The 10 Worst Foods You Ate As a Kid
The 10 Worst Foods You Ate As a Kid
Childhood favorites that are, simply put, bad for you. Below is a list of the worst foods you ate as a kid.
Do you know how much crap you ate as a kid? If you grew up in the 80’s or 90’s, it’s likely you were a victim of frozen meals and instant potatoes. The terribly unhealthy for you processed food industry meant your parents could regain a social life by leaving a 16 year-old babysitter to make you dinner. Good news for you for a few reasons:
- Your parents were paying a hot girl to pay attention to only you… Great for bragging rights
- You were allowed to stay up late watching MTV/VH1
- Kraft Mac & Cheese! Need I say more?
So in honor of days past, let’s take a trip down memory lane (I assume/pray you don’t eat these terribly unhealthy foods anymore…) and check out the worst foods you ate as a kid:
Serving Size: 1 Box || Calories: ~400 || Fat: 21 g || Carbs: 39 g || Sugars: 14 g || Protein: 16 g
I recently saw these stacked up in a friend’s fridge, so apparently somebody out there’s still eating them. “Everything that is wrong with America in a box” is an unbelievably fitting description for these Oscar Mayer lunch kits. A box filled with bologna (ew), American cheese (with added starch to keep slices separated), Ritz (hydrogenated oils and HFCS), Chips Ahoy, and a Capri Sun "juice", does not qualify as lunch. It qualifies as a gross collection of processed foods. High in calories, fat, sugar, and sodium, there isn’t a single redeeming quality about lunchables. Add in processed meat favorite pepperoni and Airheads (remember those?), and your child is guaranteed a future of fat jokes.
2. Froot Loops
Serving Size: 1 Cup || Calories: 110 || Fat: 1 g || Carbs: 25 g || Sugars: 12 g || Protein: 1 g
Contrary to the name, there is nothing fruit-ish in Froot Loops. Anything that makes milk change into a rainbow color is probably not healthy, but Toucan Sam takes it to the next level. In addition to supplying straight sugar to your cabeza (explains your ADD in homeroom), it’s made with trans-fat, and enough food coloring for a tie-dye party. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but sorry kids, this doesn't qualify.
3. Hostess Cupcakes, Twinkies, Ding Dings, Ho Hos
Serving Size: 1 Twinkie || Calories: 150 || Fat: 5 g || Carbs: 27 g || Sugars: 19 g || Protein: 1 g
What makes these sweets freaky is their ability to withstand a long shelf life (~25 days, compared with the average 2-3 days of a freshly-baked version). Amongst Twinkie’s 37 (yes, thirty-seven) ingredients are partially hydrogenated oils (trans fat), beef lard, high-fructose corn syrup, chemicals, dyes and preservatives including petroleum. The “cream” in the center has no cream (or dairy), and is instead comprised of strictly shortening. I’m all for the occasional sweet treat, but I’d prefer one that won’t outlive my boyfriends.
4. Wonder Bread
Serving Size: 1 Slice || Calories: 60 || Fat: 0.5 g || Carbs: 13 g || Sugars: 2 g || Protein: 2g
Shockingly, Hostess manufactures this zero-nutrient bread too! What’s so wrong with white bread? Oy, where to begin. The flour is stripped of all of its nutrients and fiber, and then bleached. Without either, Wonderbread is digested as if it were sugar, doing nothing for you nutritionally. And honestly, if you’re gonna eat straight-up sugar, opt for a little more flavor.
5. Chef Boyardee:
Serving Size: 1 Cup || Calories: 250 || Fat: 9 g || Carbs: 35 g || Sugars: 5 g || Protein: 9 g
Beef ravioli from a can, no refrigeration necessary: what could possibly be grosser? Not to mention it’s full of high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors and flavors, trans-fat, preservatives and more than 500 calories/can. Plus, there’s its appearance and texture. It would be inhumane to feed this to your dog, let alone to yourself.
Serving Size: 1 Pastry || Calories:220 || Fat: 9 g || Carbs: 32 g || Sugars: 13 g || Protein: 2.7 g
While containing an impressive fifty+ ingredients depending on the flavor, they also miraculously have absolutely no nutritional value. Oh, and ONE pastry (1/2 of a little silver package) has 220 calories! Let’s be serious, you’re never eating a single Pop-Tart. These are not breakfast, nor are they a snack. These are just crap that will give you a sugar-hangover in an hour or two.
7. Hot Pockets
Serving Size: 1 Pocket || Calories:350 || Fat: 17 g || Carbs: 37 g || Sugars: 6g || Protein: 10 g
You must remember Pop-Tarts’ frozen, gross meat/cheese/sauce filled twin from the “What’re ya gonna pick? Hot Pockets!” commercials. Hot Pockets have about 350 calories and contain plenty of unhealthy ingredients (trans fat, sugar, preservatives etc). And yet, despite all of that, they couldn’t even make them taste good! Grab a slice of preservative-free pizza instead.
8. Kraft Macaroni & Cheese/EZ-Mac
Serving Size: 1 Cup (1/3 pkg) || Calories: 410 || Fat: 19 g || Carbs: 48 g || Sugars: 6 g || Protein: 9 g
As nostalgic as that blue box is, what’s inside isn’t pretty. The cheese powder packet is about as far from real cheese as you can get (the exception being Easy Cheese). Yellow 5 and 6 are responsible for the orangey hue, and emulsifiers, preservatives, and enzymes are added to help the cheese sauce “reconstitute properly”. Ew. And since the safety of those ingredients hasn’t been proven, countries in Europe feed their kids a different, less additive-filled version. Most disturbing of all, each (pretty easy to eat) box has 1230 totally empty calories! Sick.
Serving Size: 1 oz || Calories: 130 || Fat: 5 g || Carbs: 19 g || Sugars: 5 g || Protein: 3 g
Little spheres of dough, stuffed with cheese, bacon, or pepperoni pizza? More like stuffed with a little cheese and a lot of chemicals. A small bag has 7 servings. The whole bag will set you back over 900 calories. Doesn’t help that Combos look just like those dog treats, Snausages, which pretty much says it all.
10. Bulk Candy Stores
(Nutrition for Sour Powers Watermelon Belts)
Serving Size: 4 pieces (1.4oz) || Calories: 140 || Fat: 1 g || Carbs: 32 g || Sugars: 26 g || Protein: 1 g
It pains me to put this on the list. What was better than filling a plastic bag with a mix of Sour Powers and Reese’s Pieces? Nada. Unsurprisingly, eating straight up sugar with lots of food coloring doesn’t qualify as healthy, although it might explain your mouth full of cavities...
If any of the ten above are currently in your kitchen, it’s sadly time to toss it/them, grow up, and start eating real food, more frequently. If you simply can’t turn the page, you can always make – or more likely, have your girlfriend/mom make and send – home-made versions without the preservatives, chemicals, or freaky colors:
About the Author
Carolyn is a Nutritionist/Registered Dietitian and has her masters in Clinical Nutrition from NYU. She went to Tulane in New Orleans for undergrad, spent 3 months traveling around the world on Semester at Sea and then swung through Boulder, CO before landing in her current home of NYC. Carolyn has a blog called One Smart Brownie (www.onesmartbrownie.com) to simplify healthy eating for those who don’t spend their lives studying nutrition. Her favorite hobbies include getting new stamps on her passport and telling yo mama jokes, and she says that if she were to have a crush on a food it would be chocolate biscotti, no questions asked.
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