When making the transition to a more sustainable lifestyle, food can be one of the most challenging aspects. Specifically, I found zero waste snacks to be difficult.
While it might seem like it would be an easy switch, I was so used to buying processed, packaged food for snacking-on-demand that I struggled a bit. That being said, I’m getting into the swing of things. It just takes a little planning and some creativity to make it work.
All of the ideas that I’m sharing today are vegetarian and gluten free, as those are the dietary choices I follow (vegetarian by choice, gluten free by necessity). Additionally, I have very limited access to bulk bins in my area, so none of the options are bulk suggestions like mixed nuts or trail mix.
I love and enjoy all of these vegetarian and gluten free zero waste snacks, and I hope you do too!
Popcorn is possibly one of the easiest zero waste snacks ever. The typical popcorn you might think of comes in a microwavable bag with a plastic-coated lining, but I’m referring to stove top popcorn. Once you try it you’ll never want to go back to the microwave version!
The recipe is super simple:
- Melt 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil in a big pot with a lid. Be sure to use a pot that is big enough to prevent overflow while the popcorn is popping.
- Once the oil is melted, add three kernels to the pot. Shake the pot to coat the kernels in oil. Put the lid on and wait for all three of the kernels to pop. Once they’ve popped, you know that the oil is hot enough.
- Add approximately 1/2 cup of kernels to the pot. Shake the pot to coat the kernels in oil and replace the lid, leaving it slightly ajar to allow steam to escape.
- Every 30 seconds or so, shake the pot to prevent the popcorn from burning. Once there is several seconds between pops, take the pot off the heat
Then comes the fun part: seasoning! I’m personally a fan of good old-fashioned butter and salt, but there’s countless options. This blog post has some great ideas.
I buy my popcorn from the bulk section of a local food co-op, but you can easily find popcorn in huge bags online or at local stores. It keeps for a long time, so buying a big bag and storing it in an airtight container is a great way to reduce packaging waste.
I looooove roasted chickpeas. They’re delicious!
I like to make a big batch on Sunday and snack on them throughout the week.While they taste best warm and fresh out of the oven, they will keep for 3-5 days if stored in an airtight container. Just be sure to let them cool completely before packing them up otherwise they could get soggy.
I personally use Madeleine Olivia’s recipe from her YouTube channel, which can be found here. The chickpea portion of the video starts around 3:10.
Her recipe calls for canned chickpeas, but I’ve only ever made it with soaked but not cooked chickpeas from bulk. I imagine that either way would work fine!
This recipe is also one that could have a million different flavor profiles. Experiment and see what you like best!
Veggies and Hummus
Hummus is a classic zero waste snack. It’s tasty, protein packed, and there’s tons of options for customization (do you see a theme here?). Immy from Sustainably Vegan made a beautiful video sharing three hummus recipes that I use to make my hummus. I use her basic recipe as a guideline and customize it from there. It’s a little different each time I make it, but it’s always delicious.
The hummus pairs nicely with chopped up carrots, broccoli, and peppers, but you can dip pretty much anything in it.
Bonus: I also love mixing it with pasta for a super easy zero waste meal!
No list is complete without the OG zero waste snack: fruit.
The options here are endless. You can usually find oranges, apples, and bananas unpackaged at the grocery store, but I also love hitting up the farmer’s market and local fruit patches in the summer to get produce like strawberries that typically come in plastic packaging.
One thing to consider here is the carbon footprint of your fruit: always try to buy in-season and locally grown produce when possible. It will taste better and have a lower impact on the planet!
Last on the list, but certainly not least, is granola. Granola is super versatile and can be eaten in a variety of ways: on top of ice cream, mixed into yogurt, or on its own (just to name a few)! It also is endlessly customizable. A simple Google search will pull up many different flavor combinations that are sure to please any palate. My personal favorite is this peanut butter granola recipe, but I also love experimenting with new combinations.
What are your favorite zero waste snacks? Be sure to let me know in the comments below and pin this post for later!