I'm trying to get into much better shape and continue to indulge in vegan junk: tortilla chips, Luna bars, Knudsen's spritzers, rice dream, etc.
Does anyone have any tips on eating junk food? Do you avoid these products all together, or eat them in moderation? Thanks!
There are several ways to go, IMO.
One is to indulge in your junk food cravings from time to time (I like to have a pint of Strawberry Soy Dream every few weeks).
Another, more healthful way, is to find more nutrient-dense substitutions.
Find substitutions for what specific taste or texture you are craving (sweet? try fruits, like berries, plain or blended into a healthy smoothie; mangos; persimmons, etc.; crispiness? try baked versions of some things like french fries, maybe even made with sweet potatoes, or dried foods like "Greenies live chips" from www.eatraw.com
that are salty tasting and crunchy, but very nutrient dense; fat? avocado or raw nuts, which contain healthy fats).
Some more specific alternatives could be Larabars (raw food dried fruit and nut bars) or Vega bars for Luna Bars. (Lara...Luna...Vega...I suddenly feel like David Letterman hosting the Oscars: Uma...Oprah...Uma...Oprah! Advanced apologies to all non-Americans ,, or non-TV-watchers, who won't get this reference).
Choose a healthier tortilla chip (blue corn, red corn, or black bean chips), or even make your own with tortillas baked in the oven (no fat added). If you avoid chips for a while, you might notice that your tolerance for the fat and salt in them is not what it used to be. I used to eat tortilla chips more regularly, but now I have an open bag of them that it's taking me quite a while to finish, because they taste too fat and salty for me--mostly too fat).
Some "junk foods" are trigger foods (we each have our own ones, but they are usually processed carbs or high fat foods) that you should avoid bringing into the house. For me, it's potato chips, which I don't eat often at all any more (for this very reason). If I do get some, they are the low fat/reduced fat variety (but not the dreaded "what's that in my underwear" Olestra chips...YAK!), but I can down a whole bag in a short time (and supposedly refined carbs can trigger one's appetite in general, not just for more of the same thing).
I try to make it a rule to not buy carbohydrate-rich food that contains less than 2 grams of natural fiber per serving. That cuts out even a lot of health food store crackers and chips and cookies (though I must sometimes indulge in those mint chocolate chip ones my local store carries!)
It's much harder to avoid junk food as a vegan nowdays that it was years ago. There is SO MUCH available to us now vs. in the 70's and 80's.
Just because it's vegan, doesn't make it healthy, as you know.