Is it just me, or did we eat the worst foods as kids? Worse, as in, soooooo bad for you? And it’s not really our parents’ fault, either. They didn’t really understand the depth of the health hazards and the way hot dogs are actually made.
But even now, as a fully functioning adult and a parent, I still eat this crap. Why? Is it because I grew up on it? Is it because my taste buds were formed around the sugary goodness of Fruit Loops and cholesterol filled chicken nuggets?
Or maybe we’re just suckers for junk food. As a kid, I could go all week long on the steam that a box of Kraft Dinners would give me. I had endless energy and zero cavities. But now, I have to make “responsible” choices, especially in front of my spongy kids.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t indulge from time to time. I do still love all of the best kid foods I used to eat, I just have to be smarter about it. Chicken nuggets with a side of broccoli. Mr. Noodles with peas and carrots mixed in. A couple of chocolate bars in the bathroom. Ya know, grown up ways of eating junk food. It’s how we convince ourselves that it’s okay. So, take a trip down memory lane with me and see how many of these kids foods you still eat today.
15. Pogos (AKA Corndogs)
Some kid must have loved carnival food so much that they grew up to become the creator of Pogos (AKA corndogs). And God bless them. The health hazard on a stick consists of a giant hot dog on a stick and covered in a deep-fried batter just like carnival corn dogs. I could fill a warehouse with the boxes of Pogos that I ate as a kid…and still eat today.
As if the stick of super, mega processed “meat” inside the cholesterol filled batter wasn’t enough, I knew some kids who used to melt cheese over theirs. Call me old fashioned, but that just sounds crazy.
And I don’t know about you, but I always loved the crusty batter bits that stuck to the stick. Those were the best. Dip them in ketchup or mustard, whichever you prefer. The ketchup bottle was my weapon of choice. The problem with these suckers is that they’re sooooo bad for you, yet, you can’t eat just one. I can’t anyway. *microwave beeps in the background*
How do you dunk your Dunkaroos?! God, kill me now if that slogan ever comes back. The super annoying tagline may be a thing of the past, but the cookies aren’t! Oh, and not just any cookie. No, these were small bite-sized sugar cookies that came with a side of frosting to dip them in.
Yeah. A sugary whip to dip your sugary cookie in. No wonder I have so many fillings.
No school lunchbox was complete without a pack of Dunkaroos, and you were not cool if you didn’t eat them. The worst part? As an adult and a parent of two small kids, I know very well how horrible these are for you. Yet…I put them in my kid’s lunchbox.
They may hurt my soft, adult teeth, but I still indulge in a few Dunkaroos from time to time. Only a couple of times a year, though, since there’s enough sugar content in one pack to last me a lifetime.
13. Granola Bars
When I was a kid, granola bars were the shiznit. (Is that still a cool word?) But back then, there were only a few options to choose from; chocolate chip or chocolate chip dipped in chocolate. Sounds good to me. I was happier than a pig in poop.
But nowadays, my kids have endless options! Peanut butter infused granola bars with salty dark chocolate bits, berry filled bars dipped in yogurt, s’mores, brownie bits, nuts, etc. The list goes on forever, trust me. I spend the most time in the aisle with all the school snacks, trying to figure out which ones my kid would like, but also which ones I would enjoy as I hide in the bathroom and eat them.
With options like this, you could eat granola bars everyday and never grow tired of them. And the best part? They’re just as bad as a chocolate bar, but don’t come with the same level of guilt after eating one or seven.
12. Sugar Cereals
You ever hear some parents or adults complain about today’s kids being so energetic? “Where do they get the energy?” or “I wish I had half the energy you have right now.”
Well, it may have something to do with the fact that almost every meal of the day contains sugar of some kind. School snacks, pre-made lunch kits, granola bars, and…cereal.
I don’t know about you, but Honey Combs sounds much better than Bran Flakes. Although I do try and keep a nice balance of healthy/disgusting cereal with my beloved sugar coated ones. The only difference now, as an adult, is that I tend to keep my sugar cereal indulgences for the evenings when my kids are asleep in their beds and I can pour a giant bowl without having to share any of it.
11. Mr. Freezies
Brain freeze! How many times did you willingly give yourself brain freeze as a kid with these things? God, I could eat a dozen of them, especially the tiny pointless ones. I grew up in a small town and once a year, during the Summer, the convenience store would get in these jumbo, and I mean JUMBO Mr. Freezies.
They were so big I could barely get it in my mouth. I used to have to bite a corner, and then bite the other, alternating until I couldn’t feel the inside of my mouth and my stomach was full of frozen sugar.
Of course, the jumbo ones would melt long before I could finish them so I learned to be reasonable in my younger years and settle for the regular, in between size. Regardless, these things always sliced the corners of my mouth and stung like a b**ch when I ate salt-n-vinegar chips afterward.
10. Tootsie Pops
How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop? I never did figure that out because I always ended up biting it about halfway through. I mean, the chocolaty center was the real reason we ate these things, right?
You could get so many flavors, too. Everything from cherry to pineapple candy covered the chocolate center and it took forever to get through it. Eventually I learned to just give up on the Tootsie Pops and move straight to Tootsie Rolls, 100% ooey, gooey chocolate that stuck my teeth together like cement. It was glorious.
Of course, today, as a functioning adult, I eat one and my teeth hate me for days. My kids just went trick-or-treating and I, obviously, stole all the Tootsie Rolls. Because there are so many different flavors that I will indulge in, I’m already regretting it.
9. Ring Pops
Ring Pops, AKA giant, sticky diamond shaped candy that never really fit on your finger, no matter how young you were. But I would prance around with it stuck to the tip of my index finger and suck on it until my teeth hurt, my face was sticky, and the majority of my hand was covered in colored sugar.
We always got them in loot bags at birthday parties and immediately started trading for better flavors. My pop of choice was always the red one. Because it looked more “realistic” (kid logic). Well, it did! A red ruby is more believable than a purple one.
My kid recently got one in a loot bag he bought for a dollar at the corner store. It came in an old-fashioned paper bag with a creepy clown on it. But inside was a paper air plane, some other junk, and a Ring Pop. He offered me a lick and I accepted (obviously), and my childhood came flooding back.
8. Kraft Dinner
Ah, the childhood staple. Is it just me, or does it seem like there’s less quantity in a box of Kraft Dinner (“KD” for short) today? An entire box would feed my brother and I, and that was with second helpings. Now, I have to make at least three boxes to get a small bowl for myself and two kids. That seems suspicious.
Regardless, nothing will ever stop me from eating KD. I love the stuff. The creamy, fake cheese powder mixed with milk and noodles. It’s making my mouth water right now and I bet it’s making yours water too.
Tip: Add a dollop of Cheeze Whiz to the pot of KD and let it melt as you stir. It makes it extra creamy and extra, extra cheesy. There, I have bestowed my mac-n-cheese wisdom upon today’s youth. Go forth and use this power wisely.
7. Mr. Noodles
I know, it sounds like an old stuffed animal or your childhood pet, right? But think hard. You MUST remember Mr. Noodles. Today they’re known as ramen, insta-noodles, cup-o-noodles, etc. The list goes on. It really depends on what company makes them. Like most of the foods on this list, who makes them is irrelevant, but what they make is really what makes the difference.
But back in the day, I would come home from school and make a couple packs of these suckers and scarf them down while I watched cartoons. Nowadays, I add some frozen veggies in to the mix. Ya know, to make it healthier and stuff.
Age test: did you ever take a pack of Mr. Noodles to school and crush it up, add the sauce packet as “spice” and then eat it dry? Like a bag of weird, oriental chips?
How old is this stuff, anyways? I’m pretty sure my parents drank it as kids. And before that, there was something called Tang. It’s nasty and only comes in orange flavor.
But Kool-Aid rocked it when I was a kid. Endless flavors (although I always stuck with red), easy to make, and I remember my mom saying how cheap it was. I appreciate that last one more now as an adult. Other kinds of sugary drinks can cost a total fortune, but this drink always remains affordable.
While Kool-Aid is super unhealthy and is basically colored sugar that you dissolve in water, I do buy it from time to time. I like to mix it up and pour into those nifty homemade ice-pops trays to make cool treats for my kiddos.
5. Hot Dogs
Hot dogs are literally the perfect example of how people seriously do not care what they eat. There’s been videos posted online of how hot dogs area made; a pale pink goo is mixed in giant vats and them poured into other giant vats and then formed into hot dogs.
I’m sure the actual meat content is about 1%, the other 99% being other things like fat, filler, and finger nails. But we still chow down. Who cares? A dollop of ketchup and a squirt of mustard, all held within a soft steamed bun is freakin’ delicious.
Now that I’m an adult and my palate has changed, I like to amp up my hot dogs with things like chili, pulled pork, cheese, and other gourmet toppings. There are even awesome specialty hot dog restaurants opening up all over the place that only make “gourmet hot dogs.” Seriously. I kid you not.
4. Mini Pizzas
No, not the personal pan size from Pizza Hut. I’m talking about those preservative packed mini pizzas that came in a pack of eight and contained two toppings: cheese and pepperoni. I think the name was like Napoli, or something.
They could be baked in the oven like normal frozen pizzas, but they could also be nuked in the microwave which was always my cooking method of choice. Quick, easy, and it melted the cheese in a way that made it fuse to the bread underneath. It’s not exactly the kind of gourmet pizza that people will pay a lot for today, but it usually does the trick when you are hungry, short on cash, short on time, or maybe all three.
I would come home from school and eat three or four before supper time. Easily. Now, as an adult…I still eat them. They’re super bad for you but still taste amazing and I’m sure they’re better than a hot dog. Health-wise.
3. Chicken Nuggets
McDonald’s, baked in the oven, nuked in the microwave, I didn’t care. Chicken nuggets were, and still are, the s**t. I mean, besides a vegetarian, who doesn’t love a tasty morsel of white meat with a crunchy breaded shell? Dip them in ketchup or sweet and sour sauce and eat for days.
And now, I don’t feel bad feeding them to my kids, either. At least it’s the healthier meat, and at least it something they will actually eat. It’s the perfect finger food, too. Which means they can eat them in the car when we grab McDonald’s on road trips and stuff. So, win-win.
The only problem with chicken nuggets as an adult is that I could make an entire bag of them and sit down, polish them all off, and then hate myself afterward. They’re almost as bad as popcorn chicken. Don’t even get me started on those.
2. Curly Fries
Question: why are curly fries always an “extra” cost above regular fries at restaurants? Isn’t that a bit weird. They’re essentially the same thing, just cut differently. Nevertheless, I always pay the extra fee for the superior form of French fry. Maybe it’s all in my head, but they do seem to taste better.
You can get them frozen at the grocery store and they have this awesome spice that no other type of frozen French fry has. The only problem is that the bags are always smaller and contain way less. So even the grocery store make you pay more for the awesomeness that is curly fries.
Has anyone invented a curly fry cutter for the home? Obviously there’s gotta be a special tool out there somewhere? If so, let me know. Then I can make my own and save my money to buy chicken nuggets to go with them.
1. Eggo Waffles
And finally, we have the king (or queen?) of childhood foods we still love to eat today. Eggo AKA pre-made frozen waffles. I’ve yet to find a box big enough to last longer than a week in my house. Myself, hubby, and the kids just gorge on these things. We eat them for breakfast, make sandwiches with them, and then even eat them as a midnight snack.
We have issues. Yes, I know.
But Eggos are so versatile. Top them with an egg and some cheese. Sprinkle a bit of fruit on top with melted chocolate. Use Eggos as a bread substitute in just about every sandwich.
There’s just something about them. And it’s gotta be the Eggo brand, too. No knock-offs. They don’t taste the same.
Did you eat some (or all) of these things as a kid? Do you still eat any today? Comment and share if you did, and feel free to add your own fav kid foods you still love to eat today.