Childhood is a time of innocence, youthful energy, and snacking—lots of snacking. So much snacking, in fact, that we’ve created entire memories and emotions around the sights, sounds, smells, and commercial jingles of our favorite childhood treats.
Yet not everyone’s childhood nostalgias are the same; someone posting an image of their favorite childhood treat may resonate with some and not others, the commercial song that becomes one person’s earworm will just be meaningless babble to another, and the sight of one treat that makes one person’s mouth water may completely repulse another.
We’ve decided to scour the internet for snacks and treats that bring back memories of those better days and separate them into a helpful list. In addition to triggering those nostalgia feels, we’ve also set out to help settle a debate once and for all: who’s a millennial and who’s a member of Generation Z?
As you read through this article and relive those childhood days, you may find yourself surprised by which ones resonate with you the most. There may be some you had completely forgotten about or couldn’t remember the name of, and you may be surprised to find you belong to a totally different generational group—or at least align with them more.
So grab a snack, sit back, and relive the good old days when you could eat these things without worrying about gaining weight or getting another cavity, and find out if you’re a member of Generation Z or a Millennial by whether you ate these snacks or not.
30 Millennial: Wonder Ball
Children from the ’90s will remember this ball of chocolate that came with a prize inside. Originally called the Nestle Magic Ball, it was quickly renamed and became a juggernaut with its catchy tune “What’s in a Wonder Ball?”.
Well for some parents what was in a Wonder Ball was a potential choking hazard, and it was quickly discontinued. The Wonder Ball has made a few attempts at a comeback over the years, this time with edible candy instead of a hard plastic toy, but it’s never been as popular as it once was.
29 Gen Z: Trix Yogurt
Leveraging the success and popularity of Trix cereal, General Mills directed their Yoplait division to come up with an equally colorful yogurt to target health-conscious parents and their kids. The yogurts came in a variety of fruit flavors. While they did offer single-flavor yogurts like raspberry or cherry, their most popular were the mixes that combined two flavors in a single cup like Raspberry Rainbow.
These iconic dual-colored yogurts had a home in Gen Z’s lunchboxes until parents became concerned about the artificial coloring in Trix. The yogurt is now made with healthier ingredients, but it’s nowhere near as popular as it was in the early 2000s.
28 Millennial: Fruit Roll-Ups
For those unfamiliar with this snack, fruit roll-ups might look like something you peel off and use as an adhesive, but for millennials, this was a sweet treat that provided lots of entertainment. It came in many different fruit flavors like Rainbow, Sunberry Burst, Amazing Cherry, Flavor Wave, Pink Lemonade, and Electric Blue Raspberry, among others.
Not content to be just a treat, General Mills made varieties that allowed kids to make shapes and give themselves temporary tongue tattoos. The versatile treat ran into some trouble after parents and health interest groups complained about the lack of fruit despite the name and advertising, but it’s still on shelves to this day.
27 Gen Z: Baby Bottle Pop
The title alone is enough to get the theme song stuck in the minds of many Gen Z. Released in the late ’90s, this tasty lollipop flooded lunchboxes and became a popular candy for many. Coming in a variety of flavors, the lollipop is eaten by dipping the tip into the powder inside the bottle and then reattaching it to the top.
It’s a delightful treat that can probably only be enjoyed as a youth or in secret because sucking on the end of a colorful fake baby bottle isn't a very flattering look for most adults. This humiliating product is still found in many stores, and the Jonas Brothers even modernized the catchy jingle.
26 Millennial: Fun Dip
Fun Dips are an older candy. Originally, they came on the market as "Lik-M-Aid" in the 1940s. They were rebranded in the late ’70s as "Fun Dip" and gained steam with young millennials in the ’80s. The candy consists of a paper pouch filled with flavored powder that could be fished out by licking a white edible candy stick and dipping it inside.
Most common flavors are Cherry, Grape, and the Raspberry/Apple combo, but it's been released in a variety of flavors, including sour versions. The candy proved popular during the time it lasted, though this was more from the tedium required to eat the powder and for its unique method of consumption.
25 Gen Z: Nerds Rope
Nerds were a fun and colorful candy that delighted children for many, many years, but it wasn’t until Gen Z came along that Nerds Rope was released and revolutionized the bite-sized little candies. The nerds are small fruity crunchy candies that were attached to a long piece of gummy ‘rope,’ giving it the name.
Commercials showed kids doing all sorts of crazy things like playing jump rope or using the Nerds rope to rollerblade together. The candy was surprisingly long, and those kids that were generous enough could tear off sections and share with their friends, though this was likely the candy that broke a few friendships given how desired it was.
24 Millennial: Scooby Snacks
While there isn’t an actual Scooby Snacks product—for humans anyway—you’d be hard-pressed to find a child of the '90s who didn’t refer to the variety of Scooby-Doo treats as "Scooby Snacks." From fruit gummies shaped like the characters to graham crackers shaped like dog bones, ‘Scooby Snacks’ have created many fond memories for millennials.
You can still buy the various Scooby-Doo treats, but you better be careful which ones you grab. Parents in Whanganui, New Zealand accidentally packed their kids’ lunchboxes with the Scooby-Doo dog treats meant for dogs because they looked similar to the treats meant for kids.
23 Gen Z: Fruit Twistables
For whatever reason, the years of Gen Z were the time when candy and other treats started showing up in rope form. Kellog’s Fruit Twistables were three gummy fruit strings wrapped around each other into a flavorful braid for kids to eat.
The commercials had an anthropomorphized Sgt. Twistable whipping various fruit recruits into shape at “Fruit Camp” so they could become Fruit Twistables, too. The product has since been discontinued and is no longer available for purchase, though Gen Z will get a kick out of the numerous “Fruit Camp” commercials that are still found on YouTube.
22 Millennials: Fruit Gushers
These little babies were considered the holy grail for many young millennials. It was a wonderful fruity gummy treat that, when bitten, “gushed” a fruity juice into your mouth. Fruit Gushers were both entertaining and delicious when they came out in the ’90s.
Admittedly the commercials were a little bizarre. The most common gimmick had children tasting one of the gushers and having their heads morph and contort into the shape of whatever flavor they were eating. Others had the little treats and or the children gushing fruit juice across the room. It's unclear if these disturbing commercials sold more product or may have cost the company money for traumatizing children around the world.
21 Gen Z: E Z Squirt
Proof that marketing and clever movie tie-ins will beat survival instinct every time, Heinz Ketchup released their green-colored E Z Squirt ketchup alongside the popularity of the Shrek movie and became an absolute powerhouse of a product for a few years.
Not content to make hotdogs and burgers look absolutely disgusting with just green, they also released purple, blue, orange, pink, and teal. The flavor of the ketchup was probably not affected in any way and was a fun novelty until it was pulled from stores in the mid-2000s. Today, it exists only as a happy-filled memory for Generation Z and nightmare fuel for everyone else.
20 Millennial: Fruit by the Foot
Though very similar to Fruit Rollups, Fruit by the Foot was fun for its thinner dimension and coming ‘rolled up’ in paper. In the early ’90s, these snacks fit great in lunchboxes while providing up to three feet of fruity goodness. Flavors ranged from standard fruit flavors such as Orange and Cherry to crazy combinations like Berry Tie-dye and Rippin Berry Berry.
After a while, the paper the treat was rolled up with was printed with jokes, trivia facts, and games. In the late '90s, they collaborated with Nintendo and provided tips on how to beat some of their games.
19 Gen Z: French Toast Crunch
This is the cereal that looked like mini pieces of French toast came onto shelves in the late ’90s and stayed for a little over a decade. It's described as having a taste that would have you “flipping” the crispy kernels and a syrupy flavor that really was good.
When Cinnamon Toast Crunch proved to be more profitable, General Mills discontinued French Toast Crunch in the mid-2000s but later brought it back to select stores in 2014 due to overwhelming demand. While some younger millennials may have some memories with French Toast Crunch, it was a big part of childhood for most of Gen Z.
18 Millennial: Lunchables
In the ’80s, Oscar Mayer was trying to sell more bologna, and American mothers were feeling exhausted packing their kids' lunches every day. Thus, Lunchables were created, satisfying the Oscar Mayer shareholders, relieving the burden on American mothers, and delighting kids every day at school.
Lunchables come in 26 different combinations offering various meats and lately offering healthy sides and alternatives. These lunches made a lot of tidy parents happy and kept a lot of kids sane that hated when their foods touched each other. Plus, the meals were actually good, and the desserts were always the best.
17 Gen Z: Uncrustables
While many items on this list made for great lunches, Uncrustables were, no doubt, the most favorite snack kids could take to school. These sandwiches were packed with fruit jelly and peanut butter, and the bread was nice and moist, making for wonderful American PB&J calzones.
The company’s struggle to keep their patent is the stuff of legend, and Uncrustables represents an impressive feat of food engineering. These packable sandwiches elicit dramatic responses from Gen Z when mentioned, and the amount of time it saved parents from cutting the crust off sandwiches manually is incalculable.
16 Millennial: Pizza Rolls
The next best thing to a fresh pizza was the little bite-sized Pizza Rolls released by Totinos in the ’90s. These flavorful pizzas were packed with cheese and bits of meat wrapped in crust and came in a variety of flavors, though pepperoni is by far the most common and most popular. Microwaved or tossed in the oven, these little pockets of lava were dangerous if consumed too soon and amazing if cooled off a little.
The success of this product is evident in that it’s still present in millennials’ homes to this day at get-togethers and Superbowl parties.
15 Gen Z: Go-Gurt
Kids with parents who forgot to pack spoons with their lunches were probably the greatest fans of the Go-Gurt when it came out. The downside was it was also easy to eat these on the bus on the way to school. Yogurt in a tube that’s squeezed out and slurped up sounds like a potentially noisy way to eat yogurt but was honestly pretty effective.
They also came in all kinds of flavors, usually in dual combinations such as strawberry and vanilla, strawberry and berry, strawberry and punch, and pretty much strawberry and any other flavor. The greatest discovery was when people realized that Go-Gurts tasted amazing when frozen.
14 Millennial: Hot Pockets
While other items on this list consist of fleeting flavors and explosions of sugar, the Hot Pocket was a hearty treat beloved by nearly all millennials. The ultimate snack after school, meal for dinner, breakfast food, and midnight-craving satisfier, the Hot Pocket was easy to cook, was portable, and tasted amazing.
Over the years, Hot Pockets introduced a wide variety of fillings and styles, everything from surprisingly good breakfast pockets filled with egg and cheese to the heavenly Croissant Crust Hot Pockets where the crust was so good you didn’t care what was inside. Perhaps most famous is the standard pepperoni and cheese that enabled young millennials to make their own mini calzones.
13 Gen Z: Sour Flush Lollipops
You’d be forgiven for never having heard of these, let alone tasted one, but for Generation Z, this was a short-lived treat that inspired a lot of giggles and disgusted looks. It was a mini plastic toilet with colorful powder in the toilet bowl. You’d take your lollipop shaped like a plunger (yes, you read that right), lick the lollipop, and then plunge it into the bowl to coat it with powder.
They’re still available for purchase online if you’re into that sort of thing, and they come in a handful of sour fruit flavors. It makes you wonder how many naïve kids found out the hard way that the real thing doesn’t quite taste the same.
12 Millennial: Capri Sun
The wonderful fruity drink that went on to create a DIY purse craze, Capri Sun was all the rage for millennials when they came out in the '80s. They come in dozens of different flavors with the majority being fruit based. Literally, any fruit you think of is bound to be a flavor found in Capri Sun.
It did hit some minor setbacks after people reported mold in some of the pouches and environmental groups criticized the hard-to-recycle packaging. However, Capri Sun has a made a resurgence by making the bottom transparent for mold inspection and are developing a package that recycles better. Now, if they could only help make the straws go in easier.
11 Gen Z: Lolli-Go-Round
There’s something about Generation Z that motivated companies to find ways to turn treats into toys. The Lolli-Go-Round was a trio of lollipops on a device that made the center one spin around after you pulled the string.
There’s no telling how many kids chipped their teeth as they sucked on a lollipop that spun around in their mouths, but it’s a fun gimmicky treat that made a few waves in the marketplace before disappearing just as quickly. They come in a variety of fruity flavors and are still purchasable online.
10 Millennial: Welch’s Fruit Snacks
Good old Welch’s Fruit Snacks was a treat that kids insisted was as healthy as eating regular fruit. The little pouches contained a variety of fruit flavors, though most common was the Mixed Fruit pack, which contained orange, strawberry, grape, and peach. Each gummy was shaped like the fruit it resembled and were absolutely delicious.
The company ran into hot water a few years ago after a lawsuit determined Welch’s Fruit Snacks violated the Jelly Bean rule (yeah that’s a legal term by the FDA; look it up), which basically states that you can’t just add vitamins to candy and market the product as healthy. The case is still ongoing, so you might want to grab the snacks while you can.
9 Gen Z: Twizzler Straws
No, this isn’t the meme that floated around the internet of people using Twizzlers as straws; this is the actual product produced by the company. Released in the early 2000s, Twizzler Straws are fruity licorice pieces that have flavors like Orange, Lemonade, Blue Raspberry, Grape, and Watermelon. They also include Strawberry, but that’s the original, so it doesn’t count as a new product.
Later, the company would go on to include a gooey filling in their Twizzler Straws and make other flavors like Orange Creamsicle or Key Lime Pie. But Gen Z will remember the first five flavors the most.
8 Millennial: Teddy Grahams
Teddy Grahams are one of those treats that make millennials smile when they see them. Eaten plain, sprinkled on yogurt, or buried in ice cream, these little bear-shaped graham crackers were a delightful little snack. They came in flavors like honey, chocolate, and fruit punch and were even made into cereal at one point. It’s also one of the few treats on this list that were actually pretty healthy, and even PETA gave them a stamp of approval for being vegan-friendly.
They also gave parents a good indicator as to what type of children they were raising, whether they saw the tender child talk to the bears in a friendly tone or viciously use their teeth to snap the little bears' heads off.
7 Gen Z: Flavor of the Month
This one isn’t a product per se, as it's a general theme that’s occurred with nearly all snacks and treats made during Gen Z’s youth. Everything from potato chips to soda had been experimenting with different flavors and flavor combos and even crossbreeding snacks with other snacks to create some wacky, surprisingly delicious, and often wild products.
Pizza-flavored Pringles, baked-potato-flavored potato chips, Yogurt Cheerios, Swedish Fish Oreos, Pickle Juice Soda, bacon-flavored mints—the list goes on and on. If you have a favorite childhood memory involving a randomly flavored food or drink, then odds are, you’re a member of Gen Z.
6 Millennial: Bagel Bites
It seems pizza was a common go-to for food inventors and major corporations when tapping into the Millennial food market in the ’90s. Though products like Hot Pockets and Pizza Rolls proved successful and continue to this day, there was something about Bagel Bites that generates more nostalgia among millennials than any other pizza-based snack.
These mini pizzas abandoned the traditional pizza crust and went with a bagel topped with cheese and pepperoni. Teenagers across America only needed to pop them in the oven or microwave and would have a plate full of mini pizzas that made them feel like royalty. It’s hard to say who thought putting pizza on a bagel was a good idea, but they were absolutely right.
5 Gen Z: Milk N’ Cereal Bars
Gen Z grew up in a time when parents were working hard and constantly on the go, meaning many products were designed to facilitate a busy lifestyle. Milk N’ Cereal bars were definitely a product of that need and satisfied the breakfast cereal cravings of kids heading out the door before they were fully dressed.
Coming in practically any flavor of cereal owned by General Mills, these things were absolutely delicious and were, no doubt, very unhealthy. Parents and kids are likely still wondering if the ‘milk filling’ was probably just frosting in disguise.
4 Millennial: Handi-Snacks
Nabisco’s Handi-Snacks were a part of every millennial’s childhood. They were the perfect little snack that went with anything or could be enjoyed on their own. The Handi-Snack came in a small plastic container with a compartment for crackers and the other side for cheese with a small plastic red rectangle to act as a spoon for the cheese.
Apart from the standard crackers and cheese, they also had small hard breadsticks to scoop the cheese, pretzels, or even the heavenly Oreo cookie sticks with cream dip. But that original crackers and cheese with the red spoon will forever dominate the land of nostalgia for millennials.
3 Gen Z: Reese’s Puffs Cereal
Gen Z was the time when mad scientists were finding ways to pack sugar into more and more things. Reese’s Puffs Cereal was the sinfully delicious combination of candy and sugar cereal. The round puffs came in dark brown for chocolate and light brown for peanut butter to recreate the taste of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.
The cereal is still around and still very much popular, although not as much as when it was first released and before the recent anti-sugar campaigns. In addition to being a fun cereal, it also taught us that Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups tasted pretty good with a glass of milk.
2 Millennial: Cookie Crisp
Where Gen Z had Reese’s for breakfast, millennials grew up with cookies for breakfast. These little round discs resembled mini chocolate chip cookies and went great with milk. Although nothing beats a batch of grandma’s fresh cookies out of the oven, this cereal was a quick fix for kids on their way to school.
While cookie crisp has had a number of mascots over the years, including a wolf and a wizard, most millennials remember the Cookie Crook, his sidekick Chip the Dog, and Officer Crumb who thwarted their attempts to steal the cereal. Most will even be able to do the Cookie Crisp howl.
1 Gen Z: Sound Bites
Sound Bites were the ultimate combination of candy and technology that generated a lot of hype with Gen Z in the late ’90s. The lollipops were attached to a contraption that would vibrate the lollipop. While the lollipop was vibrating, you could bite down with your teeth, and the vibrations would travel through your jawbone and into your ear, thus recreating various songs and tunes only you could hear.
It was a very cool idea but ultimately failed because a lot of kids were either eating the lollipop and missing out on the tunes or listening to music and not eating their candy, and more than one kid likely chipped a tooth trying to hear the music. Still, it was a pretty cool invention that still surprises people with its inventiveness to this day.