These beloved foods from childhood NEED to make a comeback! The 70s to the Naughts was an era spanning 40 years of fabulous snackage.
The fast food was pretty fantastic, too. So, come with me on a nostalgic food adventure!
Maybe it was the extra food coloring. Or perhaps it was the additives we know (now) aren’t good for us.
Or, I suppose, it could be the stellar marketing skills of the time.
But something about the foods we ate as children was just better. It was more fun, sugary, experimental, and extravagant.
It’s time for a comeback!
Beloved Childhood Food Copycat Recipes
Many of these foods have been discontinued. And the ones still on the shelves are just not the same.
So, I scoured the interwebs for homemade/copycat recipes. Now, you can make these tasty treats and fast food dupes at home.
Your taste buds are about to time travel!
SpaghettiOs exist on a plane somewhere between spaghetti and soup.
They were the budget-friendly meal of choice for busy parents. And they were the things I begged my health-conscious mother for regularly.
(I think it had something to do with their INSANE TV commercials. Seriously. What good marketing!)
SpaghettiOs are cheesy and bursting with tomato flavor. But the O-shaped noodles are the best part. Oh, excuse me. The second best part.
If you got the kind with meatballs- they were the best part!
And yes, I know you can still buy SpaghettiOs today. But my grown-up self would prefer to make this healthier, homemade version.
It tastes the same, if not better. And it’s a fantastic way to channel your inner child.
The little elves at Keebler are the masterminds behind some of the best snack cookies. And Magic Middles were the Best of the Best.
Magic Middles were sweet, shortbread cookies stuffed with gooey chocolate.
Keebler also had a chocolate chip with a chocolate filling variety. And a chocolate cookie with peanut butter filling.
Sadly, they were discontinued because the company wanted to use the production equipment for other products.
Try the chocolate and peanut butter version here: Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies (a.k.a Magic Middles).
Nickles Bakery Banana Flips go back to the 60s. But they reached the height of popularity in the 70s. For good reason.
Banana Flips (or Banana Dreams) were soft, vanilla snack cakes shaped like tacos. They stuffed each flip with a luscious, whipped banana cream filling.
Sweet, soft, creamy- yes, please!
Think of them like a banana-flavored Twinkie. (The original recipe even had real bananas!) Doesn’t that sound delicious?
Candy for breakfast? UM YES. What child wouldn’t want candy for breakfast?
The parents, however, would not be convinced.
And thus, in 1986, Mars Incorporated created the Kudos Bar. A chocolate and, later, candy-covered granola bar.
(Hey, at least it was healthier than candy! Right? Sort of?)
The bars originally came in three flavors: fudge, peanut butter, and chocolate chip. In the mid-2000s, Kudos moved on to more decadent choices.
You could have Dove Chocolate, Snickers, or M&M Kudos. But no matter the flavor, you could count on Kudos to be sweet, chewy, and fabulous.
So, they were every kid’s favorite lunch box treat.
They discontinued kudos in 2017 when people realized they were not actually healthy. Luckily, you can make this copycat recipe!
The best part of a cinnamon roll is the middle. It’s ooey-gooey, soft, warm, and pure heaven for your taste buds.
Burger King knew this. And they capitalized on it. In the late 1990s, Burger King introduced Cini Minis to their breakfast menu.
And they were delicious! Each Cini Mini was a round Philadelphia cinnamon roll center with icing on the side.
They discontinued Cini Minis in 2016. And fans have been begging for Burger King to bring them back.
There is even a petition with over 5,000 signatures.
But Burger King is not listening, so you must make them yourself.
Thankfully, this recipe is pretty straightforward. You never have to go without again.
When you opened your lunchbox in middle school to find Dunkaroos, it was like winning the lottery.
There was nothing better than those sweet little cookies and creamy frosting.
They came in five delicious combinations:
- Vanilla cookies with rainbow sprinkle frosting
- Chocolate cookies with vanilla frosting
- Graham cookies with chocolate frosting
- Vanilla cookies with strawberry frosting
- Chocolate chip graham cookies with rainbow sprinkle frosting
And they had limited edition varieties like DreamWorks Megamind or SpongeBob SquarePants.
This tasty treat was discontinued in the U.S. in 2012, much to the dismay of many. (You could still get them in Canada until 2018.)
They brought Dunkaroos back in 2020. But their highly-anticipated return to the limelight was overshadowed by… well, 2020.
Luckily, you can make them yourself, with any flavor combo you want!
Bagel Bites were the star of sleepovers in my youth. They were the fancy hors d’oeuvres of the tween-age party.
What’s not to like about mini, bite-sized pizzas?
Plus, you can have them for breakfast. Or did you forget the 90s commercials trying to sell them as a wholesome choice?
Of course, you can still buy Bagel Bites today. And they still come in six tasty pizza flavors.
But I like the homemade ones because you can control the ingredients. Add as many toppings as you want!
The McRib sandwich. It’s delicious, meaty, and iconic. And it’s always a limited edition item.
I guess it’s brilliant on McDonald’s part. Scarcity breeds some serious FOMO (fear of missing out).
So, people rush to buy the McRib the moment they announce it.
Unfortunately, the McRib doesn’t make it into every franchise. So, even when it’s McRib season, you may not find it.
That’s where this delicious recipe comes in! It’s a healthier version with all the same goodies: pork, pickles, barbecue sauce, and onions.
These Philadelphia SnackBars were the perfect on-the-go treat. The best quick, no-work, pre-made dessert.
They were creamy cheesecake bars with a ribbon of raspberry or strawberry filling through the middle.
They had a drizzle of white chocolate for the final, perfect touch. Of course, there were other flavors, too, like chocolate chip or classic cheesecake.
I do not know why they were discontinued.
Google references some possible manufacturing challenges. But fans will never know for sure. So, I guess we have to make them ourselves.
One pizza. Three (but really four) layers of delicious, gooey, cheesy pizza-ness. Pizza Hut’s Triple Deckeroni Pizza was pure indulgence.
Let’s look at some more numbers.
It had two layers of crust, six types of cheese, and NINETY pieces of pepperoni. Plus, whatever other toppings you wanted on the topmost layer.
It was a lactose-intolerant person’s worst nightmare and a Wisconsinite’s dream. Personally, I loved it. And so did many people.
Some people would go through anything for a bite! No matter the consequences.
It was always a good day when Pudding Pops were on the school lunch menu. Even if the hot lunch menu was unappetizing.
Pudding Pops made up for it with their sweet chocolate swirl and luxurious texture.
Not everyone agreed. And after the early 2000s, they were no longer profitable.
They discontinued these beloved chocolate snack cakes in 2012. This was because the Hostess company filed for bankruptcy.
But the discontinuation didn’t last very long. The very next year, Ding Dongs were back on the market.
Ding Dongs features chocolate cake, vanilla creme filling, and a silky layer of chocolate icing.
And yeah, you can buy them at Walmart. But why? You can make a super tasty, fresh version at home.
Pillsbury Toaster Scrambles were the pinnacle of breakfast foods. Honestly, they still are.
Toaster Scrambles feature an egg-meat-and-cheese-stuffed flaky pastry you cook in the toaster. You can get them in sausage, bacon, or cheese varieties.
Every bite is so warm and buttery, with plenty of protein. You can’t go wrong.
You can still find them in many grocery stores. BUT. I think they aren’t as popular these days.
And you know they aren’t healthy. So, I try to make them somewhat better with this homemade version.
Deep-fried triangles of macaroni and cheese? Yes, please!
This fast food favorite was crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside. And each little bite was super duper cheesy.
Who wouldn’t love that? Apparently, my memory overestimated their deliciousness as the company discontinued them due to declining sales.
However, I stick by this cheesy treat. You can try this homemade version for yourself.
These “balanced energy snack” rods would inspire children around the globe to go on adventures.
They were a quick and easy snack, perfect for taking on the go.
And they were fun because they resembled astronaut food from the time. Kids could pretend they were on missions to Mars while riding in the car.
Space Food Sticks were very popular in the ‘70s and ‘80s but disappeared shortly after.
They made a return in 2006 but were once again discontinued in 2014.
But I have good news for the Space Food Stick fans out there! You can recreate this treat easily. You only need six ingredients and a little bit of time.
I tried. I did. But I could not find recipes for the following childhood faves.
But I think they still deserve plenty of hype. So, let’s remember them fondly.
RIP to snacks from the best decades of snack-tastic creation.
(I know. There are hundreds more discontinued snacks and fast foods out there. So, if I missed your childhood favorite… say it in the comments!)
1. Kellogg’s Danish Rings (Danish Go Rounds)
These fruit-stuffed toaster pastries were Pop-Tarts marketed to adults. But kids liked them, too.
They were oval, like one of those braided rugs in your grandma’s kitchen.
And for many kids, they were more fun to eat than Pop-Tarts. However, they tasted just like Pop-Tarts and came in the same varieties.
But they didn’t have the layer of colorful, crispy, sugary frosting that Pop-Tarts have.
So, the Kellogg’s Danish Rings did not last.
2. McDonald’s Onion Nuggets
Onion nuggets were like the chicken nuggets of the Onion Ring World. Actually, this 70s treat predates chicken McNuggets by about 6 years.
Onion nuggets came on the scene in 1975. They introduced chicken McNuggets in 191.
But unfortunately, this vegetarian treat could not compete with onion rings. McDonalds discontinued them 9 years after their introduction in 1984.
3. Burger King’s BK Shake ‘Em Up Fries
My little heart was incredibly sad when Burger King stopped making Shake ‘Em Up Fries.
In hindsight, these cheesy fries were not very delicious. They were regular fries sold with fake cheese powder.
And they cost extra, so parents didn’t love them.
But as a kid, they were the best!
Many children agreed because this product even made it to the United Kingdom.
Also, you gotta give the 2000s Burger King marketing team some props. These commercials were fantastic!
Kids were doing the Jackhammer, Helicopter, and Disco Boogie all over the States.
4. McDonald’s McSalad Shakers
Speaking of shaking things up. McDonald’s did the mason jar salad thing before it was popular.
The fast food chain has had salads on the menu for as long as I can remember. But they introduced the Shakers for convenience.
They came in three options: Garden, Chef, or Grilled Chicken Caesar salad. And you had five dressing choices.
- Reduced-Calorie Red French
- Caesar, Ranch
- Honey Mustard
- Fat-Free Herb Vinaigrette
- Thousand Island.
All you had to do was pick your salad, add your dressing, and shake!
5. Cereal Straws
The chokehold these things had on me when I was a kid. And as an adult, I’d still love to have them.
They made drinking milk so much fun!
Cereal straws were straws you can eat- literally, made of cereal. They were available in two varieties: Fruit Loops and Cocoa Krispies. Both were fantastic.
Fruit Loops cereal straws were bright, colorful, and fruity. Cocoa Krispies had a rich chocolate taste.
Sadly, they are no more. You can try these DIY Fruit Loops straws. But they are not the same.
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