When we were young, we could eat anything without feeling an ounce of shame. Cheetos? Sign us up. Pizza rolls? By the bucket load, please. The following is a list of nostalgic and downright delicious frozen foods, quick-fix meals, snacks and sips that are likely toward the top of the food pyramid but are good for the soul nonetheless.
Before we were old enough to appreciate first-rate cheese boards with gorgeous Gouda, brie and blue, Nabisco gave us Handi-Snacks Ritz Crackers ‘N Cheese Dip. We can picture it now: the thick, plastic crimson-red stick painting sunshine-yellow cheese on a buttery salted cracker. The red stick doesn’t exist anymore, maybe because it did not seem eco-friendly.
Little Debbie knows what’s up, and Cosmic Brownies are some of her greatest work. These decadent, chewy treats are iced with fudge and topped with rainbow candy-coated chocolate crunchies. We won’t say they give your grandma’s homemade recipe a run for its money … but we won’t say they don’t either.
Kraft macaroni and cheese is a close second, but Velveeta has this cheese thing in the bag (or the box, to be precise). The shell-shaped pasta pieces are basically little cups that hold every ounce of precious golden cheese sauce. But some could argue the best part of this meal is licking the odds and ends off of that cheese packet. Every last drop counts, right? To really go above and beyond, add these unexpected ingredients that go great with mac and cheese.
How many times have you burnt your mouth beyond repair by biting into a too-hot Totino’s Pizza Roll? And how long did it take for you to learn from your mistake? If you didn’t learn and you’re still eating them straight out of the oven, us too. These pillowy pockets of cheese and molten lava red sauce may burn every taste bud off our tongues time and time again, but we have a toxic way of always coming back for more.
I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! No, really. This stuff tastes just like butter. It’s also way easier to apply than the rock-hard stick you forgot to take out of the fridge or the margarine that melts on contact with hot food and falls off your knife every time you make a spreading motion on corn at the cookout. Just spray it, man.
People go absolutely insane for Nutella. The sultry combination of hazelnut, chocolate and loads of sugar is undeniably ravishing. There are multiple cafes devoted to it and stores that sell it by the pail. People have physically fought over it. Throw it on toast, mix it with milk or eat it straight from the jar by the spoonful. We won’t judge you.
It ain’t easy being cheesy, but it is easy to eat an inhuman amount of Cheetos. The puffy and crunchy ones are fabulous snacks for any birthday party, after-school hangout or Netflix binge in complete isolation. “Are you still watching?” Yes, we’re just licking the orange dust off our fingers before we can hit any buttons.
Not all sour candies are tolerable (just thinking about Warheads makes us pucker), but sour gummy worms are pretty mild and basically just coated in a bunch of sugar. Gummy bears and blue sharks have nothing on these vibrant multi-colored crawlers. This confection has our affection, and we have no reservations about crowning it one of the very best candies.
Back in the day, no matter where you looked, a Slim Jim was lurking in every corner. Gas station? He’s on the counter by the lotto scratchers. School cafeteria? He’s waiting for you in the vending machine. The ingredient list is … interesting and maybe we won’t actually eat one again after reading, but we’ll always have the memories.
You can probably get these at the best Mexican restaurant in every state, but why stress over a dinner reservation when you could just pull some from the freezer? Taquitos from the frozen section of the grocery store are timeless. Eat them plain or dip them in sour cream, salsa or hot sauce — you name it. These are best enjoyed from the couch.
Don’t want to pack a meal? Great, because Lunchables are way cooler than anything your parents could’ve stuffed in your sack. Hall of fame-worthy varieties include Turkey or Ham and American Cheese Stackers, Pizza with Pepperoni, Mini Burgers and Nachos Cheese Dip and Salsa. Let’s not forget the Reese’s Cups, Crunch bars, Kit Kats and Capri Suns that came on the side.
Oh yeah! Capri Suns are the wind beneath our wings and we love them like a love song (shout out to Selena Gomez), but Kool-Aid Jammers are fun and flirty. While we’re sure they’re just as refreshing as ever, the back of the pouch isn’t see-through anymore and that’s a big mistake. Then again, it’s not about what’s on the outside. It’s about what’s on the inside. There’s much more than meets the eye with this drink though, and we bet you didn’t know these things about Kool-Aid.
Have you ever seen someone frown while eating Trix yogurt? No, because it’s just not possible. When you pulled back that top foil to reveal a cup that’s half blue and half pink, you knew what was about to go down. Cotton candy was the absolute best flavor followed closely by strawberry kiwi, which was half pink and half green.
Younger generations will never understand the happiness brought on by the matte blue Scooby Doo-shaped fruit snack because the recipe changed. In fact, a petition on change.org to bring it back had over 3,500 supporters. Zoinks, am I right? Like the marshmallows in Lucky Charms or the M&Ms in trail mix, we sifted through Velma, Daphne, Shaggy and Fred (all semi-opaque with less exciting flavor) for the one true gummy that gave our taste buds puppy power: Scooby-Doo.
Danimals “smoothies” are basically an uber-milky drinkable yogurt that any ‘90s kid would’ve loved to have in their lunchbox. The mascot — a computer-generated monkey named Bongo — is nightmare fuel, but it’s all good.
Gushers! That’s all. Thank you and goodnight. No, but seriously, these hexagonal bipyramids have always been the star of the snack aisle. If you were going to sneak anything into your parent’s shopping cart, this is it. Be careful with Gushers though. They’re precious cargo. Ever reached into a pouch and suffered the sticky consequence of one that’s exploded? Good times.
Fruit by the Foot is very similar to Fruit Roll-Ups in the sense that they’re both rolled up within themselves, but Fruit by the Foot is better by leaps and bounds. There’s so much joy in unraveling 3 feet of rainbow fun, then proceeding to eat it in bits or shoving the whole thing in your mouth at once.
The best part of every holiday is Pillsbury Shape Sugar Cookies. There are hearts on Valentine’s Day, chicks and bunnies on Easter, pumpkins and ghosts on Halloween, turkeys on Thanksgiving and snowmen, gingerbread men, reindeer and Christmas trees over the winter season. Homemade cookies? Scratch that. Give us a tray of these bad boys.
Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Treats are a pantry staple. We see that iconic blue foil in our dreams. The original flavor rocks, but let’s talk about the variety pack — the one with M&M’s Minis, Cocoa Krispies and Chocolatey Drizzle flavors. If you don’t grab one of these on the way out the door, you know you’re snatching one as soon as you get back.
Fun Dip (which used to be called Lik-M-Aid before The Willy Wonka Company bought it) features a sugar stick that you lick and dip in even more sugar. What’s not to love? Plus, the stick tastes like vanilla and is way better than the sour powder. Someone needs to sell them separately. Ten out of 10, would buy.
Ravioli, ravioli, give me the formuoli. Chef Boyardee was a real chef, and his legacy lives on in every can of beef ravioli in tomato and meat sauce. Someone’s nonna is rolling her eyes, but as a kid, this stuff tasted just as good if not better than any authentic Italian dish. Today, we’d be over the moon to warm up a can of Chef for dinner.
Toaster Strudels are superior to Pop-Tarts because they’re soft, flaky and filled with warm, fruity deliciousness. We said it. The best part is the icing though, and if you’re like us, you squeeze half the packet into your mouth before salvaging just enough to drizzle over the actual pastry.
For some of us, this is what breakfast looked like the year we were born. Entenmann’s Little Bites are the moistest, most decadent baby muffins on planet Earth. The best ones are blueberry, chocolate chip, crumb cakes and fudge brownies. The only thing is, there are only four highly addictive muffins in one pack and it’s really easy to justify tearing into another. Just take one for your lunchbox and run.
If your parents put a six-pack of Snack Pack in the shopping cart, you knew things were about to get crazy after dinner. The brand has all sorts of wild flavors today (like … Unicorn Magic), but the classics will always be the best in the North, South, East and West. We’re talking butterscotch, chocolate and Air Bud’s favorite — vanilla. We could even go for the chocolate and vanilla combo, sort of like the pudding version of a soft-serve twist from the best ice cream stand in your state.
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