Thanks to the thousands of vegan blogs and recipes out there, it’s much easier to cook vegan than it used to be. And even non-vegan restaurants are now offering legit vegan But what about packaged foods? Many have animal-derived products hidden inside, which makes it hard to tell right off the bat which are vegan-friendly and which aren’t.
“When reaching for a vegan snack option in the store, it is always a good idea to check out the ingredient label,” says Deborah Murphy MS, RDN, founder of the Dietitian Debbie blog. “The non-vegan ingredients I come across most often in snacks are dairy-based, like casein, sodium caseinate, whey, lactose, or milk powder,” she says. These are often used for flavor and texture in starch-based products like cookies, crackers, and chips, or to add creaminess to drinks. “A few other common ingredients to watch out for include: gelatin, collagen, shellac, monoglycerides, carmine, or confectioners glaze,” she says, all of which are made from animal parts. And of course, honey is a no-go for most vegans. “When you are just getting started, it can be helpful to look for the ‘V’ on the label of products that have been certified vegan,” she says.
It’s also worth noting that just because something is vegan, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s nutritious. “A plant-based or plant-forward diet can be a huge jump start to building vitamin and mineral stores,” says Kimaya Joshi, RD, LDN, a dietitian and founder of Well Seasoned Nutrition. “However, vegan does not automatically mean ‘healthy.'” Many of the snacks listed here are accidentally vegan, but aren’t nutrient dense. “We still need to be conscientious about putting nourishing foods into our bodies,” she says, not just focusing on food that is labeled vegan.
Still, there’s a time and a place for tasty snacks that might be lacking in the department. To make it easier for all the plant-based eaters out out there, here’s a list of snack foods that you probably wouldn’t guess were vegan. Because they’re made by major , most of the snacks listed below are made in factories with non-vegan snacks and thus may into contact with eggs, dairy, or animal products during the manufacturing process–but frankly, that’s tough to avoid unless you’re opting for brands that are totally vegan. And unless you have a diagnosed allergy to a product, it’s not really a problem.
Breakfast lovers, rejoice: Both the original and cinnamon flavors of Life cereal are totally vegan. They’re also fortified with iron and deliver 70 percent of your daily intake–a real bonus for vegans, since iron is found primarily in animal sources.
Per 1-cup serving: 160 cals, 2 g fat (0 g sat), 33 g carbs, 8 g sugar, 210 mg sodium, 3 g fiber, 4 g protein.
According to PETA, vegans can snack away on the apple crisp, cinnamon, peanut butter, pecan crunch, and roasted almond flavors of the iconic Nature Valley crunchy granola bars. They might crumble to granola in your backpack before you get a chance to eat them, though (#IYKYK).
Per 2 bars: 190 cals, 7 g fat (1 g sat), 29 g carbs, 11 g sugar, 180 mg sodium, 2 g fiber, 3 g protein.
No sketchy fishing practices here, people. These fish-free candies swap gelatin for thickening and stabilizing ingredients like cornstarch and mineral oil.
Per 19 pieces: 140 cals, 0 g fat (0 g sat), 35 g carbs, 21 g sugar, 16 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 0 g protein.
Instead of using gelatin for gummy texture, Twizzlers contain of cornstarch and other stabilizers. That’s great news for vegans!
Per 3 pieces: 120 cals, 0.5 g fat (0 g sat), 27 g carbs, 15 g sugar, 80 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 1 g protein.
Unlike cheesy chip flavors that are made with milk derivatives, these sweet chili chips get their taste from sugar, spice, and MSG.
Per 1 0z serving: 140 cals, 7 g fat (1 g sat), 18 g carbs, 0.5 g sugar, 270 mg sodium, 1 g fiber, 2 g protein.
This childhood classic corn chip is totally vegan in its original and barbecue flavors. In fact, the only ingredients in the original flavor are corn, corn oil, and salt!
Per 32 chips: 160 cals, 10 g fat (1.5 g sat), 16 g carbs, 0 sugars, 170 mg sodium, 1 g fiber, 2 g protein.
Aside from the peanut butter and honey with sea salt flavor, every Clif bar is totally vegan, made with of whole grains, sugar, and vegan protein sources.
Per 1 bar: 250 cals, 5 g fat (1.5 g sat), 45 g carbs, 21 g sugar, 140 mg sodium, 4 g fiber, 9 g protein.
Like Clif bars (made by the ), all flavors of Luna bars are made without any animal ingredients. That said, they do contain palm oil, which some vegans avoid because of its sketchy sourcing and to Luna claims to use “sustainable” palm oil sourced through the Rainforest , though, so it’s really about personal preference here.
Per 1 bar: 190 cals, 6 g fat (2 g sat), 25 g carbs, 8 g sugar, 210 mg sodium, 3 g fiber, 8 g protein.
You don’t always need to pair your vegan sandwich with a side of vegetables–potato chips are another , if you’re in the mood. The only ingredients in Lay’s original potato chips are potatoes, vegetable oils (sunflower, corn, and/or canola), and salt! The deli-style original, dill pickle, and lightly salted flavors are vegan, too.
Per 1 bag: 160 cals, 10 g fat (1.5 g sat), 15 g carbs, 0.5 g sugar, 170 mg sodium, 1 g fiber, 2 g protein.
If you prefer ridges, opt for wavy potato chips instead. They’re also made with all-vegan ingredients, and the original and lightly salted varieties are fair game.
Per 1 bag: 160 cals, 10 g fat (1.5 g sat), 15 g carbs, 0.5 g sugar, 140 mg sodium, 1 g fiber, 5 g protein.
This old-school ballpark snack is vegan–its “caramel” is made without butter or milk–but be sure to opt for the original flavor, as some of the newer varieties do contain dairy.
Per 1 oz: 113 cals, 2.2 g fat (0.3 sat), 23 g carbs, 13 g sugar, 50 mg sodium, 1.1 g fiber, 1.8 g protein.
If you’d rather eat your vegan ice cream from a cone, opt for this wafer variety. They contain wheat and soy ingredients, but no milk products or other animal derivatives.
Per 1 cone: 49 cals, 0.5 g fat (0.1 g sat), 10 g carbs, 3.4 g sugar, 42 mg sodium, 0.3 g fiber, 0.9 g protein.
The rich, buttery flavor of these crackers doesn’t from butter. Instead, club crackers get their taste from soybean oil, salt, sugar, and corn syrup.
Per 4 crackers: 70 cals, 3 g fat (0 g fat), 9 g carbs, 125 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 1 g sugar, 0.5 g protein.
Sour Patch Kids deliver gummy texture without any gelatin, thanks to lots of sugar and corn syrup. They’re not healthy, but they’re vegan.
Per 16 pieces: 158 cals, 0 g fat, (0 g sat), 40 g carbs, 24 g sugar, 18 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 0 g protein.
Nope, these chips don’t get their flavor from actual bacon! Instead, the from artificial, vegan flavorings. Plenty of other Kettle Brand potato chips are vegan, too: backyard barbecue, jalapeno, pepperoncini, red curry, roasted garlic, sea salt, sea salt & vinegar, spicy Thai, Sriracha, and unsalted.
Per 20 chips: 210 cals, 12 g fat (1 g sat), 23 g carbs, 2 g sugar, 170 mg sodium, 2 g fiber, 3 g protein.
These nostalgic crackers are made without any dairy or eggs, instead using vegetable oil, sugar, and salt for flavor, plus soy lethecin for binding.
Per 5 crackers: 80 cals, 4.5 g fat (1 g sat), 10 g carbs, 1 g sugar, 105 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 0.5 g protein.
Track down some vegan chocolate and marshmallows, and you’re on your way to a vegan s’more! These are made with molasses instead of honey, so even strict vegans need not worry.
Per 8 crackers: 130 cals, 3.5 g fat (1 g sat), 24 g carbs, 8 g sugar, 170 mg sodium, 1 g fiber, 2 g protein.
Maybe you’re not actually surprised that these bland, soup-friendly crackers are totally vegan, but it’s great to know for sure that you can eat them alongside your vegan soup.
Per 5 crackers: 70 cals, 1.5 g fat (0 g sat), 12 g carbs, 0 g sugar, 135 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 1 g protein.
Great news for any vegans craving the feeling of powdered cheese stuck to their fingertips while they snack: This low-calorie popcorn is made with non-dairy cheddar flavor!
Per 1 bag: 150 cals, 9 g fat (1 g sat), 15 g carbs, 0 g sugar, 160 mg sodium, 2 g fiber, 2 g protein.
Ruffles have ridges, but they don’t have any animal-derived ingredients! They’re made with just potatoes, vegetable oil, and salt! The barbecue flavor is also vegan, if you’re in the mood for a little more excitement.
Per 12 chips: 160 cals, 10 g fat (1.5 g sat), 150 mg sodium, 15 g carbs, 1 g fiber, < 1 g sugar, 2 g protein.
It seems almost too good to be true, but Wheat Thins are bound with cornstarch, not eggs, and don’t contain any milk products!
Per 16 pieces: 140 cals, 5 g fat (0.5 sat), 200 mg sodium, 22 g carbs, 3 g fiber, 5 g sugar, 2 g protein.
Once you pop, the fun really doesn’t stop–even for vegans! Only the original flavor of these chips are vegan, though, so make sure to go for the red can.
Per 16 chips: 150 cals, 9 g fat (2.5 g sat), 150 mg sodium, 15 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 1 g sugar, 1 g protein.
Not every flavor of Triscuit is vegan, but so many are, including (but not limited to) original, roasted garlic, sea salt and olive oil, fire roasted tomato and olive oil, and wasabi and soy sauce. Now all you need is some vegan cheese to go with them!
Per 6 crackers: 120 cals, 3.5 g fat (0.5 g sat), 160 mg sodium, 20 g carbs, 3 g fiber, 0 g sugar, 3 g protein.
These bars are held together with corn syrup instead of honey, and the chocolate is totally dairy-free. All flavors in this line–cranberry and pomegranate, dark chocolate cherry, and fruit & nut–are vegan.
Per 1 bar: 140 cals, 4 g fat (1 g sat), 65 mg sodium, 25 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 8 g sugar, protein 2 g.
These grainy crispbreads make a great snack when slathered with hummus, avocado, peanut butter, or another vegan spread. And, because they’re made primarily with grains and seeds, the everything, fat-free, and garlic varieties are totally vegan.
Per 1 piece: 50 cals, 1.5 g fat (0 g sat), 50 mg sodium, 7 g carbs, 0.5 g fiber, 0.5 sugar, 2 g protein.
These crowd-pleasing chips are made with nothing but blue corn, sunflower oil, and sea salt. And, lucky you, salsa and guac are also vegan!
Per 6 chips: 140 cals, 6 g fat (0.5 g sat), 80 mg sodium, 19 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 0 g sugar, 2 g protein.
Most pretzels are vegan, but flavorings like cheese or honey can make them a no-go. If you want a crunchy pretzel nugget and are bored of the plain kind, these jalapeno pieces get their umami from yeast, not any kind of milk derivative.
Per 1 pack: 265 cals, 10 g fat (6.2 g sat), 720 mg sodium, 38 g carbs, 1.8 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 4 g protein.
No millennial picnic or party without SunChips, the slightly tangy crisps that are totally unlike any other. And, the original flavor is vegan, made with a variety of grain flours but no animal products.
Per 1 package: 140 cals, 6 g fat (0.5 g sat), 110 mg sodium, 19 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 2 g protein.
These ring crisps aren’t everyone’s favorite, but there are plenty of die-hard fans out there. The ingredient list is long and includes things like modified corn starch, starch, potato flour, and hydrolyzed torula yeast proteins–but, no animal products to be found!
Per 29 rings: 140 cals, 6 g fat (1.5 g sat), 360 mg sodium, 2o g carbs, 0 g fiber, 0 g sugar, 0 g protein.
It might seem too good to be true, but these flakey, “buttery” rolls don’t actually contain any butter. They get their texture from a variety of processed ingredients, including hydrogenated soybean oil and vital wheat gluten. Just don’t fill them with sausages or cheese, K?
Per 1 roll: 100 cals, 6 g fat (2.5 g sat), 220 mg sodium, 11 g carbs, 0 g fiber, 3 g sugar, 1 g protein.