One of the first food items people give up when trying to eat healthier are highly processed snacks. If you’re someone who loves all things crunchy and salty, this may be one of the toughest and more necessary things you do on your path to a healthier lifestyle. Luckily, eating healthier doesn’t mean that you have to eschew those foods entirely. More Americans than ever before are ditching overly processed packaged goods and instead choosing less processed, whole, and “clean” options that are better for our bodies.
Ever since 2016 was named International Year of the Pulses by the United Nations, it seems like beans are showing up everywhere — including our snacks. It sounds weird, we know, but not only are beans good for us (they’re high in fiber, low in calories, and high in protein), they also happen to make fantastic snacks. When roasted until crispy and then seasoned, they can be a great replacement for less healthy, crunchy snacks that you might be trying to avoid. And, bonus, they can also be used to make sweet snacks!
If you’re looking to get your hands on the bean snack goodness, but don’t know where to begin, then don’t worry — we’ve got you. Check out these 10 high-protein, bean-based snacks!
BRAMI Lupini Beans Snack, Starter Pack, 4 Pouches
If you grew up in an Italian family, you’re probably already familiar with lupini beans — they’re those big beans that come in jars of vinegar that always show up on the appetizer table at family holidays. With this BRAMI Lupini Beans Snack Starter Pouch, you can take them on the go in four gluten-free, soy-free, and non-GMO flavors — sea salt, garlic and herb, chili lime, and hot pepper. According to the company, lupini beans have the “most protein per calorie of any plant on earth” and contain “80 percent fewer calories than almonds, 50 percent more protein than chickpeas, and 2.6 times more minerals than coconut water.”
Enlightened Roasted Broad (Fava) Bean Crisp Snack, Variety Pack
Need a low-calorie snack that you can take on the go? Try this Enlightened Roasted Broad Bean Crisp Snack Variety Pack. This pack comes with 24 bags in eight flavors: white BBQ, cocoa-dusted, garlic and onion, mesquite BBQ, sea salt, Sriracha, sweet cinnamon, and wasabi. Each pack comes with 1 100-calorie serving of broad beans that have been roasted in sunflower oil and then seasoned. According to the company, each serving contains “7g protein, 5g fiber, and only 1g sugar in each healthy serving; they’re also non-GMO project verified, gluten-free, and vegan.” They also recommend trying them as an alternative to croutons!
Eda-Zen Cruncha ma-me Edamame Veggie Snack, Jalapeno
Fans of spicy snacks will likely want to try this Eda-Zen Cruncha ma-me Edamame Veggie Snack in Jalapeño. Each bag contains crispy freeze-dried edamame (seasoned with jalapeño powder, chili powder, garlic powder, and more) that’s gluten-free, non-GMO, and minimally processed. According to the company, “we use the highest quality premium non-GMO edamame and veggies to provide an ideal balance of complete plant-based protein, fiber, complex carbohydrates, mono-unsaturated fats, and powerful anti-oxidants.” Amazon reviewer M. Fletcher was a big fan, stating that “I found the cruncha-ma-me to be much more crisp and crunchy than dry-roasted edamame. It also finishes with an amazingly creamy texture that is just a delight. The flavor is much “greener” tasting than dry-roasted edamame as well.”
You can pick up this box of eight 0.8-ounce bags for around $13.
The Good Bean Roasted Chickpea Snacks, Six-Flavor Variety Pack
Roasted chickpeas are a great way to have a healthy snack that’ll satisfy your craving for something crunchy. If you don’t have the time to make them at home, try this six-flavor variety pack of The Good Bean Roasted Chickpea Snacks. This box comes with six 5-ounce bags in sea salt, smoky chili lime, sweet cinnamon, Thai coconut lemongrass, mesquite BBQ, and chocolate. Each flavor is gluten-free, nut-free, Kosher, and non-GMO. According to the company, “one serving has as much protein as almonds, as much fiber as two cups of broccoli and as much folate as three cups of spinach.” Amazon reviewer L.E.D. says “I really enjoy these. They are very crunchy, and I can see why some are upset and say they are too hard to eat. But any dried bean snack is like that. It is a great, healthy, grab-and-go snack for busy people who are concerned about eating better,” but highlights that the product is a little expensive.
If you’d like to these chickpea snacks, you can pick up a box of six 6-ounce pouches for about $30.
KALA Tropical Curry Beans
Get ready for summer flavors with these KALA Tropical Curry Beans. Each 5-ounce bag of roasted fava beans is seasoned with curry spice and lime juice for a spicy-zesty blend of flavors that’s gluten-free, trans-fat-free, high in protein, and a good source of fiber. This snack also comes in a resealable bag, so you can feel free to snack at whim when you’re on the go without worrying about beans spilling in your bag. Amazon reviewer Allison Kuta likes that the bags are reasonably portioned: “The serving size is reasonable for a snack at 1/3 cup and 140 calories. The bag has about 5 servings.” However, she believes that “For the price, I think I can find other snacks.” If you’d like to try these, you can pick up a 5-ounce bag for about $10.
Saffron Road Falafel Crunchy Chickpeas
Get your falafel flavor without the falafel. These Saffron Road Falafel Crunchy Chickpeas are made from chickpeas that have been roasted and then seasoned with Middle Eastern spices. They’re gluten-free, organic, non-GMO, and a good source of protein with 6 grams per serving. Amazon reviewers, in general, are fans of these, although some point out that they are a little dry. Maria Jim recommends trying them as an alternative to croutons in addition to eating them as snacks. If you’d like to try these, you can pick up a single 6-ounce bag for about $7 or a 3-pack for $22.
Seapoint Farms Crunchy Coated Premium Black Edamame Sea Salt
Love to keep things simple? Try these Seapoint Farms Crunchy Coated Premium Black Edamame Sea Salt! These crunchy edamame snacks are made from roasted, non-GMO black soybeans that have been seasoned simply with just sea salt. It’s also gluten-free, low in calories, and an excellent source of protein, iron, and calcium. According to Amazon reviewer Lilly Edens, these are “a great combo of salty, crunchy and slightly sweet. Nicely filling treat for when you get those between meal munches.” If you’d like to try these, you can pick up a two-pack of 3.5-ounce bags for about $12.
World Peas Fava Bean Crisps in Texas BBQ
Bored of just straight-up bean snacks? Give these World Peas Fava Bean Crisps in Texas BBQ a try! According to the company, these gluten-free, non-GMO, crisps contain 110 calories and 5 grams of protein per serving and a portion of the profits are donated towards youth initiatives around the world. According to Amazon reviewer Black Guppy, “These are tasty and a good alternative to crunchy snacks that are cooked in canola or other vegetable oils with high Omega 6 content. I’m only giving 4 stars because I’d like to see the “vinegar” taste toned down a bit… and I think the price is a bit high.” Others have chimed in on the price being high, but generally, reviewers love them as a healthier alternative to crunchy snacks. If you’d like to try these, you can pick up a 5.3-ounce bag for $3.50 or a 3-pack for $10.50.
Don't Go Nuts Nut-Free Organic Roasted Soybean Spread Dips in Chocolate
This Don’t Go Nuts Nut-Free Organic Roasted Soybean Spread Dips in Chocolate isn’t your typical bean-based snack. Organic, non-GMO soybeans are roasted, then blended with cocoa powder for a rich, chocolatey indulgence that’s better for you than it tastes. Founder by a mother with severe food allergies, this product is free from peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, eggs, dairy, sesame, coconut, artificial or GMO ingredients and is made in a dedicated peanut-free, tree nut-free, gluten-free facility. It was also the winner of Best Spread in Delicious Living’s 2016 Best Bite Awards. According to the company, it contains “2x more Protein and 2/3 less sugar than chocolate hazelnut spreads.”
Make Your Own!
Of course, you can always make your own bean snacks at home! These Buffalo Roasted Chickpeas are delicious and made from just three ingredients — hot sauce, vegan butter, and chickpeas! Or, try these Oven-Roasted Chickpea Snacks seasoned with smoky cumin and then read 10 Ways to Use Chickpeas to Make Flavorful, Zesty Snacks and Dishes! for even more ideas.
Love edamame? Try this Spicy Garlic Edamame. Or, if you have a sweet tooth, try this Chocolate Cookie Dough Dip made from black beans or this Chickpea Cookie Dough — you would never guess that they’re made from beans!
For even more healthy snack recipes, vegan meals, we highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App. For those that don’t have it, it’s a brilliant food app available for both Android and iPhone. It’s a great resource for anyone looking to cut out or reduce allergens like meat, dairy, soy, gluten, eggs, grains, and more find awesome recipes, cooking tips, articles, product recommendations and how-tos. The app shows you how having diet/health/food preferences can be full of delicious abundance rather than restriction!
Lead image source: Buffalo Roasted Chickpeas