicious and nutritious plant-based food.
And let's be real: there’s nothing better than sneaking a tasty snack between meals.
But what kinds of snacks should you choose? Should you focus on healthy, whole foods or something a little more mouth-watering? Here at Compassion USA, we like to think a hearty mixture of both is in order to keep you or your kids happy and ready to learn!
So what exactly should you toss into your lunchbox or backpack? Try these plant-based power snacks:
Veggies and Hummus
Hummus is a plant-based eater's best friend—it’s basically the dog of the food world. Because it’s so versatile, it can accompany almost any flavor: Buffalo? Check. Roasted Garlic? Check. CHOCOLATE?! Check. Doesn’t matter what your taste buds prefer, there is a hummus for you! Pair with some carrots, celery, or cucumbers and you’re set.
Nothing is quite as energizing and nutritious as a simple piece of fruit. As we head into the cooler months, it’s soon to be a favorite time of year—apple-picking season! Find a local orchard and pick yourself a peck. Pears and grapes are also fall fresh but still mix in your regular fruits to keep it interesting. Try and buy organic when you can, they’ll taste better and have less pesticide residue!
Girl Scout Cookies
Are your children part of the Girl Scouts? Or maybe the local troop sets up shop outside your dorm? Well, feel free to indulge—many of their products are plant-based! Make that little girl’s day and buy a box of Thin Mints or Peanut Butter Patties for a mid-organic chemistry class pick-me-up. (Trust us, you’ll need it.)
Celery and Nut Butter
Good ole ants on a log harken nostalgia for many of us—but for those that don’t know, it's comprised of raisins on top of a peanut-butter-loaded celery stick. With all the different varieties of nut butter on the market these days, it’s easy to navigate any complicated peanut allergies!
Want a wholesome crunch? Try out roasted chickpeas. You can pick them up at the health food store, but they are easy enough to make at home! Season them with a little oil, salt, pepper, and cayenne, then bake in the oven at 450 degrees for 30-40 minutes until golden and crispy.
There’s a reason nature enthusiasts are so fond of trail mix—and it’s because it’s packed with energy! A mix of nuts, dried fruit, seeds, and sometimes chocolate (make sure it’s non-dairy!) might be the perfect way to fuel up before the next exam. Buy in bulk to keep it affordable and try different mixes to keep it interesting!
Whether you’re 12 or 82, our guess is that you probably enjoy fruit snacks. Let’s face it, they’re just delicious! While they may not be that good for your body, we choose to believe they are good for the soul. A note of caution, however: make sure to purchase a brand that doesn’t use gelatin in their ingredients. Gelatin is a food additive made from processed animal skin, cartilage, and bone—so steer clear!
Eating yogurt is a fantastic way to ensure your gut has the probiotics it needs to digest all the plants you’ve been eating. While there are lots of different brands out there to try, we recommend something with a coconut base for maximum creaminess.
It’s not just for the movies. Since popcorn is so light and airy, it will satisfy your need for crunch while not costing you too many calories—especially if you pop it yourself with an air popper (Add some nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavor with a protein punch)! Or pick up a plant-based packaged option at the grocery store!
Chia seeds may look small, but this superfood is loaded with protein, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and a whole host of essential vitamins and minerals. Nobody wants to chomp on plain chia seeds—luckily, it can be made into a tasty pudding with ease! Mix ⅓ cup of chia seeds with two cups of plant-based milk and a splash of vanilla extract and maple syrup, then leave it in the fridge overnight. By morning you’ll have a sweet and nutritious snack for whenever your brain needs it!
While we might not be able to help you or your kids with schoolwork, we hope these snack suggestions will at least help to get it done! What plant-based back-to-school snacks did we miss? Make sure to tell us @CompassionUSA on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!
And if you haven’t already, make sure to sign up for your weekly plant-based resources. Let’s #EatPlantsForAChange together!