I’m pretty sure that college is just this social experiment to see how long people can keep up the charade of pretending to be an adult. College students, especially eighteen and nineteen-year-olds, are pretty new to this whole “adulthood” thing.
To us, it’s more of a legal identifier than a part of our personality. So that being said, it’s no surprise that many of us crave childhood sweets when we have some serious munchies
at 3 pm on a Wednesday after a night out. The rest of our bodies may have taken its true adult form, but our taste buds sure happen. Here are the top nine foods that’ll take you right back to your childhood:
1. Toaster Strudels
This dessert for breakfast was every kid’s dream: warm, gooey, flaky, and complete with a whole packet of icing for you to drizzle as you pleased. And though your icing art never came out as good as you imagined it to be (if you’re really struggling, check out this step-by-step guide), you new that when Mom or Dad brought home a box of these babies from the store, your breakfast would be set for a week.
It’s that kind of comfort and reliability that college kids miss, making it the perfect sugar rush of childhood nostalgia. Toaster Strudels don’t nag you to write that paper at 3 am, Toaster Strudels don’t remind you that you’re going to fail that test tomorrow. They just sit there and listen and take away your problems starting with that first flavorful bite.
2. Fruit By The Foot
Loved by kids, hated by dentists. Fruit By The Foot was one of the premier signs of elementary school coolness. If your parents bought these snacks for you, everyone knew that you had it pretty sweet at home (no pun intended). Your parents probably didn’t even care if you finished your vegetables or not or whether your room was clean.
You were the ultimate pint-sized rebel when you had one of these, molding it into a lasso, a long candy tongue, or even a weapon against your friends in class (pro tip: don’t actually hit kids with your snack, the teachers will take it away).
For college kids, Fruit By The Foot represents that long-lost or underused creativity we had as kids. Raise your hand if you’d love to come home after class and play with a literal three-foot long strip of sugar. If you didn’t raise your hand, you’re a liar, and now we have trust issues.
3. Trix Cereal
Before you ask, no, I’m not talking about those trash sphere-shaped pieces of Trix. I’m talking the days when the watermelon bites looked like actual watermelons and the grapes looked like they were picked straight from the vineyard (ok, maybe not, but you get what I mean).
For kids, the shapes and the colors are the only reasons to grab a box of cereal off the shelf, and it’s a total bonus when said cereal turns your milk all different colors. College kids need that simplicity. “Trix are for kids”? No. Trix are for all. Trix are for all.
4. Uh-Oh Oreos
First, a moment of silence for our fallen friend. Uh-Oh Oreos haven’t been around in their original form since 2007, so it’s been almost ten years since we as a populace have experienced the joyful surprise of a chocolate cream between Golden varieties of Milk’s Favorite Cookie.
The Oreo is a universally accepted symbol of childhood, and Uh-Oh Oreos were those little bursts of spontaneity we all needed when life just got a little too black and white. And while I have mentioned that college kids need stability, there’s a part of every student that needs a little mystery as well.
If an Uh-Oh Oreo were a person, you might not take them home to Mother, but you definitely wouldn’t kick them out of bed. Some mysteries are just worth keeping to yourself…
Sorry guys, I’m not talking about the kind with alcohol in it. For kids, Jell-O is a great snack year round. It’s colorful, it’s super sweet, and it ~wiggles~.
If your mom is anything like mine, she brought out a different variation of this dessert for most family parties and you lived for it. Even if you didn’t eat it, you could play with it! Talk about killing two birds with one stone. In college, it’s all about multitasking, so why not have a snack that keeps you entertained and reminds you of those simpler days of youth?
6. Rice Krispie Treats
Snap, crackle, pop yourself back to your childhood with this snack! The Rice Krispie Treat in all of its glorious varieties played upon so many different elements of being a kid: they were sticky, they were sweet, and they were made of cereal. No one would be able to hold you back from having breakfast for dinner (/lunch/snacks/whenever you damn pleased) ever again.
Also, these suckers were mad cheap if you wanted to try a homemade version…which, by the way, taste just as good as the prepackaged kind. And in college, if you can save a dollar while treating yourself to something sweet, all the better! What’s that, Mom? No, I haven’t really learned how to use the stove yet, but I do have marshmallowy goodness to last me the rest of the week. That’s a win.
7. Pizza Bagels
There’s a reason why these are always flying off the trays in the dining hall. Is it breakfast? Is it dinner? Whatever it is, it’s damn delicious.
I’m pretty sure that every kid has memories of peering over the counter at the toaster oven, trying to see if they can watch the cheese melt inside. The beauty of these things is that since they were so small, you could have as many as you wanted to get your pizza fix, no guilt required.
When you’re in college, you’re constantly trying to balance things that taste good with things that are good for you, so having a bite-sized, childhood snack that won’t wreck your calorie count is priceless.
8. Teddy Grahams
True story: my roommate stole a box of Teddy Grahams from a mutual friend’s dorm room. Yeah. They’re that good after all this time.
I’m just going to say it…if you don’t like Teddy Grahams, you don’t like happiness. The cute little faces, the fun shape, and that perfect crunch? Teddy Grahams hit all the marks of what a childhood snack should be, and can be enjoyed by nearly everyone (you heard right, vegans!).
What really takes the cake is that steal-ibility factor I mentioned above. Like it or not, some parts of life never move past that childhood “King of the Jungle Gym” phase, college included. So, if you have something in your dorm that other (very hungry) students envy, you could say that things are definitely going your way. Just try and remember us little people when you get unlimited turns on the monkey bars, okay?
Did you really think you’d get through this list without seeing a PB&J? This is the classic schoolyard lunch, so classic that I personally ate one of these every day for a full school year (thanks, Mom). Whether you got fancy with your sandwich or just wanted it plain and simple, elementary school wouldn’t be the same without one of these guys.
The mix of salty peanut butter with sweet jelly slaps you across the face with nostalgia after the first bite. Is this Heaven? Oh, no…wait…this is just the cafeteria. My bad.
Unlike the other entries on this list, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches aren’t about spontaneity or stability for college kids. Sometimes you just want to sit down with a pack of crayons, a juice box, and a snack, and to feel like a damn kid again. And with a classic like this in the fridge, you are guaranteed that childlike experience every time.
So, when you’ve got the urge to mail back your membership card to the Adults Club, take heart. While you may not be able to change the fact that you’re getting older, there will always be foods around that remind you of the little kid you used to be.