Keeping vegetarian snacks available allows you to provide your family with healthy, often cholesterol-free items to munch on between meals. If you are hosting guests who are vegetarians, you may need to ask whether or not they will eat dairy and egg products. They also may avoid animal products entirely, a practice known as veganism.
Finger foods are a favorite among kids, and items they can stack into their own snack combinations get them involved in the food creation process. The basics of stacks are a cracker, a spread, a cut vegetable and a leaf vegetable. Put the spread on the cracker and top with the veggies. Combinations might include whole wheat crackers with black bean spread, sliced tomatoes and small pieces of leaf lettuce, or rice crackers spread with hummus and topped with cucumber and a baby spinach leaf. Seasoned crackers, cream cheese, tomato and basil also make a good combination.
Even better than finger food is food on a stick. Spear a selection of veggies on long skewers and serve them with your family's favorite dips. Cherry tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and green peppers make a good combination, or mix and match fruits and veggies like apples, jicama and thinly sliced ginger. For a sweeter snack, try an all-fruit skewer with grapes, and chunks of cantaloupe and watermelon.
Spread a flour tortilla with canned refried or black beans, then sprinkle with cheese and salsa. Top it with another tortilla and heat in a skillet for just a few minutes on each side, slice and serve. Substitute vegan cheese, if necessary, or microwave quesadillas for faster snacks.
The Ant Variations
Peanut-butter filled celery sticks topped with raisins, also known as ants on a log, are a quick and easy vegetarian snack. You don't have to stop there, however. Halved apples filled with peanut or almond butter and raisins are sweeter than celery, or go for a lower-fat route and fill your celery or apples with yogurt topped with granola. If your kids will eat it, guacamole makes a rich celery filling; top it with olives or sunflower seeds. Check that no guests have allergies to nuts before serving nut butters.
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- "The Joy of Cooking"; I. Rombauer and M. Rombauer Becker; 1973
- Vegetarian Diets: A Dietician's Guide
- Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images