Thinking about going vegan? Shifting to a plant-based diet has many benefits like improved blood sugar level, low cholesterol, weight loss, low risk of heart disease, etc. It’s because you cut down every dairy and animal product from your diet; hence you don’t consume unsaturated fat. However, while you know all the benefits of adopting a vegan life, the process can be pretty tough. Therefore, it could be pretty easy to fall into the trap of vegan junk food.
People who adopt a plant-based diet try vegan alternatives of everyday food items they used to eat. And with time, many brands have even introduced tasty vegan options to meat and dairy food items. That’s why the demand for plant-based food items and vegan alternatives to cheese, meat, or dairy is very high. Unfortunately, many of these alternatives can be as unhealthy as the original ones.
Here’s a list of unhealthy vegan food you should avoid to keep up the goodness of plant-based life.
You might get attracted to those “no chicken chicken nuggets” to satisfy your cravings, but do you know they are not as healthy as they seem? To ensure you’re not eating anything unhealthy, don’t forget to check the ingredient list. If there’s more than 400 mg of sodium per serving, avoid it. Along with sodium, also check preservatives, artificial ingredients, and processed oils. If you still want to buy packaged food, buy items with beans and legumes as the first ingredient.
Tofu Deli Meats
As you know, deli meats are not good for you; there’s no surprise that vegan deli meats aren’t great for you either. Many meat-free alternatives are high in sodium and also sugar in some cases. As mentioned above, if you see a food item having more than 400 mg of sodium, do not buy it.
Bottled High-Protein Fruit Smoothies
These high-protein smoothies are often very high in sugar, even though they aren’t considered added sugar. If you carefully read the ingredients list, you’ll notice that the first ingredient in many such bottled smoothies is fruit juice. This fruit juice can ramp up the sugar intake up to 50 grams per serving. To refresh yourself in the morning, make your own healthy smoothies at home instead of buying these sugar bombs.
Coconut Yogurt And Other Vegan Desserts
You may think that by ditching chocolate mousse or blueberry cheesecake and opting for vegan options, you’re making a healthy choice. But that’s not true. In packed vegan cakes or cookies, manufacturers often put in starch, pectin, and gums in place of eggs and butter. These ingredients give a similar texture and consistency. Avoid such packed desserts as these can increase your calorie count.
About coconut yogurt, many of you think it’s the perfect alternative for quenching your craving for yogurt. In reality, it hardly contains any protein and is packed with saturated fat. If you still want yogurt, try plant-based yogurts like cashew or almond yogurt, which have less saturated fat and are high in protein. However, if you still want to eat coconut yogurt, watch the portion size and only take ½ cup serving at once.
As you know, not all frozen meals are bad for you, and the same goes for vegan frozen meals. You just have to ensure you’re buying an item with all the good ingredients. It’s best to look for meals with vegetables, whole grains, and beans. Another thing to check before buying is the sodium content in the food item. However, many brands are taking measures to cut down the sodium level. So, always buy a meal having less than 500mg of sodium.
Veggie Crisps, Chips, and Straws
It might break your heart, but these vegan crisps aren’t healthy as well. Moreover, these can be as bad for you as your regular chips. It’s because manufacturers use some flavor-enhancing blends, which increase the sodium content and artificial additives. Look for kale or beetroot chips to satisfy your cravings, as they do not pack any extra seasonings. Even better, make your own chips at home with an air fryer, olive oil, and lots of love to save calories and sodium.
Vegan Protein Bars
Many of you surely love to munch on protein bars for those mid-day hunger pangs. To your surprise, they aren’t healthy at all. Most of the vegan protein bars contain lots of sugar. If you see anything with more than 12 grams of sugar, it is not healthy. Also, search for ingredients like tapioca syrup, evaporated cane juice, agave, brown rice syrup, molasses, and maple syrup, as these are equally unhealthy for their high sugar content.
Just because you see vegan written over it doesn’t make it a healthy choice. Such candies are nothing but just a marketing ploy to attract you. Moreover, these candies are extremely pricey. If you want to eat chocolates, try dark chocolate. You can even make your own chocolate following tons of recipes mentioned on the Internet.
While there are numerous benefits of eating a plant-based diet, certain food items may seem healthy but, in reality, are not. To make the most out of your plant-based diet, include all the healthy food items like whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds and avoid all the unhealthy choices mentioned above. Eating junk food on a few days is fine as long as you’re doing it in moderation.