When you were a kid, you had two favorite times of the day: lunch, and when the bell rang at 3:30pm. Lunch was pretty special though, even if you were stuck at school. Lunch time led to the grand unveiling of what your mom or dad packed you in your Hercules lunch box.
If you were a child of the ’90s, chances are, it was probably garbage. Sweet, delicious garbage. These days, my sister-in-law packs organic granola bars and sliced gala apples for my niece and nephew, but I remember my dad throwing whatever I had picked out at the grocery store into my backpack, and that was totally normal. In fact, if your lunch box *didn’t* contain at least one or two completely processed snacks, you were probably looked down upon. Like, who do you think you are, not bringing a bag of fruit snacks laden with red dye no. 6 to school?
The best part about ’90s snacks, was that most of them were designed to be some sort of activity for us. We were constantly “making” our own pizzas, or wearing chips on our fingers. Although we probably grew out of most of these treats (I said probably!), we can still reminisce, right? See if you can remember finding some of these technically edible gems in your lunch box:
Lunchables gave you the culinary ingenuity to do whatever you wanted with your ingredients. Stack your crackers, cheese, and deli meat up like a leaning tower of junk food, make pizzas out of fudge and M&Ms, shove Reese’s in your mini burgers — the options were infinite.
2. Sprinkl’ins Yogurt
Sprinkl’ins offered you the opportunity to show your parents you could eat healthy by consuming “yogurt.” Also, you got to mix in a surprise variety of sprinkles or powder every single time!
3. Nilla Wafers
For some reason, you always fooled yourself into thinking these were delicious, when in reality, Nilla Wafers are just tasteless, vanilla-scented pucks.
4. Ritz Bits
Crackers with peanut-butter or cheese? GENIUS.
5. Bologna and Kraft American cheese sandwich
Nitrites be damned. This sandwich was everything.
6. Fruit Rolls Ups
Fruit Rolls Ups were like sheets of strawberry-flavored plastic, but you could artistically express yourself with them by making strawberry plastic pizzas and tie-dye hearts.
Placing bugles on our fingers and curling our hands at friends like we were witches was the only proper way to consume Bugles.
I’m still not sure why we needed a red wand to make cheese and cracker sandwiches.
9. Shark Bites
Shark Bites were definitely the most superior fruit snack (aside from Welch’s strawberry fruit snacks, but that’s because they tasted like Starbursts). What was better than popping chewy little multi-colored predatory fish in your mouth, one by one? Also, never, ever Google image search “shark bites.”
I just recently spent $13 on imported Dunkaroos from Canada, and it was the best investment I ever made. I really miss these guys, even though I figured out you can basically get the same thing by purchasing Teddy Grahams and Rainbow Chip frosting.
11. Fruit by the Foot
Fruit by the Foot was like Fruit Roll Ups, but longer and a little bit more pretentious because you could spot “strawberry seeds” sometimes.
I belonged to the minority who didn’t like the “explosive flavor” these gummies provided. Call me vanilla, but I kind of like my fruit snacks to have a balanced amount of juiciness.
13. Hi-C Ecto Cooler
Ecto-Cooler was essentially the same thing as “Shoutin‘ Orange Tangerine” but we liked it more because we could say “ecto-cooler” and associate it with Ghostbusters. And it was disturbingly green.
In order to drink this “juice,” you had to squeeze the plastic bottle, but the effort was well-worth it because it was basically like drinking Skittle water.
15. Tomato-Mayonnaise sandwich
MAYBE this is just me, but I had a really obsessive Harriet the Spy phase in 2nd grade, and I asked my dad to make me tomato and mayo sandwiches to see what the hubbub was all about. Two weeks and ten sandwiches later, I actually ended up getting my dad hooked, and I didn’t have the heart to tell him I was over the sandwich phase.
16. E.L. Fudge Keebler cookies
I’m pretty sure Keebler has stayed afloat in the packaged cookie game solely because their fudge and shortbread cookies are on point and always will be.
17. Popcorn balls
I distinctively remember these being sold at Blockbuster, and that you practically chipped your teeth while eating them.
18. Jolly Rancher Jell-O
Jolly Rancher Jell-O was the best. I don’t understand why they stopped making these flavors. Like, that was clearly your greatest accomplishment, Jell-O, and you blew it.
19. Jell-O/Philadelphia cheesecake cups
I’ve actually been searching for these cheesecake cups on the Internet for a few months and I FINALLY found them today. Apparently they weren’t as popular as I thought, but I was completely obsessed with this cheesecake-flavored pudding.
20. Nutri-Grain bars
Nutri-grain bars were the last-ditch effort from our parents to make us eat SOMETHING that wasn’t highlighter orange, green, or “strawberry.” Did it work? Sure. But we would go right back to fave staples the next day.