Tristyn Tate | Contributing Writer
At some point in time, we all become victim to falling back on food choices that are cheap and convenient, more so than what’s the healthiest option, especially when we have the munchies. Despite the stereotype that vegans are limited and restricted in their diet, there are a significant amount of junk foods available to those with the dietary choice. Unbelievably, there are some products and services, even, that everyone knows and loves. More so than the veggie burger option, there are gooey movie theater candies, cheesy crunchy snacks, savory chocolate deserts and numerous fast food chain restaurant options–all that are 100 percent vegan.
What’s Considered Vegan?
Being vegan is either a diet, a lifestyle or both, depending on the individual making the choice. The diet alone is composed of foods that lack meat, dairy, eggs and other animal products. It is a controversial subject in the vegan community on whether the diet also abstains from honey, but basically, vegans are said to just eat fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, beans, legumes and seeds. There are different types of vegan diets as well, which could make things even more limiting, but more so confusing. Some choose to be junk food vegans, eating highly processed foods, unlike the stereotype, and a lot like what I will list below for your pleasure. The fact that all vegans eat healthy, whole, plant-based foods is just not the case.
The lifestyle, however, involves the ethics and reasoning behind abstinence from consuming animal products: the environment and the animals within the environment. Therefore, individuals who live a vegan lifestyle may not choose to eat the products below even when they’ve got the munchies because of the harmful effects their ingredients may have on the environment. The products may not have dairy or meat, but it may contain an ingredient such as palm oil, which is not an ethical choice due to its overproduction affecting the rapid decrease of rainforests and the extinction of the animals within the environment. Those with the vegan lifestyle are concerned with the world impact of their dietary choices.
Whichever your choice, there are junk food options for you. The products listed below are a mixture that cater to both the lifestyle and the dietary choice of veganism. They are products made by brands we all know and love. Accidently vegan foods are the best tasting foods.
Microwave, Toaster or Oven-Made Food
For the vegan brands listed below, check out The Fresh Market or a Whole Foods near you.
Mac and Cheese: Daiya, Amy’s, Annie’s and Earth Balance
Pizza: Amy’s and Daiya
Soft Pretzels: SuperPretzel Soft Pretzels
Others: Pop Tarts Unfrosted Strawberry
Store-Bought Snack Food and Ice Cream
Doritos – Spicy Sweet Chili
Lays – Barbecue, Classic, Deli Style Original, Dill Pickle and Lightly Salted varieties
Ruffles – Ruffles All Dressed Assaisonnées potato chips, Ruffles Barbecue potato chips, Ruffles Original potato chips
Fritos – Fritos Bar-B-Q Flavored Corn Chips, Fritos Brand the Original Corn Chips, Frito-Lay Sabritones
Pringles – Smokey Bacon, Original, Texas BBQ, Paprika, Sweet Cinnamon
Ritz – Ritz Crackers and Ritz Whole Wheat Crackers
Saltines – Nabisco Saltine Crackers
Other Crunchy Things
Chex Mix – Traditional
Vegan Brands: Earth Balance
Puffs – Aged White
Kettle Chips – Sea Salt, Sour Cream and Onion, Cheddar
Popcorn – Buttery Flavor, Aged White Cheddar Flavor
Cheddar Flavor Squares (basically Vegan Cheese-Itz)
What’s chewy and chocolatey are not normally thought not to be vegan. Gelatin is usually what makes the chewy things chewy, deriving from collagen obtained from various animal body parts. Chocolate normally has dairy. However, dark chocolate is vegan and all the chewy things below do not contain any animal body parts.
Sour Patch Kids
Mike and Ike’s
Fruit by the Foot
Air Heads Taffy
Now and Later
Lindt – Lindt Excellence 70, 85, and 90 percent Cocoa bars
Ritter Sport – Dark Chocolate with Marzipan
Hard Candy, Lollipops, and Others:
Charms Blow Pops
Jolly Rancher – Hard Candy and Lollipops
No Whey! – Chocolate Bar (Carmel and Nougat in a Chocolate Coating; basically a Vegan Snickers Bar)
Cookies and Ice Cream
Girl Scout Cookies – Thin Mints, Thanks-A-Lots, Lemonades, Peanut Butter Patties
Ben and Jerry’s
Fast Food Restaurants
Stay away from McDonald’s. Their hash browns and french fries aren’t even vegan because they are cooked in beef tallow.
Chipotle – Just hold the cheese and sour cream. When they ask for protein choose the tofu sofritas or get extra veggies.
Taco Bell – Bean Burrito minus the cheese, cinnamon twists, the Veggie Cantina Power Bowl with no sauce, and other dishes can be made vegan simply by omitting a few ingredients or asking for it “fresco style.” For example, this method applies to the 7-Layer Bean Burrito, the Crunchwrap Supreme and the Mexican Pizza.
Wendy’s – Plain baked potato, French fries or a veggie sandwich.
Burger King – Fries, hash browns, French Toast Sticks and Dutch Apple Pie.
Papa John’s Pizza – You can make any pizza vegan by omitting the cheese and choosing the Original Hand-Tossed Pizza Dough.
Frozen Yogurt Places – Usually places like Sweet Frog and The Skinny Dip have at least one sorbet or vegan option.
Auntie Anne’s Pretzels – Just ask for no butter.
Asian Restaurants – Chinese, Japanese, Thai, etc. Most of these restaurants have tofu or veggie versions of your favorite dishes. Just make sure to omit fish sauces and eggs.
Local Choice: My Vegan Sweet Tooth, located in Virginia Beach, has an all-vegan menu of cupcakes, cookies and other deserts.
Be careful and enjoy!
Look out for changing products and research, research, research! For example, Junior Mints stopped using gelatin in their product but simultaneously started using “confectioner’s glaze,” which is made with shellac from female lac bugs. Peta’s website is a good place to verify whether products cater to the vegan diet and lifestyle. Also, watching YouTubers like Nathan Vierke can give you an idea of what vegans eat in a day, be it junk food or otherwise.
Everyone gets the munchies sometimes and desires straight up junk food. Hope this helps vegans adopting the diet or the lifestyle in making choices that are the best and the tastiest. Enjoy!