Can I start by saying that I hate the term “junk food?” The word “junk” means that it is inherently bad. Snacks aren’t bad things; they’re things that are meant to be enjoyed in moderation. And let’s face it, snacks are fucking delicious. Why shouldn’t we enjoy them?
There are hundreds of different kinds of snacks out there, but these are some of the most classic, tried and true snacks that you have to be bonkers not to love.
They may try new things over the years to keep up with the changing market, but at their heart, these are the snacks that will always be there for us.
1. Potato Chips
There is nothing quite like the crunch of a potato chip. It’s loud and satisfying. Potato chips have evolved a lot over the years, the flavors becoming more outlandish (thanks, Lays), but nothing is quite like your classic potato chip. Personally, I love salt and vinegar, but I know I have weird taste. If you want to up your chip game, switch to the kettle cooked variety. You’ll thank me later.
When it comes to Cheetos, you are usually in one of two camps — puffy or crunchy. They each have their benefits (#teamcrunchy), but they both have that satisfying orange dust that tints your fingers for hours, even if you’ve washed them, giving you away every time.
3. Movie Theater Candy
If it comes in a box that you can get for a dollar everywhere but the movie theater, it’s good. Junior Mints, Raisinets, Hot Tamales, and Milk Duds are the best, IMO.
4. Ice Cream
I’ll admit that I’m a sucker for ice cream. There are never less than two pints in my freezer, and I don’t like to share. You can find literally dozens of flavors (thanks especially to Ben and Jerry) to fit whatever mood you may be in. And if you want to really indulge, try the new Magnum ice cream.
5. Chips and Salsa (or Guac)
What’s the best part of going out for Mexican food? Why the chips and salsa, of course! Or if you’re fancy, chips and guac. Because if you aren’t stuffed before your meal comes, you didn’t do it right.
6. Pizza Bagels
Sing it with me: “Pizza in the morning, pizza in the evening, pizza at suppertime…” It’s true, pizza bagels really are a delicious treat no matter what time of day. Take a few minutes to relive the sweet nostalgia of scorching your mouth on a tiny bagel pizza.
7. Chex Mix
This old school treat never goes out of style. It instantly takes you back to parties when you’d grab handfuls of Chex Mix and throw all the parts you didn’t like back in the bowl. Or you’d pick out all the rye chips because those are the best parts.
8. Chocolate Chip Cookies
Nothing says comfort quite like a chocolate chip cookie. The gooey chocolate, the soft cookie, the smell of them baking. I always keep the ingredients in my cupboard so I can make them on a whim. And I’ve eaten so much raw cookie dough I should be dead, and yet, here I am.
Not many snacks can seamlessly double as a meal, which makes nachos an obvious fan fave. Whether they’re covered in processed cheese (mmmmm) or real cheese, beans, meat and other deliciousness, nachos are pretty perfect.
10. Kid Cereal
If it has some sort of animated spokesperson, I’m here for it. Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Lucky Charms, Cap’n Crunch, Frosted Flakes, Fruit Loops, you get the picture.
Oreos are “America’s Favorite Cookie” for a reason. I’m talking about your classic Oreo, and its delicious sibling, Double Stuf. I am a purist though — none of those new flavors or Golden Oreos. How do you Oreo? (Yes, I did just make Oreo a verb.) Do you lick the creme out or do you eat the cookie as a sandwich like a monster?
12. Twizzlers (or Red Vines)
There’s a reason they sell these in tubs. Because you need to eat at least five at at time.
Chocolate understands when nothing else will. Nothing quite like hiding somewhere, away from everyone, nibbling off chunks of a chocolate bar. Or buying the extra bag of fun-size candy bars at Halloween for a rainy day…or you know, Monday.
Popcorn is why microwaves were invented. Or if you’re old school and not accident prone, you can do it on a stovetop. It also makes going to the movies worthwhile, because what else are you going to do when a particularly tense scene is happening?
“Once you pop, the fun don’t stop…” These aren’t the same as potato chips, but they’re no less addicting. It’s the thin cut, that satisfying crunch, and the lack of grease. Plus there’s something satisfying about “drinking” the crumbs out of the can.
In my world, there are two kinds of Doritos — Nacho Cheese and Cool Ranch. They both have their own redeeming qualities, and you can’t go wrong either way. Remember when they made 3D Doritos? I miss them everyday.
17. Pop Tarts
Yes, technically these are a breakfast food. But come on, who actually eats them for breakfast? Hell, who even puts them in a toaster? Team strawberry frosted forever.
Now excuse me while I go raid my snack cabinet…