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I Tried A Bunch Of Snacks I Was Obsessed With As A Kid To See If They Still Hold Up Now

Because life's too short to go without Dunkaroos for another decade.

During quarantine, my husband and I have been on a nostalgic food tour of snacks we obsessed over as kids.

Evie Carrick

Both of us were raised in houses ahead of their time food-wise. My mom ran an organic food co-op and we ate things like bulgur and tofu stir-fry in an era where my friends were eating SpaghettiOs and Hamburger Helper.

Luckily both of us had best friends (shoutout to Jaime and Matt!) who were raised in more ~normal~ '90s houses, so our little salt- and sugar-deprived selves had an outlet whereby we could enjoy the wonders of Gushers and those iconic Ritz cracker packs with spreadable cheese.

As adults who still give into the wildly unhealthy whims of childhood, these are some of the kid foods we’ve been tracking down or recreating — all ranked from our least favorite to most favorite.

Evie Carrick

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16. Pigs In A Blanket

Evie Carrick

Hot dogs (or sausages) wrapped in Pillsbury puff pastry was the ultimate kids birthday party staple. For my adult taste test, I subbed out regular hot dogs for Lightlife Vegan Smart Dogs (I’m veg), but these were still decently tasty, if not predictable.

15. Ants On A Log

Evie Carrick

When it comes to food, I’m a texture person; so I loved the crunch of the celery and gooeyness of the peanut butter. The ants? Cute, but I’m not a big fan of raisins. I ate this for breakfast for a kid-approved upgrade to apple and peanut butter.

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14. Hot Pockets

@hotpockets / Via instagram.com

In high school, Hot Pockets were my go-to. It’s a pouch of filling — pepperoni pizza, ham and cheese, etc. — surrounded by a flaky crust. It starts frozen and two minutes later, you have a grab-and-go feast. While I wouldn't necessarily recommend eating these regularly now, they're one of the most convenient hot grab-and-go meals I can think of. And that deserves props.

13. Fun Dip

@lift4life_weightliftingteam / Via instagram.com

I may be pushing it here, but I’d argue this "sugar on top of sugar" treat should be consumed by every adult at least once. As a kid, I loved the ingenuity of this candy: packets of flavored and colored sugar that are consumed using a candy stick, even if that stick still tastes like chalk. Plus, you can wow all your friends with the raspberry/apple packet, which turns from blue to green when wet.

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12. Root Beer Floats

@dzakins / Via instagram.com

Root beer and vanilla ice cream: two things that aren’t necessarily good on their own (IMO) but together they still make a bubbly, frothy, and gooey cup of goodness. Throw a couple scoops of vanilla ice cream in a glass, pour the root beer over the top, and enjoy — or get fancy and top with whipped cream.

11. Rice Krispies Treats

@gariannestable / Via instagram.com

You can buy these in their bright blue cellophane packaging at the store, but the real OG way to enjoy this treat is by making it yourself. All you need are three ingredients — butter, marshmallows, and Rice Krispies — to make an entire batch. You can even get crazy and sub in your favorite cereal instead. Pro tip: Froot Loops make excellent mallow treats. 😋

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10. Totino's Pizza

@totinos / Via instagram.com

Totino's: the pizza that got me through high school. I think I ate one of these at least two times a week. Even today, this pizza holds up; although it's now square, rather than round. The crust is super-airy and crunchy and there’s not an overload of cheese.

9. Swiss Rolls

@hongkongeatz / Via instagram.com

Little Debbie is the boss, and her swiss rolls — chocolate cake rolled around cream filling and covered in fudge — are one of her best. Even if Swiss Rolls don’t make you nostalgic for your childhood, I guarantee one of her bakery concoctions made your heart happy when you were a kid (and will still hold up today): Zebra Cakes, Oatmeal Creme Pies, Cosmic Brownies, Nutty Buddy Wafer Bars. So many options; so little time.

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8. Ritz Handi-Snacks

@savingmarket / Via instagram.com

Carefully monitoring the amount of cheese you spread on each cracker to ensure you had enough for each cracker was one of the great challenges of childhood (and one I always failed at). Apparently, these days, it’s hard (impossible?) to find Handi-Snacks with the little red spreader. Nabisco has the product on their website, but said on Twitter in February 2019 that “the red sticks were removed in order to be more eco-friendly.” I’m not sure how you’re expected to spread on the cheese without the little red stick, but we are intelligent adults, right??

The cheese may not be the fancy stuff you've developed a taste for in adulthood, but there's something still very much pleasant and intriguing about the wonders of spreadable yellow cheese dip.

7. Dunkaroos

@dunkaroos / Via instagram.com

If you remember monitoring your Ritz Handi-Snacks cheese-to-cracker ratio, you probably faced a similar challenge with Dunkaroos — tiny cookies paired with a small container of vanilla frosting with rainbow sprinkles. These things were goooood then, and I can confirm they’re still good now. Sugary, but not overly so, and easy to tote around in your purse or pocket.

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6. Fruit Roll-Ups

@fruitrollups / Via instagram.com

The second I started babysitting and had my own income, I went to the grocery store and bought all the things my parents would never buy for me. On these snack runs, Fruit Roll-Ups were a staple. Depending on my level of self-control, I would carefully punch out the cool cutouts (and mow the scraps) or give myself a blurry tongue tattoo.

I've tried my mom's homemade Fruit Roll-Ups and "healthy" organic versions. They're both great but nothing comes close to the plasticky (because yes, they are a bit plasticky) goodness of my original love.

5. Stacked Oreos

Evie Carrick

I just had to include Oreos somewhere in this lineup; and while I’d argue that many adults do eat Oreos, how many of them make a kid-approved Oreo tower?? It’s the way to go. You can enjoy your one cookie with seven Double Stuf Oreos' worth of filling.

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4. Bagel Bites

Evie Carrick

Doll-sized bagels crowned with pizza toppings, Bagel Bites are the illegitimate snack child of a pizza and a bagel. I remember hearing about these at school and trying to make them using whole wheat English muffins, spaghetti sauce, and cheese. The imitation was nothing special (and way too healthy), but the real deal was everything. The cuteness of a mini bagel pizza, the crunch of a toasted bagel, and the gooeyness of the cheese. It all still holds up.

3. Worms In Dirt

Evie Carrick

This was the first kid concoction my husband and I made and it might’ve been the best. I even made it a second time! (Keep in mind, I’m a total sugar fiend.) I love all the ingredients and I love the visual — a dollop of chocolate pudding with crushed Oreos on top and gummy worms slithering throughout. It's perfect.

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2. Chicken Nuggets

Evie Carrick

I’m vegetarian so I recreated this using plant-based nuggets. This was SO GOOD. I bought two types of veggie nuggets for a true taste test (Quorn is the easy winner IMO!) and made them three times over the last month, and TBH, have no regrets.

1. Fruit Gushers

@therealgushers / Via instagram.com

This list just wouldn't be complete without Fruit Gushers. Some genius thought it would be cool to fill a standard fruit snack with a syrupy fruit juice. The result is literally a gush of sugary goodness with every chomp. And I'm sorry, but I don't care if you're 7 or 47; these things still provide a delicious blast of flavor and a wonderfully chewy texture. They're unmatched!

Did I miss any? What childhood foods do you still swear by? Tell me in the comments!

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