Foods You Loved As a Kid But Totally Hate Now

Rachel Tepper Paley
·Editor

Ah, childhood. A time of innocence. A time of carefree laughter. A time of absolutely awful food you shoveled into your mouth without a second thought because your tastebuds hadn’t matured yet and you didn’t know any better.

Relax. This is a shame-free zone. We were all young once. Chalk it up to the follies of youth and be thankful you know better now.

Let’s take a stroll down gustatory lane, shall we?

1. Hot Pockets

Photo credit: Hot Pockets

You’ve had a few of these burn the roof of your mouth in your day. AND YOU LOVED IT. Now, you can only think of comedian Jim Gaffigan’s epic Hot Pocket takedown and shudder.

2. Pop Tarts

It’s a breakfast food that sometimes comes frosted, people. There aren’t many ways to spin that.

3. Fish Sticks

If ever there were two words in the English language that shouldn’t be next to one another, it’s “fish” and “stick.”

4. Little Debbie’s Swiss Rolls

Photo credit: Little Debbie

Were these sold in 25 cent packets in your middle school cafeteria? Did you buy four at a time and stuff your face with them and feel horribly sick afterwards? But you still bought them again the following week because they tasted so epically awesome that you couldn’t help yourself? THESE THINGS ARE WILLPOWER DESTROYERS. Nothing this addictive should cost less than $1.

5. Vienna Sausages

It’s sausage in a can. Sausage. In. A. Can.

6. TV Dinners

If you were lucky enough to have a mom or dad who cooked meals for you on the regular, chances are you insulted them tremendously by romanticizing frozen TV dinners. They came in indented trays! Sometimes they were kid-themed! You could eat them in front of the TV! Too bad they usually tasted like depression.

7. SpaghettiOs

Photo credit: Campbell’s

Let’s forget for a hot sec that this stuff is packed with more sugar than some desserts. Can we talk about how SpaghettiOs look nothing like spaghetti? This definitely contributed to the delinquency of minors who today can’t tell one type of pasta from another.

8. Kraft Macaroni & Cheese

No matter how much we stirred and fussed, somewhere in our bowls there’d be hidden a dry, orange clump of that awful cheese powder. It would take at least three gulps of milk to rid our mouths of the taste. AND YET. It’d be our after-school snack again the next day. We had a short memory.

9. Eating at McDonald’s

To be fair, we still love us a Big Mac, large Coke and large fry combo. It tastes good, OK. But almost nothing on this sweet earth can justify downing 1190 calories in a single sitting. Unless you’re a competitive eater, or in training for the Olympics.

10. Warheads

Photo credit: Impact Confections

Eating candy is supposed to be an enjoyable experience, not feel like a ritual hazing. Did anyone ever like these, or was everyone just pretending they did to seem cool? We’re pretty sure Warheads only exist because of peer pressure.

11. A Whole Glass of Milk

There was a time in your life when milk was your go-to at every meal. It wasn’t just for cereal and dunking cookies. You had a box of it with your lunch. You had a full glass of it with dinner. MILK ALL THE TIME. Now? That much milk is a bad choice.

12. Hawaiian Punch

We’re just going to state the facts right now. Hawaiian Punch contains only five percent juice. Hawaiian Punch’s cartoon mascot sometimes looks like he’s had a few. Hawaiian Punch stained roughly half your wardrobe between the ages of three and ten. We are merely saying these things aloud.

13. Fruit Gushers

Photo credit: General Mills

Can anyone tell us what the “fruit” in Fruit Gushers is? Also, they’re called “Gushers.” That’s just not good. 

14. Nerds

There is nothing nerdy about this candy. It was widely loved during our childhood. Stop trying to be so nerdy, Nerds! You are failing! Related: you taste like highway grit rolled in sugar.

15. Lunchables

Photo credit: Oscar Mayer

No matter how many times our mothers told us these things were gross and “Wouldn’t we like a nice roast beef sandwich instead?”, we stamped our feet until she caved. They’re like American bento boxes for kids, and we mean that in the meanest possible way! Also, they acquainted us with the term “ham water.”

Seriously, kid-version-of-us. What were you thinking?!