Vegans are sometimes stereotyped as health-obsessed weirdos eating salads that look as appetizing as grass. However, that is far from the reality. Giving up junk food isn’t possible for some vegans, and others just don’t want to! Luckily, plant-based junk foods are more widely available and in-demand than ever. And it’s not just vegans who are enjoying the tasty snacks. Munching on plant-based junk food can take a little of the guilt out of your favorite guilty pleasures. From “cheese puffs” made of beets to gummies made with fruit juices, vegan junk food can be healthier, and it’s often every bit as delicious. Consider reaching for one of these next time you get a craving, or pack them in your kids’ school lunch instead of Doritos and M&Ms.
If you love Doritos nacho cheese tortilla chips, you’ll love Beanfields cheesy nacho chips. They’re the perfect plant-based replacement with a similar taste, shape, and texture! They have the cheesy taste you may crave, yet these chips are dairy-free. Beanfields chips also have four grams of protein and fiber per serving, giving them a healthy punch while satiating the need for a tasty, crunchy snack.Buy Now
If you are trying to go vegan but have a weakness for grabbing a candy bar every time you check out at the grocery store, you are going to love Go Max Go candy bars. Go Max Go Foods has a full line of candy bars that were created to replace the most popular non-vegan candy bars. They’re also made without corn syrup, artificial ingredients, or hydrogenated oils. Since they don’t have any animal byproducts, they’re naturally free of cholesterol, too. The whole line is delectable. If you like Butterfingers, try their Thumbs Up candy bar. If you like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, try Cleo’s for a satisfying replacement. (It’s even available in white chocolate if you prefer that variety.) I can’t tell the difference between Nestle’s Crunch bars and Go Max Go’s Snap! bars. Jokerz candy bars easily replace Snickers, and their Mahalo is a great replacement for Almond Joy. 2-Fer replaces Twix, while Buccaneer is a great alternative to Three Musketeers candy bars.Buy Now
No Whey! Foods is another brand that is leading the way in vegan milk chocolate. Their Choco No No’s are the perfect replacement for the M&M’s of your childhood. These little candies are great for a quick snack. The non-dairy chocolate of each bite-sized piece is covered in a colorful, crunchy candy shell. They are also all-natural and are free of several common allergens. They’re nut-free, gluten-free, and wheat-free.Buy Now
We need to talk about Vegan Rob’s Beet Puffs. If you’re like many people, beets don’t exactly come to mind first when you think of a mouthwatering food, but you may want to think again when you try these. They have the crunch and consistency of traditional cheese puffs. Vegan Rob’s also makes the “puffs” in other flavors, including Dairy-Free Cheddar Puffs, Brussel Sprout Puffs, Jackfruit Puffs, and Moringa Puffs.Buy Now
Cheez-It baked snack crackers are often missed by vegans, but they don’t have to pine for them any longer. Earth Balance Vegan Cheddar Squares are not only shaped just liked Cheez-It snack crackers, but they are even tastier. Their cheesy flavor is meant to be savored, and they are free of trans fats, dairy, and GMOs.Buy Now
Vegan marshmallows! They’re a must for any plant-based junk food lover. One of the pioneers of vegan marshmallow-making was Sara Sohn, who brought delicious vegan marshmallows to the world for fourteen years with Sweet & Sara. The shop sadly closed in 2017, but vegan marshmallows are still in high demand. A few options are available. Chicago Vegan Foods are the makers of Dandies All Natural Marshmallows. These delicious vegan marshmallows have an identical taste and texture to traditional marshmallows. If you want to throw some in your hot chocolate, they offer mini marshmallows, too.Buy Now
Sjaak’s has a delicious vegan “melk” chocolate that is dairy-free and every bit as yummy as the kind made with milk. Their bite-size treats are great for those who love having just a small fix of chocolate. Their caramel melk chocolate bites will replace a former love of milk chocolate kisses. Their hearts of cherry bites, almond butter bites, and hazelnut bliss bites are all terrific too.Buy Now
Accidentally Vegan Snacks
Finally, plant-based junk food can also be found in any grocery store. You’ve probably heard about Oreos, though the jury’s out on their vegan status. Some Duncan Hines cake mixes and premade icings are vegan. Ritz Crackers, Krispy Kreme fruit pies, Lay’s barbecue potato chips, and Nutter Butters are all vegan. If you want to hit the drive-thru for a snack, Taco Bell’s cinnamon twists are vegan, and many of their menu items can be veganized.
The Good Grocer Healthy Vegan Snacks Care Package, $42.95 on Amazon
This box is bursting with plant-based, non-GMO snacks both sweet and savory, and is a great taste of all that's out there.
Header image courtesy of No Whey/Amazon.