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 (now defunct) "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.

It was released in 1987 and was available until 2001, according to press release from Coca-Cola. 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 ended in 1991.

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, as the company announced to Facebook (via Bleeding Cool).


The '90s was the golden age of lunch box juices, and Squeezits were king. First appearing in 1985, Squeezits were in squeezable plastic bottles, and by 1992 they were redesigned to be shaped like cartoon characters. They came in flavors like Chucklin' Cherry, Mean Green Puncher, Smarty Arty Orange, 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.

Not only were they fun to squeeze (or to squirt!), kids loved not having to deal with a straw. Kids today have something similar with Kool-Aid Bursts, but anyone who was a kid in the '90s knows they're just not the same.

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 late 1990s 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 in the early 2000s. 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. Frito Lay did try to resurrect them in 2015, but without the original flavor, they weren't very popular.

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, because of low sales. 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! There's definitely a move on the internet to get them back in stores — we can only hope someone will listen.


Fruit snacks were always a safe bet, but there were hundreds of different varieties. You could have your snacks by the foot, 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 2002. 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. 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.

Keebler Tato Skins

In the '80s and '90s there seemed to be no limits to the "Uncommonly Good" snack creations that would emerge from the mysterious Keebler "Hollow Tree" filled with magical, baking elves. One such creation was known as "Tato Skins." Loaded with "baked potato a-peel," Keebler's Tato Skins were crispy, oblong chips that promised to be made from "potatoes and skins that are real." They were a lot like extra-thick Pringles chips, with a lighter and darker side of the chip meant to represent the innards and skins of an actual baked potato. Heftier and heartier than a traditional potato chip, Tato Skins were plentifully coated with flavorings like sour cream and onion, and cheddar and bacon, and even saw some limited-run flavors like chili and cheese and steak and potato.

If they seem familiar to you, it is because a company called Inventure Foods bought the brand from Keebler in 2000, and re-marketed them as TGI Friday's Potato Skins chips, albeit with a new recipe that used decidedly less salt and powdery flavorings. Inventure also sells a version that is still called Tato Skins, which rumor says you might be able to snag at your local Dollar Tree. Sadly, no elfin magic is involved with either version.

Reggie! Bars

Though its heydey was extremely short-lived, the Reggie! Bar remains an iconic candy bar for kids from the late '70s and early '80s. The candy bar wasn't a bar at all — it was a round serving of thick caramel, covered in roasted peanuts and dipped in a coating of milk chocolate, packaged with a baseball card. Its shape was likely an homage to a baseball, since the bar was named for the famed Yankee's hall-of-famer, Reggie Jackson, a charismatic, two-time World Series MVP, who also appeared in films and television programs like MacGyver and The Naked Gun. Jackson, while playing for the Oakland Athletics, had famously declared that once he joined a New York team, they'd name a candy bar after him. They did, and the new confection was handed to fans as they entered Yankee Stadium for the 1978 home opener — and were later thrown on the field to celebrate Jackson's home run play. Sadly, Reggie! Bars' flame blew out almost as quickly as Jackson's pop-culture status, though you can still purchase some very stale leftovers at eBay.

Snapple Soda

Long before Wendy, the Snapple Lady, was pushing Snapple Iced Teas, Lemonades, and Juice Drinks in the '90s, kids of the '80s got to enjoy the sweet, sweet taste of Snapple Sodas. With zippy flavors like French Cherry, Tru Root Beer, Jamaican Ginger Beer, Raspberry Royal, Creme D'Vanilla, and fan-favorite, Cherry-Lime Rickey, the sodas were a hit among teens and parents who may have just believed that Snapple's "All Natural" labeling meant that the drinks were healthy. As the company transitioned to an even more health-conscious image in the '90s, eventually lobbying for positions in school cafeterias across the US, the sodas began to disappear from the shelves, leaving all of us Cherry-Lime Rickey fans to slum it with a frustratingly uncarbonated Snapple Kiwi Strawberry drink instead. One writer yearning for her Rickey-fix even wrote to the company imploring them to give the soda another chance, but was simply told that it was "no longer in production." Where's Wendy when you need her?

Keebler Magic Middles

We already know that those Keebler elves had their work cut out for them in the '80s, giving birth to a plethora of cookie and cracker delectables that we can still freely enjoy today. Alas, some of those beloved creations ended up on the wrong side of the Hollow Tree, and were discontinued. Perhaps none is so bemoaned as the cookie known as Magic Middles. The chewy, shortbread cookie stuffed with a chocolate fudge center was so beloved that fans have even galvanized — an online petition demanding the cookie's return has one thousand signatures, and a Facebook page championing the treats has well over two thousand likes. But it hasn't been enough to coax Keebler into firing up the Magic Middles section of the "fac-tree" just yet.

Die-hard fans say that Pepperidge Farms' Milano Cookies come close when you really wish you could get your Magic Middles on.

Apple Newtons

Fig Newton cookies have been kicking around in kids' lunchboxes since 1891 — a pretty impressive feat for a snack that was not made in a tree by magical elves, but by the Nabisco company. Back in the day they were known as Fig Newton "cakes," but by the '80s Nabisco transitioned the treats to cookie status. They also began adding some flavor options for the savvy kids who might not be quite so jazzed up about fig-paste cookies as their great-grandparents may have been. Along with flavors like strawberry and raspberry, Apple Newtons also made an appearance. And while you can still buy the cookies in multiple flavors, at some point over the years Apple Newtons were tweaked, and became Baked Apple and Cinnamon Newtons — a flavor change that does not sit well for some devoted Apple Newton fans. Another tweak to Newtons? In 2012 they dropped the word fig from their previous title, Fig Newtons, leaving us simply with "Newtons," though in a wide variety of healthy-sounding flavors like 100% Whole Grain Triple Berry or Blueberry.

Munch 'ems

In the '80s and '90s, if you were hankering for a "cracker that crunched like a chip," and hey, who wasn't, you need look no further than that magical Hollow Tree and those ageless, snack-happy elves. Was there anything they didn't make?

Keebler's Munch 'ems were marketed as a healthy alternative to chips, because they were "Baked, not fried!" They came in flavors like nacho, cheddar, ranch, and fan-favorite, sour cream and onion. They mysteriously disappeared right around the same time that Kellogg's acquired Keebler in 2000. Folks who still miss their favorite faux-chips suggest a few substitutes for the long-missed crackers, like Ritz Crisps and Cheez-It Grooves. A gluten-free blogger may have accidentally stumbled on the closest match yet, with her discovery that Van's gluten-free crackers happen to have nearly the same flavor as a Munch 'em, while also comparing well in texture, weight, and shape, making them an ideal treat for your modern day, gluten-free lunchbox.

Planters Cheez Balls and Cheez Curls

Friends, while you may have long given up hope that your favorite lunchbox snacks of yesteryear would ever return to the supermarket shelves, we are here to tell you that there is a glimmer of light, and it comes in the form of cheese balls. Planters Cheez Balls and Cheez Curls, discontinued snacks with a fervent fan-base that just wouldn't quit, are indeed back on supermarket shelves — but only for a limited time.

Planters Head of Brand Building, Melanie Huet, said in a statement, "We heard many impassioned pleas for us to bring Cheez Balls and Cheez Curls back over the years and we wanted to give our fans a chance to reunite with their most-missed cheesy snack." The company, along with spokesman, Mr. Peanut, even treated their most ardent fans by shipping out the first blue canisters to them at their home — a move that got them a lot of social media love.