Following a vegan and gluten-free diet can be challenging when it comes to finding tasty snacks. With so many pre-packaged snacks containing dairy, eggs, meat or wheat, it can be difficult to find convenient snacks that fit into a vegan and gluten-free lifestyle. However, there are still plenty of delicious plant-based, gluten-free snack options out there – you just have to know where to look! In this article, we will discuss what it means for a snack to be vegan and gluten-free, reasons someone may choose to follow these diets, and provide a comprehensive list of store-bought and homemade snacks that fit the criteria.
What Does It Mean for a Snack to Be Vegan?
For a snack to be considered vegan, it must not contain any animal products or byproducts. This means avoiding ingredients like:
- Meat, poultry, fish
- Dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt, etc)
- Some food colorings (cochineal, carmine)
Essentially, vegan snacks consist of solely plant-based ingredients. It’s important to always check the ingredient label when purchasing pre-packaged snacks to look for any hidden animal-derived ingredients. When in doubt, look for snacks specifically labelled as “vegan” or “plant-based”.
What Does It Mean for a Snack to Be Gluten-Free?
For a snack to be gluten-free, it must not contain any wheat, barley, rye or derivatives of those grains. This means avoiding ingredients like:
- Wheat (including varieties like spelt, farro, einkorn, khorasan wheat/kamut)
- Oats (unless certified gluten-free)
Gluten-free snacks are made using grains and flours like rice, corn, quinoa, buckwheat, millet, sorghum, amaranth, teff, cassava and nut flours instead. As with vegan snacks, it’s essential to read labels carefully to confirm snacks are gluten-free. Look for the words “gluten-free” on packaging or stick to naturally gluten-free whole foods.
Reasons for Following a Vegan and Gluten-Free Diet
There are several reasons someone may choose to follow a vegan and gluten-free diet, including:
- Food allergies or sensitivities – Some people have an allergy/intolerance to gluten or other components of wheat. Others may be allergic to milk or eggs.
- Celiac disease – Those with celiac disease require a 100% gluten-free diet.
- Inflammatory conditions – Diets without gluten or animal products may help reduce inflammation associated with some chronic illnesses.
- Digestive issues – Vegetarian diets high in fiber and low in fat may improve digestion. Removing gluten helps for those sensitive.
- Ecological reasons – Vegan diets promote more sustainable food systems and agricultural practices.
- Ethical concerns – Vegans seek to exclude all forms of animal exploitation and cruelty from their lifestyle.
Following a diet that is both vegan and gluten-free eliminates many common allergens and ingredients that cause negative reactions in people. It provides a healthy way of eating for those with multiple dietary needs and preferences.
Store-Bought Vegan & Gluten-Free Snacks
Fortunately, many stores now carry a wide array of pre-packaged vegan and gluten-free snacks. Here are some of the most common options:
Fruits & Vegetables
Fresh fruits and veggies make simple, portable snacks. Good options include:
- Apples, bananas, berries
- Baby carrots, snap peas, celery sticks
- Bell pepper slices, broccoli florets
- Guacamole, hummus, salsa with veggie sticks/chips
Granola Bars, Energy Bars & Cereal Bars
There are many brands offering vegan/gluten-free versions of granola bars, energy bars and cereal bars, such as:
- Kind Bars
- GoMacro Bars
- Perfect Bar
- NuGo Bars
- Pure Organic Bars
Always check labels for dairy-free and gluten-free confirmation.
Trail Mix & Dried Fruit
Homemade or pre-packaged dried fruit and nut/seed mixes make satisfying crunchy snacks.
- Dried fruit (mango, pineapple, raisins, apricots, apples, etc)
- Raw nuts and seeds (almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc)
- Unsweetened coconut flakes
Again, read labels to verify no milk, honey or gluten ingredients are included.
Many brands offer vegan microwave popcorn or ready-to-eat popcorn bags. Choose plain varieties without cheese or butter flavors. Good options include:
- Smartfood Delight
- Boom Chicka Pop
- Lesser Evil
- Skinny Pop
You can also easily make homemade stovetop popcorn using oil and seasonings.
There are an array of vegan and gluten-free cracker options made from grains like rice, quinoa, buckwheat, etc. Some popular brands include:
- Mary’s Gone Crackers
- Good Thins
- Blue Diamond Nut Thins
- Siete Cassava Flour Tortilla Chips
Snack & Nut Butter Spreads
Nut and seed butters, hummus, tapenade and bean dips make good vegan gluten-free dips for crackers and vegetable sticks. Choose brands without added wheat or dairy products.
Protein & Granola Bars
Many companies offer high-protein, gluten-free granola and nutrition bars that are also dairy-free and vegan. Look for ones based on nuts, seeds, rice, quinoa and pea protein.
Potato chips and other veggie crisps are usually vegan and gluten-free, but always verify the ingredients. Good brands include:
- Food Should Taste Good Multigrain Chips
- Terra Exotic Vegetable Chips
- Jackson’s Honest Potato Chips
- Root Veggie Chips
- Way Better Snacks
Dark chocolate bars made with 60% cocoa or higher are naturally vegan and gluten-free. Some good ethical, organic brands include:
- Alter Eco
- Theo Chocolate
- Endangered Species
- Equal Exchange
Non-dairy yogurts made from soy, coconut, almond and other nuts/seeds are widely available. Good options include:
- Silk Soy Yogurt
- Kite Hill Almond Milk Yogurt
- So Delicious Coconut Milk Yogurt
- Forager Cashewgurt
Many brands now offer rich, creamy vegan-friendly ice cream, gelato and sorbet made from plant milks and oils. Check for gluten-free varieties.
Prepared Snacks & Desserts
The freezer section features gluten-free vegan versions of comfort foods and sweet treats like pizza pockets, noodles, cookies, sweets and more. Explore and read labels.
Homemade Vegan & Gluten-Free Snacks
Preparing your own snacks at home using fresh ingredients is a cost-effective way to control ingredients. Here are some easy homemade snack ideas:
Make bite-sized no-bake treats by combining:
- Nut butters (almond, sunflower seed, cashew)
- Rolled gluten-free oats
- Dried fruit – dates, raisins, cranberries
- Seeds – chia, hemp, flax
- Shredded coconut
- Cocoa or cacao powder
- Maple syrup or agave to bind
Roll into balls and chill in the fridge.
Create customized crunchy trail mixes with:
- Raw nuts – almonds, walnuts, pecans, cashews
- Seeds – pumpkin, sunflower, hemp, chia
- Dried fruit – mango, pineapple, cherries, apricots
- Unsweetened shredded coconut
- Dark chocolate chips
Mix up your favorite combinations and portion into bags.
Make chewy granola bars with:
- Rolled oats
- Rice cereal or quinoa flakes
- Chopped nuts and seeds
- Dried fruit like raisins, cranberries or apricots
- Nut butter
- Maple syrup or agave
- Pinch of salt
Press tightly into a pan and slice into bars.
Toss plain popped corn kernels with seasonings like:
- Nutritional yeast
- Onion powder
- Garlic powder
- Cayenne pepper
- Sea salt
Or drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.
Drain and roast canned chickpeas tossed with oil and spices like:
- Chili powder
- Curry powder
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
Toss raw almonds, cashews, walnuts, pecans, etc with oil and spices and roast until crispy.
Sauces & Dips
Blend up bean dips and nut-based sauces to dip veggies into like:
- White bean dip
- Almond butter sauce
- Sunflower seed butter sauce
Banana Soft Serve
Blend frozen bananas into a creamy “ice cream” and add toppings like:
- Chopped nuts
- Coconut flakes
- Cacao nibs
- Chia seeds
Fruit & Yogurt Parfaits
Layer non-dairy yogurt with fresh fruit and gluten-free granola.
Blend up refreshing smoothies with plant milks and ingredients like:
- Spinach or kale
- Nut butter
- Chia seeds
- Cocoa powder
Arrange dips like hummus, guacamole or nut butter with cut veggies and gluten-free crackers on a tray for an easy snack board.
Tips for Success on a Vegan & Gluten-Free Diet
Here are some helpful tips for finding snacks and succeeding on a vegan and gluten-free diet:
- Get familiar with reading food labels so you can identify animal and gluten ingredients
- Stock up on naturally gluten-free whole foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, rice
- Meal prep homemade snacks like energy bites, trail mix and roasted chickpeas for grab-and-go options
- Try new whole grains like quinoa, buckwheat, millet that offer variety from rice and corn
- Experiment with dairy and egg substitutes like non-dairy milks and vegan butter, mayo, cheese, yogurt, ice cream
- Check labels for “vegan” and “gluten-free” designations to identify suitable products when shopping
- Choose snacks with a balanced macro ratio and include protein for sustained energy
- Satisfy crunchy cravings with popcorn, crispy chickpeas, roasted nuts and seeds
- Look for gluten-free oats labeled as “certified gluten-free” if including oats
- Buy snacks like granola bars and trail mixes in bulk for convenience and to save money
- Seek out recipes for homemade, healthier versions of favorite snack foods
With the right knowledge and preparation, it’s entirely possible to maintain a nutritious snacks regimen as part of a vegan and gluten-free lifestyle. Emphasize whole foods, vary your snacks for interest, and learn to love new plant-based specialty products that fit your dietary needs. With an abundance of delicious options to choose from, going without isn’t necessary – eat plenty of tasty snacks to nourish your body throughout the day!
Following a vegan and gluten-free diet opens up a world of nourishing, plant-based snacking opportunities. With fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, plant-based protein bars and ready-to-eat snacks from the store, or easy homemade trail mixes, energy bites and roasted chickpeas, you can create endless snack combinations. Just remember to thoroughly read labels, shop in the designated specialty aisles when possible, stock your kitchen with gluten-free whole foods, and get creative with DIY snacks. A little preparation goes a long way in setting yourself up for hassle-free snacking success on a vegan and gluten-free lifestyle.