What A Throwback

Parents Share 19 Nostalgic Foods & Drinks They Loved Growing Up — But Rarely Give Their Kids

Nothing’ll take you back to childhood faster than a bologna sandwich and Kool-Aid with spoonfuls of sugar in it.

A bologna sandwich with chips.
Brent Hofacker/Getty Images

Remember the days of eating a Twinkie for lunch, chugging a SunnyD when getting home from school, and squirting some Easy Cheese on a cracker for a nightly snack?

We asked our readers on Facebook what they remember eating and drinking during their childhoods that they don't often give to their kids now, and we received thousands of responses. It made us wonder: How do nutritionists view these nostalgic foods and drinks for kids today?

"Most dieticians or nutritionists would classify [a lot of] these … as highly processed," Roxana Ehsani, MS RD CSSD LDN, registered dietitian nutritionist, tells Scary Mommy. "Ones to limit and to moderate. Not saying that they're completely off limits, but view them as treats to have every once in a while."

She says, of course, we should focus on highly nutritious foods — like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy products. But as long as we're eating nutrient-dense foods as our base, we can help our kids understand that consuming other foods and drinks (like some of our childhood faves) is also fine in moderation.

So, what were the most popular childhood foods and drinks our readers shared? Read on for some of the most relatable responses.


"Bologna on Wonder Bread and mustard was my favorite." — Tonya Jackson Chiarodo

"I used to love pickle spears wrapped in bologna." — Erin Thompson

"Fried bologna sandwiches." — Barbara Abbate

"My grandmother's specialty was bologna and butter sandwiches." — Jennifer Belgin

"Bologna and mayo on white bread." — Jen Gutteridge Helton

Sugar On Everything

"Cereal with spoonfuls of sugar added to it. Grapefruit with sugar. Strawberries dipped in sugar." — Natalie Berg

"Peanut butter and sugar sandwich." — Jessica Seng Abarca

"Sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon mixed up on top of margarine on toast." — Chelsea Teresa Lynn

"Kool-Aid with lots of extra sugar to make it taste better." — Amanda Blasius

"Raw rhubarb dipped in sugar!" — Amanda Stevenson

Cheese in a Can With Crackers

"We ate that all the time as a nightly snack! Good grief." — Tricia Valenzuela

"My mom served this as cocktails to our guests." — Mary Lane Ruff

"Mmmm, on pretzel rods. That was a sleepaway camp must-have!" — Tammy Kadosh Lapidus

TV Dinners

"KidCuisine! I have so many vivid memories of everything tasting vaguely like plastic… ugh." — Nora Davis

“[TV dinners] in the ‘foil’ pans … loved them.” — Denise Williams

"I LOVED the Hungry Man fried chicken with the mashed potatoes." — Mary Lane Ruff

"I loved KidCuisine! I can still vividly remember following the directions about keeping certain parts covered and removing the 'dessert' until the last nuking cycle." — Kymberli Richey Petronio

Hostess & Little Debbie Snacks

"Hostess cupcakes, pies, and Twinkies were a lunch box/brown bag staple for any kid who grew up in the '60s and '70s. Stephanie Tate

"Little Debbie for life!" — Jamie 'Blackburn' Thomas

Canned Pasta Meals

"Anything from Chef Boyardee. I used to love the raviolis." — Amanda Barnes

"Spaghettios. They are terrible, and I loved them as a kid!" — Erin Carpentier Bauer


"I remember drinking nothing but soda all the time. I still drink it, but my kids have had it maybe a handful of times." — Megan Deeter

"I'd have at least two or three Cokes a day. My kids drink water and the occasional juice box or Sprite." — Torie Champine


"I couldn't leave the table until my plate of liver was eaten." — Synthya Roys

"My mum insisted we had liver at least once a month because of the iron levels." — Rachael Randall

"At dinnertime, when my mom turned her back, I would take the packaged liver and hide it. I hated it that much." — Christin L. Goff

Powdered Milk

"I remember my mom buying powdered milk when I was really little … It was SO GROSS." — Margaret Shockley Vollmer

"Definitely had [powdered milk] in the cupboard when times were hard as a kid." — Angela Norris

"When the gallon of milk got down to half full, my mom made a full gallon by filling the remainder with powdered milk." — Jennifer Ruffner

Other Nostalgic Foods & Drinks

"We used Velveeta for everything: mac and cheese, grilled cheese sandwiches, as a cheese sauce for veggies." — Melissa Mayer

"Cube steak." — Liz Louison Farnham

"Sunny Delight!" — Courtney Browell

"Hamburger Helper." — Sabrina Juarez

"Lunchables" — Amanda Stevens Smith

"Ramen noodles, but not cooked — just smashed up and mixed with a seasoning packet." — Erica Bostic

"I HATE fish as an adult because I ate so many gross fish sticks!" — Crystal Japor

"All the cereal that tore up the inside of my mouth: Captain Crunch, Cocoa Puffs, and Cinnamon Toast Crunch." — Brooke Krynski

Responses have been lightly edited for clarity.