Lunch box foods we'll sadly never get to eat again

Remember the feeling of opening up your brown bag or officially licensed plastic lunch box (I had a Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers one) only to find your favorite snack in there? That was a million times better than getting picked first for kickball or having an early dismissal. If lunch time was great, then the rest of the day would be, too. Times were simpler then, but maybe you want to switch things up and save a bit of cash by bringing your lunches to work now that you're an adult. There's nothing wrong with tossing a package of Gushers or a couple of Fruit Roll-Ups in your bag just for the sake of nostalgia. However, there are some lunch box staples of your youth that are sadly no longer available. We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if you have a hankering for any of these items, you're out of luck.


Betty Crocker Dunkaroos were a '90s lunchbox staple. If you had a package of these cookies with dippable frosting, you pretty much had carte blanche to trade snacks with any kid in the lunchroom. Dunkaroos were absolutely delicious — I'd like to think of them as the dessert version of Kraft Handi-Snacks. And just like the cheese in Handi-Snacks, you had to practically scrape every centimeter in the tiny compartment to have enough frosting for your last Dunkaroo cookie. What can I say? As kids we really didn't know the proper frosting to cookie ratio.

Dunkaroos were discontinued in the United States back in 2012, but if you know your way around the kitchen there are easy to follow recipes to make your own version. If you are craving the real thing though, there is a way. Our neighbors to the north still have Dunkaroos on store shelves! According to Canada's The Globe and Mail, Betty Crocker announced the "Smugglaroos" campaign to encourage millennials to ship the sugary snack across the border to U.S. fans. They might still be available in Canada, but only the standard chocolate and vanilla flavors are around, the amazing cookies and cream ones no longer exist.

Hi-C Ecto Cooler

Any Hi-C was a lunchbox favorite, but everyone wanted the one with Slimer on the box. Hi-C Ecto Cooler was a green tangerine-flavored juice drink that was even better than a fresh-from-the-fountain Hi-C Orange at McDonald's. Despite Ghostbusters declining in popularity with kids, the drink stuck around for well over a decade.

Ben Kuchera of Polygon gave a brief history of the beverage stating that it was released in the late 1980s and was available until 2001. Those who drank the stuff toward the end of its run probably didn't even realize it was a promotional product for the animated series The Real Ghostbusters that ran from 1986 to 1992.

Something like Hi-C Ecto Cooler was rare because the popularity of the drink was higher than the cartoon it was supposed to represent. I remember how coveted this juice box was in elementary school in the mid 1990s. Half of my friends never even saw one Ghostbusters film, but they loved Ecto Cooler. The drink was brought back in boxes and cans by the Coca-Cola Company in the Summer of 2016 in honor of the Ghostbusters reboot starring Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones, and Kate McKinnon, but was retired again in December, 2016


The '90s was the golden age of lunch box juices, and Squeezits were king. Squeezits were in plastic bottles that were shaped like cartoon characters and came in flavors like Chucklin' Cherry, Mean Green Puncher, and Silly Billy Strawberry. What made Squeezits lunch room kingpins were their gimmicks. Specifically the Color Changing Squeezits, which included a tablet you would drop in the bottle in order for the drink to change color, and later the Mystery Black Bottle Squeezits, that made you complete a puzzle on the package to see what flavor they were.

I have fond memories of the Color Changing Squeezits from second grade. My friends and I spent two weeks saving up all of the tablets from our Squeezits so we could drop all of them in one drink. Spoiler alert, the drink turned brown then we dared a first grader to drink it for a dollar. Maddy Foley of Bustle explained that Squeezits faded after the turn of the millennium and completely left the market in 2001.

Lunchables All-Star Burgers and Hot Dogs With Soda

Lunchables are pretty much pure trash in a cute package, but growing up I wasn't the only one who practically begged their parents to buy these for school lunch. My mother flat out refused to buy them, despite telling her how eating cold cracker cardboard pizza would increase my playground popularity. The most bizarre product lineup from Lunchables has to be the All-Star Burgers and Hot Dogs.

Released in 1998, these were a health nut mother and pediatrician's worst nightmare. Both came with either two mini sliders or three mini hot dogs, a bag of chips, a fun size candy bar, and a Cola. It wasn't Coke or Pepsi, it wasn't even RC Cola, but some knockoff beverage that looked like it would be in a low budget movie because the producers couldn't afford to show an actual brand. Like the Lunchables Pizza and Nachos (Which are both still around), you had to eat these burgers and hot dogs cold. Who finds a cold hamburger or hot dog enjoyable? These were practically enemy number one when the war on childhood obesity started.

Doritos 3Ds

Everyone needs a crunchy chip to put in their lunchbox. Why have boring plain chips when you can have the savory and zesty flavors from Doritos? Doritos have been available in dozens of flavors, but the 3D ones were once a lunch box favorite. This puffy snack debuted in 1998 with an extremely memorable Super Bowl commercial featuring an unknown Ali Landry and pre-Will & Grace Sean Hayes. The commercial launched Landry's career, and people started to quickly gobble up Doritos 3Ds until they were discontinued. However, a version of the snack is technically still available.

The pop culture blog, Dinosaur Dracula, revealed in a post that Doritos 3Ds are sold in Mexico and resellers are putting bags up on eBay for a premium. However, they're not like the original 3Ds. The Mexican version only come in a Queso flavor. The entire original Doritos 3Ds flavor lineup which included Zesty Ranch and Jalapeno Cheddar are no longer made.

Butterfinger BB's

By 1992, The Simpsons was a cultural phenomenon. It made sense for Nestle to continue their partnership with America's favorite animated family to promote a new kind of candy. Butterfinger BB's were like Whoppers (but with a Butterfinger filling), and frequently popped up in school lunch boxes during the end of October through the beginning of November. You know, when your parents figured it would be better for their sanity to put your Halloween candy in your lunch so you ate it at school.

BB's were quite popular during the '90s but the product ended up getting discontinued in 2006. Butterfinger then launched Butterfinger Bites three years later and those are still available — but any fan of the BB's can tell you they're not the same.

P.B. Crisps

To a kid growing up in the '90s, this snack by Planters was a hell of a lot better than that jar of mixed nuts in your grandmother's living room. Released in 1992 and discontinued only a few short years later, P.B. Crisps were peanut-shaped graham crackers with a sugary coating on the outside and inside was a tasty peanut butter cream.

Planters also released Chocolate Crisps and PB and J Crisps with strawberry jam and peanut butter for the filling. However, these two variations were pretty rare even back during the brand's heyday. Over 20 years has passed and nothing on the market available right now is similar to P.B. Crisps. Oh, what about Nutter Butters you say? That's blasphemy to compare those pedestrian cookies to P.B. Crisps!


Fruit snacks were always a safe bet, but there were hundreds of different varieties. You could have your snacks by the foot, on a string, or even shaped like sharks. Betty Crocker SodaLicious were late '80s and early '90s soft drink-inspired fruit snacks shaped like vintage soda bottles and mugs

SodaLicious originally came in cherry, cola, and root beer flavors (root beer were the mug-shaped ones and would always be saved for last). Betty Crocker later brought on Cool Spot, 7UP's mascot of that same era, and flavors were changed to red punch, grape, and 7UP-inspired lemon lime. Because the market was completely saturated and trends come and go when it comes to how kids like their fruit snacks shaped, SodaLicious practically faded away into the abyss sometime in the mid '90s. I blame it on the retirement of the root beer flavor.

Hostess Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Pies

Remember how a few years ago every snack food eater was shedding a tear because Hostess was leaving us, but then they came back shortly after and everything was right in the world? Well, I've been shedding tears since the '90s when the brand discontinued Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles pies. Released in 1991 to promote Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze, these were fried Hostess pies, "fresh from the sewers", with a radioactive green colored crust, and filled with "vanilla puddin' power."

My word, were these things magical. The only thing that could have made them better was if they included collectible trading cards and stickers in the package. Oh wait, they did! The pies didn't make it past the '90s, but nostalgic nuts like myself want these bad boys back. In 2004,  Hostess confirmed it was simply a limited time item and would not be returning to shelves (via The Daily Meal). Despite other brands bringing back beloved foods for movie-ties (Hi-C with the short return of Ecto Cooler in 2016), Hostess hasn't released Turtle Pudding Pies for any of the recent movies in the new TMNT franchise. However, if you're craving a taste of your youth there is a pretty decent recipe to make your own version.

Amazin' Fruit

Amazin' Fruit were candy sort of cleverly disguised as a fruit snack. These were chubby little gummy bears boasting about how they're made with real fruit (they didn't say how much). According to Retroland, Amazin' Fruit were released by Hershey's in 1992 and were then bought by Farley Sathers in 2003. They were discontinued before the end of the '00s just as German brand Haribo started to really dominate the gummy candy market in the US.

The fun size packs of these bad boys were always a classroom favorite, especially after Halloween, but they weren't just for kids. I remember when my mother would buy Halloween candy and specifically horde all of the packets of Amazin' Fruit for herself. Amazin' Fruit came in both classic flavors as well as tropical. As their popularity during the Hershey Era declined, Amazin' Fruit tried to stay relevant. Along with a branding revamp that included very Fruitopia-esque commercials, they released Amazin' Fruit Fruit Shaped gummies, but by this time the smaller bags of the juicy gummies weren't being asked for in school lunches, and movie theaters stopped carrying the jumbo bags.