09/12/2013 09:40 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Power-Ranking the Top 25 Old-School Lunchbox Snacks


During elementary and middle school, there was always that nerve-wracking moment right before you opened your lunch where you knew that if you didn't get a good snack next to your PB&J and Capri Sun, YOUR ENTIRE DAY AND MAYBE EVEN YOUR LIFE WOULD BE RUINED FOREVER. With that said, we ranked the 25 most popular snacks, from day-ruiner to day-maker. So pay attention, MOM.

25. An Apple
Seriously mom? A Red Delicious apple that is now kind of warm and has those gross, mushy spots and is all mealy, and I can't even pawn it off on my teacher to be a kiss-ass because she also thinks it's gross? Get one of these in your G.I. Joe Storm Shadow Edition lunchbox, and YOU KNOW things aren't going well at home.

24. Pretzel Sticks
Pretzel sticks are really the pretzel version of phoning it in. They're mad salty, so you absolutely need to have a sweet juice box to pair them with, but they're also so thin, that you can't even suck the salt off and pretend you have a cigar and you're '40s Boston politician James Curley passing out patronage jobs to your Irish-Catholic political allies in exchange for pardoning you for mail fraud. Wait, what are we talking about again?

23. Go-Gurt
Again with the things that are good when they're cold, but now really gross because they should've been refrigerated, except people in the '90s didn't know that yet. Also, you have to suck on a plastic wrapper that can give your tongue paper cuts if you're not careful, and NO ONE IS EVER CAREFUL when eating Go-Gurt.

22. Kudos
No, we're not referring to claim or praise for exceptional achievement. Kudos were essentially a clever move by Mars to produce a candy bar that moms would think was healthy enough to pack in a lunch. And for about 11 years in a row during the '80s and '90s, my mom fell for it. But that cleverness comes with a cost: they split the difference between granola and candy bar, and ended up being a not very exceptional version of either.

21. Donettes
Why am I getting so fat? I don't understand it. It's not like I'm eating AN ENTIRE BOX OF DONUTS every lunch. Oh, right. I am.

20. Snack Packs
Sorry, Adam Sandler, but Snack Packs aren't moving any higher than 20 on this list, partially for the aforementioned "these things taste weird when they're not refrigerated" clause, and partially because my mom wouldn't buy them, even though she essentially bought me 11 yearrs' worth of candy bars. Resentment minus refrigeration equals revenge.

19. Oreos
Oreos are good. No one is going to say Oreos aren't good. But here's the thing: that crumbly-ass chocolate cookie gets all up in your teeth, and makes you look like you've outlined each tooth in black magic marker, and that's going to kill your make-out game with Kristin Fletcher, and she's going to end up dumping you in a note Jane Crowley gives you at lunch written in purple marker. It's just how shit goes down.

18. Nutter Butters
They're peanut-shaped sandwich cookies filled with peanut butter. They make you so effin' thirsty. The cookies kind of look like they have tire tread on them. The peanut butter filling is weird and tends to clump together in an unreasonable manner. They throw me off my game. They're only ranked higher than Oreos for the aforementioned teeth-embarrassment issue.

17. Twinkies
You know what's kind of gross? A sponge cake filled with cream that lasts longer than most Egyptian pharaoh's tombs. You know what's kind of delicious? A sponge cake filled with cream that lasts longer than most Egy -- you get the point. Twinkies cause a confluence of conflicting emotions.

16. Goldfish
No, this is before they had those Flavor Blasted sh*ts and started making them into cookies and adding actual eyes and other terrifying details. We're talking back in the day of Plain, Cheddar, and Parmesan. Plain meant your mom didn't love you; Cheddar meant you were normal; Parmesan meant your grandparents were kind of Italian.

15. String Cheese
Before incidents involving them created jam bands moderately less popular than Widespread Panic, string cheese was just that thing mostly girls ate at lunch. It's delicious, sure, but I always sort of got skeeved out by the top, which would get a little bit smushed and greasy from the oils in your fingertips as you tried to peel it off, and then it was all I could really think about. Middle school was hard for me, ok?!?!

The ones we mentioned so far are all pretty sub-par lunchbox snacks, but we've got some titans of the daytime meal coming up in the top 14, and it's all in the full story on!