Veganism has been lauded by health experts, Oprah, and animal rights activists alike as a healthy lifestyle choice. Bringing up veganism, for some, conjures images of endless salads and raw tofu -- but sometimes, health be damned, you want to fill your body with trash while still staying inside the strict guidelines you've put forward for yourself. If you're not into veganism for environmental ethics or for your health (or you're just not in a place to care) you don't need to go to your local co-op to get your plant-based* snack on.
To vegans, plain potato chips are the french fries of the corner store: the thing you get when you're out with your friends because there is nothing else and you're hungry. Mix it up a little. Here's a list of slightly-more-interesting options for junk food that just happens to be vegan -- stuff that omnivores eat all the time. Plus a couple of old commercials, because they're fun.
Soymilk's favorite cookie! Perhaps the junk food most commonly touted as as I-can't-believe-it's-vegan, the creamy centers of the ubiquitous sandwich cookies -- surprise! -- do not actually contain cream. This goes for Double Stuf, holiday color editions, and basically every variation besides Cakesters -- and who wants a Cakester, anyway?
9. Cookie CrispVegan cereal isn't all about the granola. If you're not in the mood for a well-balanced breakfast -- or a well-balanced snack to eat straight out of the box -- these tiny, crispy cookies masquerading as cereal are a safe bet. See also: Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
8. 7-Eleven fruit pies
The "animal and/or vegetable shortening" listed on Hostess snack pies got you down? Unlike their lardy counterparts, the 7-Eleven brand of apple and cherry pies are completely devoid of animal products. They're pretty tasty, too; the above picture is an actual sign a vegan friend of mine made and stuck on her head she wanted 7-Eleven pie so bad.
7. ABC Bakers Thin MintsSince Girl Scout-contracted Little Brownie Bakers uses whey in their mints, Seattle is mostly SOL on the vegan thin mint front. But thanks to the Internet and some clever rule-breaking, it's more than possible to order the animal-free ABC Bakers version. They're a slightly different shape, but all the same delicious.
6. Unfrosted Pop Tarts
Some sneaky gelatin in that signature stiff, translucent icing prevents the frosted varieties from making this list, but blueberry, cinnamon sugar, and strawberry unfrosted pop-tarts are just fine. If you must have frosting on your pop-tarts, take note that many store-bought varieties of frosting are also vegan.
5. Fritos Bean DipFritos, being just salty corn chips, are understandably vegan, but those complimentary little tins are, too. Although they sit nestled next to the Tostito's queso dip on the shelf, there is no cheese or sour cream in the Frito's dip -- it's mostly beans, water, corn oil and salt. If the plain version is too tame, get the hot flavor, which just adds jalapeños to the mix.
4. Ritz Bits Sandwiches with Peanut ButterContrary to popular belief, the Ritz Bits cheese sandwiches do actually have real milk product in them. The peanut butter ones, while containing the same kind of sickly, sweet kind of peanut product as a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup (not vegan) or a jar of Jif, do not.
3. Cracker JacksThat's molasses and corn syrup on your popcorn, not real, buttery caramel. So next time you're out to the ball game, know that a bag of peanuts is not your only game-day snack option. Presumably, if you accidentally eat the prize, that's vegan too.
2. Chocolate Teddy GrahamsCraving a chocolatey snack? The honey graham flavor, somehow, actually contains real honey, but no worker bees were harmed in creating the chocolate ones. If you get sick of bears, Barnum's Animal Crackers fit the bill, too. (No, smartass, a food's shape doesn't make it not vegan, just like how eating a ginger bread man isn't cannibalism.)
1. Sour Patch KidsIn addition to being, apparently, Method Man's favorite candy, Sour Patch Kids are the vegan's answer to gelatin-riddled gummy snacks. Just like Swedish Fish, SPKs eschew gelatin for cornstarch. Just make sure to bite their heads off first so they don't suffer.
Got any more? Leave them in the comments!
*Note that this list takes the "practical vegan" approach and does not weed out snacks containing bone char processed sugar or animal-based "natural ingredients"; if this is a concern of yours, you may wish to do some further research.