27 Foods That Were Probably in Your Lunchbox in the 1990s
Ah, the 1990s. It was a different time back then—an age of fructose corn syrup at every meal and boy bands galore. Justin Timberlake still wore his hair curly (and bleached), kids under 13 played with weird little robot keychains called Tamagotchis, and, if you were cool, you wrapped your flannel around your waist… on purpose. But, even more nostalgic than the fashion or music of the 1990s is, of course, the food. Specifically, those unforgettable '90s snacks.
Processed, microwavable foods were the answer to convenience, and snacks—sugary, gummy, "fruit"-flavored snacks, that is—reigned supreme.
Get ready to tear up with fond memories as you take a look back at all the foods from that decade that you most likely haven't eaten in, well, years. Here are 27 nostalgia-inducing foods that were probably in your Power Rangers lunchbox in the 1990s.
And for more nostalgic fun, check out these old Happy Meal toys that'll really bring you back to your childhood.
How did you do your Dunkaroos? Most of us took the cookie, dipped it in frosting, and pretended these were healthy. Or, maybe you were a cookie-frosting sandwich kind of Dunker. Either way, Dunkaroos were the snack every kid wanted to see when they opened their lunchbox.
To this day, you might not be sure what the heck a Gusher even is (um, a diamond-shaped gummy filled with inexplicable, fruity goo?). That's our best guess, but hey, Gushers were a truly delicious staple of the '90s lunchbox.
Fruit by the Foot
Man, the '90s were fun, especially if you were gifted a Fruit by the Foot in your lunch. The motto for this fruity, tie-dyed snack was "3 feet of fun!" for a reason. Back then, it wasn't uncommon to see kids tying the 3-foot-long wrappers around their heads like Rambo or laughing while reading the tongue twisters printed on the wrappers.
Believe it or not, Hi-C didn't totally fall off the face of the earth after the '90s. It's still available in certain fast-food soda fountains, but back when Recess was the best part of Saturday Morning Cartoons, Hi-C was manufactured by Coca-Cola and Minute Maid in tiny little juice boxes. Every kid in the cafeteria had either Fruit Punch, Poppin' Pink Lemonade, or Orange Lavaburst. Your tongue afterward? Always redder than when you started.
Kool Aid Bursts
The only thing cooler than Hi-C at the cafeteria table was a Kool Aid Burst. This to-go Kool Aid product came in grape, berry blue, tropical punch, cherry, and lime. That moment when you ripped the plastic top off with your teeth? You were the king or queen of the cafeteria. No one could touch you—not even the lunch monitor.
To this day, kids of the '90s have super strong opinions about which Lunchable was the best Lunchable, so we'll just leave this here, unapologetically: the Pizza & Treatza (a do-it-yourself sauce and cheese pizza combined with a chocolate dessert pizza) was fire. Top it off with a CapriSun and you were '90s gold. It even made a comeback in 2017 and you can still stock up on the Pizza + Treaatza combo today. Unless you're more of a fan of the But the little meat, cheese, and cracker variety instead.
Not quite chocolate milk but not quite chocolate water, there's a good chance you drank Yoo-hoo before the turn of the century. Sometimes even more than Ovaltine! Did you know the main ingredients are water, high-fructose corn syrup, and whey? No wonder it never really tasted like milk…
Planters might be known for its Mr. Peanut character, but in the '90s, Planters slapped Mr. Peanut's face on a can of since-discontinued Cheez Balls and boy, did it shape our childhoods. Any true cheez ball connoisseur knows the Planters balls were so much cheesier and more flavorful than the Utz knock-off version. (Sorry not sorry.)
If you didn't compare which colors or types of sharks you got in your Shark Bites fruit snacks pack with your classmates, then were you even alive in the '90s?
One look at these drinks, and you're immediately transported back to a time when your parents just sat you in front of the TV while Rugrats was on, handed you a punch-flavored Squeeze-It, and they possibly went out for a few hours. No babysitter needed.
Man, remember when Go-Gurt first came on the market? That small yogurt-filled tube was a game-changer in the lunchroom. It's been almost 20 years since Go-Gurt took the yogurt market by storm and it's still going strong.
If the '90s looked like one food, they'd look like a cosmic brownie. Legend has it if you simply read the term "cosmic brownie," you can taste the fudgy icing like it was yesterday.
Yoplait Trix Yogurt
Today's youth just doesn't understand that Trix wasn't just a cereal—with actual shapes, that is—but also a deliciously fruity yogurt. Between cotton candy and watermelon, it was nearly impossible to choose a favorite flavor.
If you remember a time when Doritos were 3D cone shapes, then—no joke—it's time to start using retinol. OK, maybe that's a bit dramatic, but these chips were truly from a different time—kids today will never know the joy of munching on these during lunch.
Which other foods from your youth have you most likely forgotten about? Here are 10 Dinners You Haven't Had Since Your Childhood.
Thank goodness for Gretchen Weiner's father inventing Toaster Strudel right when people decided to love frosting more than ever. No, but seriously, Toaster Strudel was the breakfast of champions back in the '90s, long before it had its time to shine in Mean Girls. Making a design out of that oh so sweet frosting on that flaky outer crust was a true highlight of anyone's day.
A whole candy bar shrunk down into a tiny bite-sized ball you could just pop in your mouth? Every kids' dream pre-2000! It tasted like all of the goodness of a traditional Butterfingers bar, but in little balls that left your fingers covered in chocolate—not butter—every time without fail.
The String Thing was the most fun part of lunchtime. Like a Fruit by the Foot, it was a "fruit"-flavored chewy fruit snack, but it had designs in it, so you could pull on the string and eat it bit by bit. Kind of sticky and a messy, but that's what childhood snacks are all about, right?
Scooby Doo Fruit Snacks
Scooby Snacks might have originated as dog treats (at least in the world of the iconic cartoon) but kids of the 1990s can attest: these were one of the best fruit snacks you could get in your lunchbox.
Little Hugs Fruit Barrels
Kids these days will never understand the pure joy of drinking juice out of a plastic barrel. And that's a fact.
In the '90s, Keebler wasn't just known for its cookies. At the time, it was also making pizza chips called Pizzarias. Literally pizza-flavored chips, these were the next best thing to Bagel Bites while watching for your favorite after-school show to come on.
One thing you certainly never traded at the lunch table? A Fruit Roll-Up. If you had a Fruit Roll-Up, you just didn't share it. No, instead you simply rolled it up on your fingers as you chewed away at it, and applied the special edition temporary tattoos on your tongue. But no, you never shared.
We know what you're thinking: Spaghetti O's for lunch?! Spaghetti-O's were certainly not an on-the-go kind of food, but if you achieved a certain level of hackery, you figured out that Spaghetti O's were the perfect lunch if your mother heated them up at home, then put them in a Thermos. Still piping hot by lunchtime, this Campbell's canned pasta was better than Pizza Friday.
Affectionately known by frequent drinkers as Sunny-D, this sugared-up alternative to orange juice was tangy and delightful. Plus, the commercials always just made you want to throw on a backward hat and oversized t-shirt, and go drink some Sunny at the beach.
Snackwell's Devil's Food Cookie Cakes
Marshmallow and fudge icing—aka everything the '90s were about. A truly iconic pairing.
Spaghetti-O's weren't the only canned pasta kids loved back in the '90s. Back then, when you asked your mom what was for dinner, you literally prayed that she'd answer you back, "Chef Boyardee." We knew Chef Boyardee before we even knew what real ravioli was and opening your lunch and seeing some in there, nothing could top that feeling.