While going vegan, it's been relatively easy for me to cook vegan meals for myself. However, I have struggled to make sure that I'm eating vegan in between meals as well. When I reach for a bag of chips or box of crackers, I don't always remember to check the label. And when you become vegan, you quickly learn that companies find ways to sneak dairy, eggs, and cartilage into foods you never thought would contain animal products.
What the hell are we supposed to eat for snacks? I'm talking us, the real humans who are trying to do this vegan thing, not the perfect little Instagram vegans who are sponsored and can afford $8 bags of dates or live in Hawaii and snack on papayas from their backyard. If you're getting all your vegan-inspo from food bloggers on Instagram and Pinterest, then I know you feel my frustration.
The Internet is full of vegan snack ideas. Some of them I like, but can't afford (frozen grapes are delish, but not quite worth it when grapes are $4 a pound and I'd eat two pounds in a sitting). Some of them I can afford, but don't like (I don't know about you, but I am almost never in the mood to munch on carrots). Some of them I like and can afford, but they just aren't practical (I can absolutely guarantee you that I have never once been in the mood to roast chickpeas for 20 minutes when I want a snack now).
I know "vegan" is usually made to be equivalent to "healthy," but sometimes I just want junk food, damnit.
When I've got the munchies late at night, I want to tear through a bag of chips. End of story. SO, here is a list of real-people snacks I have found that allow me to be the poor, hungry bottomless pit that I am without compromising my vegan values. You're welcome.
1. Tostitos Scoops (Original and Multigrain)
Chips and salsa is a go!
2. Sour Patch Kids
I thank God for the people at Sour Patch Kids twice daily. Bless their souls for making a gummy candy without animal bone cartilage (gelatin).
3. Most unflavored chips
So no, you don't always have to splurge on health food chips like "chickpea puffs." Original Sun Chips, original Fritos, original Lays, and original Pringles are all a go!
Be very careful on that last one though... Pringles puts "vegan" on every can, but the flavor is only actually vegan if there's an additional orange check mark next to it. Some flavored chips, like Lays BBQ, are also vegan. But others, like Sun Chips Garden Salsa, end up using dairy somehow when they add the flavoring.
5. Nabisco Original Graham Crackers
Get you some vegan marshmallows and you don't have to sit out on s'more making!
6. Animal Crackers
Imagine... we can enjoy animals without actually eating them.
7. Nabisco Teddy Grahams (Chocolate and Cinnamon)
8. Ritz Regular Crackers
Crackers and peanut butter are my go to!
I have yet to come across a non-vegan bag of pretzels!
10. Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos
If those plain chips aren't doin' it for ya.
11. Wheat Thins (Original, Multi-Grain, Reduced Fat, and Sundried Tomato and Basil)
These are one of those snacks that are always on party trays, so I'm so glad I can actually eat them.
12. Fruit by the Foot
Glad to know this childhood favorite is vegan!
13. Microwave popcorn
Minus the real butter flavor. Look carefully though: even some butter flavored popcorn is flavored with artificial butter!
For the last year or so I have been in the process of transitioning to a fully vegan diet. I have found it extremely easy to keep on track with my commitment to abstain from animal products when I am 1) eating a regularly scheduled meal like breakfast, lunch or dinner, and 2) in my own home. Where I have found I struggle the most with veganism, then, is when I am 1) snacking and munching in between meals and 2) eating out at restaurants, school functions, etc.
I have allowed veganism to come kind of naturally, slowly making changes rather than quitting all animal products cold turkey, because I believe that 1) changing your diet is hard and you should never feel pressured to be "perfect" all the time 2) harsh restrictions are dangerous and growing at your own pace is the only way to protect your mental health, and 2) going slow is the best way to create sustainable lifestyle changes because if you try to quit anything all at once, chances are you will go back to your old ways within a few months.