15 Zero Waste Snacks For Every Cravings & Budget

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Zero waste snacks will lessen your impact on the planet, help you save money, and live a healthier life!

Typical snacks from groceries such as pastries, chips, chocolate bars, and etc. are wrapped with single-use plastic.

These products are also costly and most of them contains too much sugar, preservatives, artificial flavors, and other ingredients that can harm your health.

So we made a list of 15 simple, affordable, and healthy zero waste snacks that you can easily prepare in minutes.

But first…

What qualifies as zero waste snacks?

Zero-waste snacks should have the following criteria:

  • Snacks without plastic packaging
  • Should be from the fresh produce section
  • Available in bulk orders
  • Zero waste snacks should be easy to prepare
  • Convenient to carry in trips, school, or office
  • Can be easily stored and doesn’t spoil fast

Here are our top 15 zero-waste snack ideas you and your kids (if you have kids) will enjoy.

1. Fresh fruits and vegetables

Zero-Waste-Snack-Ideas-Fresh-Fruits-And-Vegetables

Fresh fruits and vegetables are the best examples of zero-waste snacks.

They are also one of the best vegan zero waste snacks and preparing them is not complicated at all.

Some fresh fruit and veggies you can eat immediately right off the fridge.

Others may require peeling, slicing, or some garnishing but they shouldn’t take a couple of minutes to prepare.

Fresh fruits and veggies are not only super healthy but they’re also affordable.

Another good thing about this zero waste snack idea?

You can compost all wastes from fruit and vegetable snacks.

There are many benefits of composting and it is also very easy to do at home.

You just need a compostable trash bag, an indoor compost bin or a compost pile, and water.

Here are a few examples of fruits and vegetables that are very easy to prepare:

  • apple
  • banana
  • orange
  • mango
  • melon
  • watermelon
  • turnip
  • cucumber
  • lettuce
  • carrots

Some vegetables are better blanched first before serving. These are very healthy vegetable snacks:

  • brocolli
  • cauliflower
  • okra
  • sweet potato leaves
  • spinach

You can be creative in serving these fruit and vegetable snacks. You can offer them altogether if you want.

2. Fruit or vegetable salad

Fruit-Or-Vegetable-Salad-Fruit

Put all the fresh fruit cutlets together to create a more exciting snack. Here are the ingredients:

  • Apple cutlets
  • Pineapple cutlets
  • Peach cutlets
  • Corn bits
  • Melon cutlets
  • Shredded Coconut
  • All-purpose cream
  • Condensed milk

Note: Buy condensed milk and all-purpose cream with recyclable packaging.

Procedure:

  • Mix all the fruit cutlets with all-purpose cream and condensed milk.
  • Freeze or chill for 2 hours before serving.

Fruit salads are sweet. On the other hand, vegetable salads are usually made with vinaigrette.

Fruit-Or-Vegetable-Salad-Vegetable

Here’s an example of a vegetable salad recipe:

Ingredients

  • Lettuce
  • Cucumber
  • Tomato
  • Onion

For the dressing

  • Lemon juice
  • Olive oil
  • Salt 
  • Ground pepper

Procedure:

  • Cut the lettuce, cucumber, tomato, and onions into small pieces and put them all together in a bowl
  • Mix the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper in another bowl.
  • Mix the vegetables and dressing together

We have chosen the simplest recipe we can find. There are more recipes online for fruit and vegetable salad that you can check.

3. Fermented vegetables snacks

Fermented-Vegetables

The fermenting of vegetables is very traditional, and every country has its version. It is probiotic-rich, simple to make, and can be stored for a long time.

Since we are all invaded by Korean culture, we decided to use the classic Kimchi as an example. It is not the easiest recipe, but it will be worth it, especially for those who like spicy food.

Here are the ingredients:

  • Napa cabbage
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Scallions
  • Korean or daikon radish
  • Distilled or filtered water
  • Iodine-free sea salt or Kosher salt
  • Granulated sugar
  • Fish sauce or salted shrimp paste
  • Korean red pepper flakes

Procedure:

  • Cut the cabbage lengthwise through the stem and then crosswise into bitesize pieces.
  • Place the cabbage in a bowl and massage it with salt. Put enough water to submerge the cabbage and use a plate to push the cabbage down for an hour or two.
  • While waiting, make the spice paste by mixing the minced garlic and ginger, sugar, fish sauce, shrimp paste, or water into a smooth paste. Add the Korean red pepper flakes according to your desired spiciness.
  • Rinse the cabbage in cold water three times, then set aside 15 to 20 minutes. 
  • Squeeze the remaining water from the cabbage and add the chopped radish and scallions. Add the spice paste.
  • Mix the ingredients thoroughly with your hands to ensure that all the vegetables are coated with the spice paste.
  • Pack the Kimchi in a jar and press it down until the brine rises by at least an inch. Seal the jar and let it ferment for five days at most at room temperature. Refrigerate it when it is ready, and enjoy it anytime.

Kimchi can be stored for months in the refrigerator, and always use clean utensils every time you eat it. There are many examples of easier recipes for fermented vegetables online. 

4. Sweet potato fries

Sweet-Potato-Fries

Sweet potato fries can be cooked by frying or baking. We decided to choose oven-baked sweet potato fries for less oil and healthier output for this recipe.

Ingredients:

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Cornstarch
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Vegetable oil

Procedure:

  • Peel and cut the sweet potato into strips. Coat it with cornstarch to have a crisp after baking.
  • Add vegetable oil, salt, and pepper. Mix well.
  • Bake the sweet potato in a preheated oven at 425° F for 20 minutes. Take them out, flip them, and then put them back for another 15 minutes.  
  • Serve with your desired dressing.

Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin A keeping your eyes healthy and good for your immune system. It is also suitable for your heart and kidneys.

5. Zero waste potato chips

Homemade-Potato-Chips

Homemade potato chips are the go-to snack and one of the most uncomplicated comfort food. 

Instead of buying it from the stores, we recommend cooking your own because the ones available at the stores have eco-unfriendly packaging.

Here are the ingredients:

  • Potatoes 
  • Salt

Procedure:

  • Thinly slice the potatoes. Peeling is optional. 
  • Put them in a bowl of water to remove as much starch as possible.
  • Rinse the potatoes, put them back in cold water, add salt, and stir. Leave for 30 minutes.
  • Pat the potatoes dry before deep-frying. Cook them for two minutes, then place them in a paper towel to remove excess oil.
  • Serve with your desired dressing.

Potatoes can help you lose weight because it is full of fiber. It can also help prevent heart diseases by keeping safe cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

6. Homemade hash brown

Hash-Brown

Hashbrowns, another potato recipe that you could also serve in your breakfast, can be modified according to your taste. Here’s a simple recipe that you can try at home.

Ingredients:

  • Potatoes
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Cheese
  • all-purpose flour

Procedure:

  • Peel the potatoes, then grate them.
  • Put them in a bowl of water to remove as much starch as possible.
  • Use a clean table cloth to dry the grated potatoes, then fry them a bit for 4-5 minutes in medium heat.
  • After cooling down the grated potatoes, add salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, cheese, and all-purpose flour. Mix well.
  • Grab a small portion of the mixture, form it into a hashbrown, and fry until golden brown.
  • Serve with your desired dressing.

Note: You can store uncooked hashbrowns in your freezer or chiller for your next snack.

7. Kale vegan chips

Kale-Chips

Kale is super nutritious, and it is a good thing you can turn it into a snack. It is incredibly easy to make with very few ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • Kale
  • Salt
  • Olive oil

Procedure:

  • Destem your kale and cut it into bite-size pieces.
  • Put the kale in a bowl and add oil and salt.
  • Spread the kale out on a large baking sheet and bake until crisp.
  • Serve and enjoy.

You can store your kale chips for two days at most. 

Kale has a lot of health benefits that will make it your snack of choice. It can help you prevent cancer, supports heart health, and improves vision and brain health.

Here is another popular way of making crispy kale chips by Food Network.

8. Homemade popcorn

Popcorn

Popcorn is one of easiest zero-waste snack on this list.

Everybody enjoys popcorn for any particular reason.

Ingredients:

  • Popcorn kernels
  • Salt

Procedure:

  • Put popcorn kernels in a pan with olive oil on high heat, cover it with the lid, and shake the pan continuously. Wait for all the kernels to pop.
  • Add salt and serve.

Popcorn is perfect when you are watching movies with your family. It is easy to tweak to make it more exciting.

Depending on your taste, you can add flavors like caramel, cheese, sour cream, or barbeque. 

For reference, Zero Waste Chef made a detailed instruction on making homemade popcorn here.

9. Homemade chocolate chip cookies

Homemade-Chocolate-Chip-Cookies

Cookies will never go out of trend, especially for kids. Even adults won’t resist cookies, so it is better if we can have them anytime we want.

Make as many cookies as possible because everyone in the family will consume them in no time. 

Check these simple ingredients:

  • Organic salted butter
  • White and light brown sugar
  • Organic vanilla extract
  • Egg
  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking soda
  • salt
  • Chocolate chips

Procedure:

  • Melt the butter and mix it with the sugar until it gets creamy. Add vanilla and egg and continue to mix for a few seconds.
  • Add the flour, baking soda, and salt to form the dough. Grab a golf ball size portion and add the chocolate chips. Continue until all the dough is consumed.
  • Roll the dough on a cookie sheet and bake them for 9-11 minutes until they look puffy, dry, and barely golden.
  • Let them rest for 30 minutes before serving.

These cookies are also perfect for gift ideas. Make sure that you package them responsibly with eco-friendly materials.

10. Homemade banana muffins

Homemade-Banana-Muffins

Another treat for the kids and the kids at heart is this homemade banana muffin recipe that everyone will enjoy as it is delicious, healthy, and irresistible.

Ingredients:

  • Bananas
  • Butter
  • Eggs
  • Baking soda
  • Salt
  • White and brown sugar
  • Wheat flour

Procedure

  • Mash the bananas and combine them with melted butter. Add the beaten eggs one at a time.
  • Mix the dry ingredients in another bowl.
  • Combine the wet and dry ingredients.
  • Scoop the batter into a well-greased, floured muffin tin and fill them halfway. 
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes until golden brown.

These muffins can also be an option for gift ideas. Proper storing can make the muffins last a month if they are not eaten yet.

11. Homemade pretzels

Homemade-Pretzels

We have used baking methods for the last two recipes, and we will add one more. Homemade pretzels don’t require complicated ingredients, just different kinds of flours.

Ingredients:

  • Dry yeast
  • Warm water (100°-105°F)
  • White flour and whole wheat flour
  • Baking soda
  • Salt
  • Olive oil

Procedure:

  • Dissolve yeast in warm water and set aside until foamy.
  • Combine white flour, whole wheat flour, and salt. Stir yeast in the flour mixture and add white flour until the dough is stiff.
  • Knead the dough using your hands for 7-10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic, then shape it in the form of a ball.
  • Put the dough ball in a greased bowl and let it be coated with olive oil. Cover the bowl with a towel and set aside for 30 minutes or until the dough double its size.
  • Divide the dough into eight equal pieces, roll each piece into at least 20 inches long rope, and twist it in a pretzel shape. 
  • Drop the pretzels in boiling water dissolved with baking soda for a minute. Drain and transfer the pretzel to a baking sheet after boiling.
  • Sprinkle the pretzels with salt and then bake them in a preheated oven at 475°F for 12 minutes or until it is golden brown.

You can customize your toppings based on your preference. You can top it with butter or cheese, some sugar or chocolate, or cinnamon.

Baking can also be a form of bonding for the family. You can do it once a week for a week-worth of homemade zero-waste snacks.

12. Homemade ice cream

Homemade-Ice-Cream

We all thought that ice cream could only be manufactured in factories with an ice cream machine, but now we can make it in our homes.

A basic vanilla ice cream recipe only includes a few ingredients:

  • Cold heavy cream
  • Sugar
  • Vanilla extract

Procedure:

  • Put all the ingredients and whip until it doubles its volume and thickness.
  • Freeze and enjoy.

You can incorporate different flavors by adding them as you whip the cream. For example, you can add chocolate powder, crushed Oreos, mango puree, etc.

13. Mixed seeds and nuts

Mixed-Seeds-And-Nuts

There’s no cooking process involved in having mixed seeds and nuts. Buy them in bulk orders for less waste and put them in eco-friendly storage.

Some examples of seeds and nuts that you can buy are:

  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Watermelon seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Almonds 
  • Cashew nuts

You can store these nuts for a long time, and they will be available every time you want to nibble something.

14. Trail mix 

Trail-Mix

Like mixed nuts and seeds, Trail mix also doesn’t involve cooking. It is the on-the-go snack that you can bring anywhere. 

It is almost like an upgraded version of mixed nuts and seeds. Here are a few ingredients that you can combine for a trail mix.

  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Cashew nuts
  • Peanuts
  • Raisins
  • Chocolate chunks
  • Dried fruits
  • Peas
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Pretzels

Usually, a trail mix combines five to six ingredients, but if you want to go crazy with it, go ahead.

15. Smoothie

Smoothie

A smoothie is a great refresher and very nutritious. You can use a single fruit or combine some fruits and vegetables for more nutrition.

  • Banana
  • Mango
  • Melon
  • Strawberry
  • Guyabano
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Carrots
  • Cucumber

You can use ice for some recipes. Some also add milk and yogurt to their smoothies.

Here’s a not so complicated smoothie recipe that uses strawberries and bananas:

  • Put milk, yogurt, chopped strawberries, and chopped bananas in a blender.
  • Blend and serve

Some recipes combine greens like cucumber, spinach, mint, and a bit of honey for added sweetness.

Important: If you prefer sipping your smoothie rather than drinking it right out of the glass, make sure to use an eco-friendly straw when you do.

Final Thoughts

Buying instant snacks may be easier, however, they are harmful to the environment and your health.

Good thing there are plenty of zero waste snacks that can take the place of your favorite chips or pastry.

Zero waste snacks are easy to prepare, budget-friendly, helps reduce our waste, and healthy.

FAQs

How do I get my ingredients waste-free?

You can have waste-free shopping if you buy from local stores. Bring your own bags to avoid plastic packaging, which most stores and groceries provide.

How do we maintain zero waste if bulk orders still come in packaging?

We avoid the frequent need to go to groceries and acquire snacks in eco-unfriendly packaging by buying in bulk. Though it may be packaged in plastic, it will be easier to manage in small numbers, and it can also be reused or recycled.

Is zero-waste possible without access to bulk options?

Of course. One way to achieve zero-waste is by shifting to a plant-based diet. It doesn’t require bulks, and buying with your own bag will eliminate waste.

Having a home garden and making your food from scratch will reduce our potential for generating waste.

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