As a vegetarian, steering clear of meat, poultry, and fish is pretty straightforward, and for vegans, avoiding eggs and dairy is a clear line too. But what about those foods that sneakily hide animal products within their ingredients? It can be a real challenge to navigate the unexpected when seemingly vegetarian-friendly foods are actually not. We understand the frustration and to make life easier, here’s a list of foods that might surprise you with their hidden animal content.

Person holding a package of plant-based meat burgers in a grocery store.
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A bowl of candy shaped like bunnies.
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It’s a little-known fact that marshmallows usually have gelatin, which is made from animal bones and connective tissue. For those looking to avoid animal products, there are vegan marshmallows made with plant-based gelatin alternatives.

Gummy Candy

A pile of gummy bears on a white surface.
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Gummy candies are another sweet treat that often includes gelatin. However, vegans and vegetarians can find joy in versions made with pectin or agar-agar, which provide that signature chew without the use of animal products.

Pop Tarts

Three boxes of pop tarts are on display in a store.
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Some Pop Tarts flavors include gelatin in their frosting, making them unsuitable for vegetarians. However, the brand offers non-frosted varieties that avoid this issue, for those avoiding animal-derived ingredients.


A box of jello next to a cup of chocolate.
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The main ingredient in Jello, gelatin, excludes it from a vegetarian diet. Thankfully, there are vegetarian-friendly versions that use agar-agar, a seaweed-derived substance, to create a similar jiggly effect.

Panna Cotta

Coconut Key Lime panna cotta on a white plate.
Key Lime Coconut Panna Cotta. Photo credit: Running to the Kitchen.

This Italian dessert typically relies on gelatin for its smooth texture, which isn’t vegetarian. Yet, agar-agar can be used as a vegetarian substitute, allowing everyone to enjoy this creamy treat which is so worth it!

Many Hard Cheeses

Various types of cheese on a wooden cutting board.
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Some hard cheeses use animal rennet in the curdling process, an enzyme extracted from the stomachs of young ruminant animals. Vegetarians should look for cheeses that specify the use of microbial rennet instead.

Caesar Salad

Fresh caesar salad with croutons and shaved cheese on a white plate.
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The classic Caesar dressing contains anchovies, often overlooked by vegetarians. Finding or making a version of the dressing without anchovies makes this salad a safe choice.

Worcestershire Sauce

A bowl of sauce with a spoon next to a bottle of beer.
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This sauce traditionally includes anchovies as a key ingredient, which might not be known to all vegetarians. Vegetarian versions of Worcestershire sauce are available and provide a similar flavor profile without the use of fish.


A bowl of curry with rice and vegetables.
Winter Curry. Photo credit: Running to the Kitchen.

Many curries might contain hidden animal products like fish sauce or shrimp paste for added flavor. Vegetarians can enjoy curries by ensuring these ingredients are omitted or substituted with vegetarian alternatives.


A box of twinkies on a white background.
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An unexpected ingredient in Twinkies is beef fat, making them off-limits for vegetarians.

Pie Crust

A pie with a lattice pattern on top.
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Some store-bought pie crusts include lard (rendered pork fat), not suitable for vegetarians. There are lard-free options available, or you can make your own crust with vegetable shortening.

Canned Refried Beans

A bowl of refried beans topped with shredded cheese served with tortilla chips and lime.
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Lard is a common ingredient in many brands of canned refried beans. However, labels marked “vegetarian” use plant-based oils, making them a safe bet.


Assorted altoids mints in various flavors on display.
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Altoids contain gelatin, a fact that may surprise vegetarians. Looking for candies marked as vegan ensures you’re getting a product without animal-derived gelatin.

10 Worst Foods To Eat Before Bed If You Want A Good Night’s Sleep

Woman appearing unwell, lying in bed and covering her mouth after eating some of the worst foods to eat before bed.
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People are waking up to the importance of sleep as a crucial pillar of overall health, recognizing it for being as vital as diet and exercise for overall well-being. Many are now making sleep a priority, investing in better habits and environments to ensure a restful night and that includes the food you eat at night.

Ever had a snack before bed only to spend the night tossing and turning? Turns out, some foods can seriously mess with your sleep. These foods are some of the top 10 culprits that are best avoided if you’re aiming for a good night’s rest. So, before you reach for that midnight snack, keep reading to see what’s better off avoided.

See Them Here: 10 Worst Foods To Eat Before Bed If You Want A Good Night’s Sleep

Avoid these 11 Foods If You’re Sensitive to Lectins

A shopping cart full of groceries in a supermarket.

Navigating the world of food sensitivities can feel like walking through a minefield, especially when lectins are the culprits. You might have heard that these protein-packed particles can wreak havoc on sensitive stomachs, but figuring out where they’re hiding is another story. We’re breaking down some of the foods that are lectin landmines for those with sensitivities. Grab a notepad, because you’re going to want to remember these tips next time you’re grocery shopping or planning a meal.

See Them Here: Avoid these 11 Foods If You’re Sensitive to Lectins

10 Foods You Should Never Eat Raw

A woman laying on a couch with a stomachache.

Diving into a bag of crunchy raw carrots or whipping up a smoothie with butternut squash and spinach? Go for it! But beware, the culinary world has its rogues. Some foods play hardball with your stomach or sneak in toxins that could turn your mealtime into a risky affair. It’s all about knowing who’s who in the raw food lineup.

See Them here: 10 Foods You Should Never Eat Raw

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Founder and Writer at Running to the Kitchen | About

Gina Matsoukas is an AP syndicated writer. She is the founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.

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