What did you love to eat as a child? Growing up in the 90s, I enjoyed the standard American fare as many others did, like meat, dairy, packaged snacks and heat-and-eat foods from a box. As I got older and changed my diet, I gave up some of the more popular convenience food brands. Fortunately, many of my old favorites, likes chips, cheese, bacon, cupcakes and toaster pastries, have now been re-imagined, plant-based style. Many of them are available at your nearest grocery store. Oh how the times have changed!
Here are some favorite foods from childhood that have now been re-imagined, vegan style.
The Classic: Cheez-Its
Cheez-Its were a great choice for parties or nights when we wanted to veg on the couch.
New Version: Earth Balance Vegan Cheddar Flavor Squares
Instead of the usual brand, try a dairy-free version. Earth Balance makes Vegan Cheddar Flavor Squares that do not contain any GMOs or trans fat.
Image: Veggie Kids
The Classic: Grilled Cheddar Cheese
Enjoying a sandwich of ooey-gooey cheese between two pieces of buttered and toasted bread was a staple of childhood. I’ve always loved mine with cheddar and tomatoes.
New Version: Grilled Teese Vegan Cheddar Cheese
The Classic: Pretzel Sticks With Mustard
Like many from the Cincinnati area with German Ancestry, I’m a huge pretzel lover. As a child, I would get those gigantic soft pretzels at fairs and smother them in mustard.
New Version: Rudi’s Bakery Multigrain Organic Soft Pretzels
The Rudi’s Bakery Multigrain Soft Pretzels are an organic, healthier version of this treat.
Image: Go Dairy Free
The Classic: Nachos With Classic Cheese Sauce From the Concession Stand
Remember grabbing some nachos and cheese-like sauce from the concession stand at the public pool or baseball games? It was SO yellow and so delicious.
New Version: Nachos With Teese Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce
Pop open a bag of tortilla chips, melt some Teese Nacho Cheese Sauce and let’s party!
The Classic: Lays Sour Cream and Onion Chips
Sour cream and onion is pretty much the best chip flavor ever.
New Version: Earth Balance Vegan Sour Cream & Onion Flavor Kettle Chips
Earth Balance makes Vegan Sour Cream & Onion Flavor Kettle Chips that are gluten-free, non-GMO, and kosher. They also contain zero grams of trans fat.
The Classic: Bacon
Pretty much everyone likes bacon, and it was a staple food item for breakfast in my household.
New Version: LightLife Smart Bacon Meatless Veggie Strips
For a healthier, meat-free way to enjoy this classic favorite, try LightLife Smart Bacon.
The Classic: Salt and Vinegar Potato Chips
This flavor doesn’t need to have dairy products, but you’ll find some brands that use milk.
New Version: Kettle Brand Sea Salt & Vinegar Potato Chips
These Kettle Brand Sea Salt & Vinegar Potato Chips are vegan, crunchy and just the right amount of tangy.
The Classic: Cool Ranch Doritos
Doritos were always awesome for after-school snacks or in little bags that accompanied our packed lunches.
New Version: Beanfields Ranch Bean & Rice Chips
Now, Beanfields makes Ranch-flavored chips from beans and rice. They’re gluten-free and contain four grams of fiber and four grams of protein per serving.
The Classic: Cheesy Popcorn
I used to love that cheesy popcorn from fairs or those holiday jumbo tins.
New Version: Earth Balance Vegan Aged White Cheddar Flavor Popcorn
The Classic: Kraft Boxed Macaroni and Cheese
When I was old enough to stay home in the summer and babysit my younger brother, I liked making us KRAFT Macaroni & Cheese. Even if my mom had recommend some healthier fare, my we loved easy-to-make stuff like KRAFT.
New Version: Earth Balance Vegan Cheddar Flavor Mac & Cheese
The Vegan Cheddar Flavor Mac & Cheese from Earth Balance is spot-on and even more delicious than the old version from KRAFT.
Image: Earth Balance
The Classic: Stouffer’s Frozen Mac n’ Cheese
When we wanted to be lazier than typical days during my teenage summers, we made Stouffer’s Macaroni & Cheese from the oven or microwave. All we had to do was pop it in the oven and wait.
New Version: Amy’s dairy-Free Rice Macaroni and Cheeze
To mimic the comforting meals of childhood, I make Rice Macaroni With Dairy-Free Cheeze from Amy’s Kitchen. It’s gluten-free, dairy-free and soy-free.
The Classic: Homemade Family Mashed Potatoes
This is yet another American favorite that I enjoyed both at dinner time and as a snack when my family would make it for all sorts of occasions, from a casual dinner to our Thanksgiving feast.
New Version: A Healthy Spin on the Homemade Classic
Try these Fluffy Mashed Potatoes from The Post Punk Kitchen. Don’t forget the gravy!
Image: Post Punk Kitchen
The Classic: Drive-Thru French Fries
We all knew we had to eat our vegetables as kids, but admittedly I was always more excited to order French fries or mashed potatoes as a side at restaurants.
New Version: DIY Baked Fries
Try making your own fries using this recipe from Cookie & Kate.
Image: Cookie & Kate
The Classic: Pillsbury Funfetti Cupcakes From a Box
As a kid, I loved making cakes that came from boxes because it was ridiculously easy to do by myself or with friends. Funfetti cupcakes were often my go-to!
New Version: Healthier Funfetti-Style Cupcakes From Minimalist Baker
Minimalist Baker has a Vegan Funfetti Cupcakes recipe that I can’t wait to try!
Image: Minimalist Baker
The Classic: Frozen Fudge Bars From The Ice Cream Man
Fudge bars were often the highlight of hot summer afternoons.
New Version: So Delicious Coconut Milk Fudge Bars
The So Delicious Dairy-Free Coconut Milk Minis are dairy-free, soy-free and contain only one gram of sugar per serving.
Image: So Delicious
The Classic: Kellog’s Strawberry Pop-Tarts
I had my fill of Kellog’s Pop-Tarts growing up, but I still haven’t stopped thinking about their taste from time to time.
New Version: Vegan Berry Poptarts From The Minimalist Baker
How awesome that the Minimalist Baker has a vegan version for us to try?
Image: Minimalist Baker
The Classic: Nabisco Chips Ahoy! Chocolate Chip Cookies
This is one of the most classic of American desserts, securing their place in school lunches, bake sales, birthday parties and home kitchens in the evenings.
New Version: Alternative Baking Company Colossal Chocolate Chip Cookie
Sans dairy and eggs, the Alternative Baking Company makes one tasty replacement.
The Classic: Snickers Bars
Snickers were one of my favorite candy bars growing up, always proving to be the gold standard when it came to searching through my massive Halloween candy bag.
New Version: Go Maz Go Foods Jokerz Bar
Image: Go Max Go Foods
The Classic: Fruit Snacks and Jelly Belly Sour Jelly Beans
Jelly beans were always a fun candy to eat as children.
New Version: Yumearth Organics Fruit Snacks and Sour Beans
To get that gummy, sweet taste of a fruit snack or the tangy punch of sour jelly beans, try YumEarth Organics Fruit Snacks and Sour Beans.
The Classic: Watermelon Sour Patch Kids
I used to love the watermelon Sour Patch Kids, but now I satisfy my gummy craving with something a bit more wholesome.
New Version: Surf Sweets Waterlemon Rings
Try Surf Sweets Watermelon Rings. They’re USDA certified organic, certified non-GMO by The Non-GMO Project, gluten-free AND made with organic fruit juice.
Image: Surf Sweets