Face it, eating lunch now isn’t as cool as when you were in elementary school. Case in point: what did you eat for lunch yesterday? I had salad and a Diet Pepsi. I wish I had a turkey and cheddar Lunchable followed up by some Soda-Licious, but I’m trying to avoid diabetes. Let’s go back to a simpler time where we just ate crazy snacks for lunch… all the way back to the 1980s and 1990s.
7 – Lunchables
If you had a Lunchable, you were in a higher class than your fellow pupils. The best was the turkey, cheddar, and sesame cracker combo. Lunchables really upped their game with pizza and taco offerings, and even threw in mini chocolate bars and juice boxes into their cracker options, but the original is still the best.
Status: Lunchables came on the market in 1988 and are amazingly still around! One downside of the current Lunchables—Kraft reduced the thickness of their meats and cheeses by 60%. Those things weren’t overly thick to begin with. You’re better off making your own cheese and crackers.
6 – Squeezeit
One of the top beverages a kid could find in their lunchbox was Squeezeit—that soft plastic bottle modeled after a soda bottle, with the twist-off top, that you had to squeeze in order to drink. These things were mighty tasty! You probably remember your schoolyard being littered with these little half-circle tops (along with Handi-Snacks red spread sticks). While Squeezeits were available in your basic fruit juice flavors, they also had a special promotion where kids would get a black bottle and have to guess the flavor (spoiler: it was strawberry kiwi).
Status: Discontinued. Honestly, it still blows my mind that Squeezeit is no longer made. My parents rarely bought these, so when they did, it was a real treat. I always imagined when I was “grown up,” I’d drink nothing but Squeezeits. It quietly went off the market in 2001, due to a general decrease in sales of kids’ drinks, and those dreams were squashed.
5 – Soda-Licious
You know what? Fuck fruit snacks. There, I said it. I want soda snacks, and Soda-Licious delivered. We had cherry cola, cola, orange, and best of all—root beer-flavored “fruit snacks”. They even had a slight carbonation taste to them. If you whipped these out at lunch, you were sure to get a bunch of “beggers” sucking up to you, looking for a piece of root beer candy goodness.
Status: Sadly, Betty Crocker discontinued this product, likely in the early to mid 2000s. It’s actually baffling that it was discontinued, considering it’s such a unique product! I guess the “fruit snack” industry just isn’t what it was back in the 1990s.
4 – Dunkaroos
Argue all you want, the best combo was the graham cookie rainbow bits frosting one. The best method of eating these was only using the slightest touch of frosting on each cookie, except for the last one. Save one of the round cookies (they were the best at scraping the sides of the container for maximum frosting scoopage) and eat it with just about all the frosting. Yum!
Status: These things have really stood the test of time and have been available since 1988. I haven’t bought any in years, though… I just eat frosting right out of the can now.
3 – Gushers
You know what fruit snacks need? To have a sugar-water filling. BAM! Gushers got you covered! General Mills had great foresight in creating this product. No kids wanted just regular fruit snacks after this. Nothing would be good enough unless it had a diabetes-inducing gooey middle.
Status: These little guys are still available! The only thing that was discontinued was Gushin’ Grape, and grape is the most hated flavor of everything anyway. If you really like Gushers, you’re in luck because they’re available in bulk at CostCo, Sam’s Club, and the like.
2 – Doritos
There are two types of people in the world: Nacho Cheese Doritos people and Cool Ranch Doritos people. I guess there’s people who don’t like Doritos at all, but that’s not my problem. I’m of the Nacho Cheese camp. Doritos have been around for what seems like forever (1964) and have been a staple in lunchboxes ever since.
Status: Of course Doritos are still available! You can even get Nacho Cheese Doritos taco shells at Taco Bell. Or if you’re not in one of the markets, you can make a walking taco—cut open a mini bag of Doritos, dump in taco meat, cheese, and sour cream, and get fat.
1 – Snack Cakes
I’m putting these under one heading, but it mostly comes down to Little Debbie and Hostess. Those Oatmeal Cream Pies? Swiss Cake Rolls? Twinkies and Ding Dongs? Oh yeahhhh… now we’re talking! Most snack cakes come in pairs, perfect for lunch time bartering—you were still able to enjoy your Ho Hos and get in on someone else’s Fruit By The Foot.
Status: Little Debbie is alive and well, and Hostess is making a comeback! If you didn’t sell your Twinkies on eBay for thousands last summer, then you really missed out on the cashgrab. A little Twinkie Tip: try them frozen. It’s like ice cream in the middle. You won’t regret it.
What was your favorite lunchtime snack? Do you still eat it? Leave us a comment below!