You already know the benefits of a vegan diet. It’s great for your health, waistline, and of course the environment. But did you know that while being vegan, you can still fall into the trap of consuming “vegan junk food?”
You can find several unhealthy, highly processed vegan foods that might seem like nutritious vegan foods. Just because food is plant-based, doesn’t always mean it’s healthy.
Find out about the worst vegan foods to steer clear of.
Frozen Meat Alternatives
You may be tempted to purchase a pack of products like “no-chicken chicken nuggets.” After all, they are meat alternatives that will give you the right nutrition and also help you satisfy your meat craving.
Frozen meat alternative vegan food is high in sodium and you can find vegan products with as much as 400 mg of sodium per serving. So don’t forget to check out their labels. Products with 400 mg or more of sodium per serving are a complete no-go. And while you are checking sodium levels, make sure you also watch out for other unhealthy additions. Such as preservatives, artificial ingredients, and processed oils such as coconut oil and highly processed forms of soy.
Processed vegan products that contain a lot of preservatives are most likely are low other vegan nutrients including proteins, minerals and vitamin B12.
Alternatively, you can choose vegan products that contain beans and legumes as they are two healthy sources of vegan protein. Similarly, you can go for quinoa and hemp as both these plant products are loaded with protein and fibre to fill you up.
Vegan Deli Meat
Deli meat is not a great food for anyone. And it’s no surprise that vegan deli meat isn’t good for you either. Your meat-free, a vegan alternative may be high in sodium and some cases may also be rich in sugar. You should check out the labels before you add any vegan deli meat to your cart.
Avoid vegan deli meats that are high in sodium and preservatives. Moreover, go for vegan deli meat brands that mention recognizable ingredients on labels. Furthermore, it’s always a good idea to go vegan forward combinations such as bean and kale. Or chickpea and red peppers so you can get the nutrients you are looking for without compromising on their nutritional value.
Traditional desserts like strawberry cheese or chocolate mousse are a no-go area for vegans. But did you know that even vegan desserts can be dangerous? Some vegan desserts can be worse than traditional desserts in terms of fats and sugar.
Here is why. Traditional desserts include ingredients such as eggs, milk and butter. And when you take out these ingredients from the dessert, you end up adding in starch or pectin (plant extracts) to achieve the same consistency. And while these plant-based ingredients may give you the same texture, it adds up to sugar and calorie count.
But that’s not always the case, you can find some great vegan desserts that are low in sugar and calories and provide the nutrients that you were looking for. So make an informed choice.
The vegan alternative to creamy dairy yogurt may be a great way to satisfy the yogurt craving for vegans but did you know that it’s not always the best choice.
Coconut yogurt is loaded with saturated fats and have almost no protein. So it’s best to watch out for your portion size as too much of it can increase your risk of cardiovascular diseases. It’s even more important to keep a check on how much you are consuming because an increasing number of restaurants are offering coconut yogurt in go-to cups that are typically larger than the conventional yogurt cups you can find at any outlet. As a result, you end up consuming a lot more without even realizing it.
A better alternative is to consume cashew milk-based yogurt that’s lower in saturated fats and also contains a handsome amount of protein per serving.
Opted for vegan chips because real potato chips are unhealthy.
Unfortunately, vegan chips are equally bad for you. They are loaded with calories, sugar, salt, preservatives and other chemicals that destroy the nutritional value of your vegan chips. Instead, the chemicals, preservatives and high sodium content can do more damage than good.
So instead of getting hooked to “veggie” chips, check out other healthier alternatives that do not contain extra seasonings, calories, salts and sugar.
Seitan, also known as wheat meat, is a commercially available vegan food that you can find in a variety of styles and flavors. While you can make seitan at home, you will find it at almost all grocery stores and shelves. It’s made from wheat gluten and is a great meat alternative however, like all processed foods, it may be loaded with salt and sugar.
So the next time you think of adding a pack of seitan to your cart, make sure you check the labels. If your pack of seitan contains 5-10 grams of sugar and more than 400mg of salt. It may likely be loaded with some other ingredients that may not be healthy for you.
Vegan foods are a healthier alternative and a great choice for health and environmentally conscious individuals. However, just because a food is plant-based, doesn’t always mean it’s healthy. Highly processed vegan foods may be loaded with saturated fats, sodium, sugar and preservatives that can affect the nutritional value of vegan foods. And may make it a lot more dangerous for health than the non-vegan alternatives.