Think back about 20 years, and put yourself in your elementary school cafeteria. Remember the nervous anticipation that came with opening up your lunchbox? Stomach empty, you wondered which of your favorite ‘90s foods your parent packed, and how valuable your meal would be on the lunchtime trading circuit. There was the thrill of finding a Ziploc full of Chips Ahoy, and the utter defeat of unwrapping a bologna sandwich (crust on, no less.)
There may come a time when the you’re the one creating a brown bag of sustenance, and deciding what to pack your kids. And, chances are, there will be some snacks that you’ll be hesitant to pack for your own kids. Because, let’s face it, health standards of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s were not what they are today. Organic described chemistry, not produce, and paleo was an era, not a diet.
Now, obviously there’s nothing wrong with giving your kids a sampling of these beloved snacks and serving them as a once-in-a-while treat. After all, you want them to experience as much of the 1990s as possible. But if you actually take a moment to read their nutrition labels, you might not want to make them regular staples of your child’s diet. Take a trip with me down memory lane to reminisce about some of the disgusting but delicious foods you ate as a child, and be thankful that some have become extinct.
Marshmallow creme creates a sugar crash, not a healthy sandwich make. Although, not gonna lie, I definitely still treat myself to a Fluffernutter every now and then.
2. Oreo O’s
Cereal and milk? Great start to the day. But Oreo O’s were merely cookies packaged in a way that you fooled yourself into thinking they were a proper breakfast food.
3. Easy Cheese
Cheese that sprays out of a bottle. Not OK.
4. Fruit Roll-Ups
If you had the variety that offered tongue tattoos, then you were easily the most bad *ss kid on the playground. As an adult, however, the idea of edible temporary tattoos seems a little questionable.
At 230 calories a can and 56g of sugar, not only is Surge a health hazard, it would make your kids bounce off of the walls way past your own bedtime. Ain’t no mom got time for that.
This chips had us practicing our duck faces way before the selfie was a thing. But no matter how fun they are to play with, Pringles rank pretty low on the healthy snack list (especialy the pizza variety.)
7. Heinz EZ-Squirt Ketchup
Thankfully, you can no longer purchase this marketing experiment of Heinz’s. While it might not be nutritionally any worse than regular ketchup, there’s just something quite off putting about dipping your french fries in green goo.
If your parent packed you a Lunchables, you were automatically the coolest kid in the class that day. Too bad these pre-made lunches are full of processed ingredients, including whatever stood for “cheese” in the nachos variation.
9. Fruit Barrels
These are basically sugar, water, and food coloring, so their nutritional value is decently low. Also, they are very hard to open. At my school, we utilized the method of stab-a-pencil-into-the-top in order to create a drinking hole. Nothing adds to the healthiness of a high fructose corn syrup drink like the presence of a little lead.
10. Cheez Doodles
Anything that so unnaturally orange should not be eaten on a regular basis. Nor should any product that spells cheese with a z. And — let’s be honest — the main reason you don’t want to give these to your kids is because you don’t want to find orange fingerprints on everything.
11. Candy Cigarettes
Imagine the pitch for this product. “Let’s give kids candy that looks like fake cigarettes that they can play with!” Why? Why was this ever ok?