kids

10 lunchbox treats only 90s kids could get away with taking to school.

Oh what I wouldn’t give to be in primary school again, when the biggest decision come 11am was whether to eat my Roll-Up or Dunkaroos.

In my household, my siblings and I loved our lunchbox snacks so much my mum used to hide them away in a “school food” cupboard because they would all get eaten the weekend after a big Friday shop.

Who could blame us? School food was the best. And at 25, I’d take a Bega Cheese Stringer over a handful of almonds any day of the week as a mid-morning snack. But, you know, *health*.

Nowadays, lunchboxes overflowing with the sugary, salty treats we once loved more than avocado toast probably wouldn’t cut it at many Australian schools… These days, lunchbox rules actually exist to combat childhood obesity and encourage healthy lifestyles at an early age.

This is definitely a step forward – but along with gems like Cheez TV, The Spice Girls and sparkly butterfly clips – brightly-packaged lunchbox snacks and their hilarious advertising campaigns are among our favourite ’90s throwbacks to revisit.

So in the name of nostalgia, we gathered our 90s lunchbox favourites:

1. Space Food Sticks.

Space Food Sticks were marketed as a replica of “astronaut food” and we don’t know why that was a thing. They tasted a bit like rubber and looked a little bit like, um, something you definitely wouldn’t want to put in your mouth. But it was what they ate in space, guys. So of course we had to have them in our lunchboxes.

2. Roll-Ups.

Rollups… come to think of it… are a pretty weird snack (and a nightmare for braces, from memory). A flat, sticky sheet of ‘fruit leather’, they came in various flavours including ‘fruit salad rainbow’ ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Sometimes, they came with tiny images from various cartoons stamped on the surface.

ADVERTISEMENT

These were apparently temporary tattoos for your tongue which has officially blown our minds. They’re of course still available – though not quite like this:

3. Dunkaroos.

Arguably the most beloved Australian snack from this decade, what was inside those rattly little blue packages was pure heaven.

Tell me you didn’t like to lick the packet clean and I’ll call you out for what you are: a liar. But really, who could resist tiny kangaroo-shaped biscuits dipped in hazelnut spread?

 

View this post on Instagram

 

SOLD OUT???? • • Dunkaroos, Choc hazelnut dip.. #dunkaroos #hazelnutdip #aussysnack #readystock #poaussy

A post shared by Aussy.snacks (@aussy.snacks) on

ADVERTISEMENT

They were also available in strawberry and vanilla for a short time. Australian children everywhere were shook when these flavours were discontinued.

4. Bega Cheese Stringers.

Seriously, who could forget the dancing cheese stick that graced our television screens, singing: ‘String me, stretch me any way you want me.’ I swear I’ve had the jingle stuck in my head since 2005.

Encouraging kids to play with their food, because it’s fun, Bega Cheese Stringers were the bomb. Even if they did taste a little bit like plastic.

The '90s cheese stringer mascot was also a...magician, for some reason. Image: Youtube

5. Yogo.

Guys. Remember those ads with the semi-sleazy cartoon Gorilla who kept saving the world from running out of flavoured yoghurt YES. YOU DO.

THIS:

ADVERTISEMENT

Rediscovering this ad from the early 2000s brought me more joy than I could have ever imagined.

Yogo also came (and still does) in "mix up" form, which was a once-in-a-blue moon treat in my family... Because eating chocolate yoghurt with M&Ms in it probably isn't something you should do every day.

6. Samboy Chips.

Chips were a staple of any "good" (read: terribly unhealthy) Aussie kids' lunch box in the 90s. We mostly enjoyed them in small packets that our tiny kid-sized hands could fit into, and the holy grail of mini-sized chip packets was Samboy.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Bianca (@bianca_maree_) on

If we opened our lunchbox to a Samboy packet we could expect the best, most flavoursome chip of all the land. Smith's were good too - for Tazo reasons, obviously.

7. Mamee Monster Noodle Snacks.

Look, the packaging was questionable - with what seemed to be a rip-off of a Sesame Street character on the front... but inside that yellow wrapper? Just a packet of dried, salted noodles and a flavour sachet. Absolutely zero nutritional value. But just so good.

Grover and the Cookie Monster's lovechild made some pretty delicious salty noodles. Image: redmart.com
ADVERTISEMENT

 8. Snackabouts.

Using a tiny red plastic stick to spread Vegemite on a cracker without butter sounds... like a nightmare, to be honest. Yeah, these were no Mamee Noodles.

The cracker would always break, and the red stick was a choking hazard, but did these bad boys continue to make their way into our lunchboxes everyday? Of course. Do we miss them purely because they remind us of simpler times? You betcha.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by nomstalgia (@nomstalgia) on

 Snackabouts were way better than doing taxes.

9. Le Snack.

Shout out to another spread-themed lunchbox snack. These are still around - but we think they deserve a mention.

Maybe it's because there's French in the name so they just seemed fancier (gourmet with a hard 'T', if you will), but these were just... way better than Snackabouts.

ADVERTISEMENT

Did you guys lick the cheese off the wrapper too, or was I just gross?

J'adore. Image: Woolworths

10. Fruity Metres.

Roll-Ups' taller, thinner cousin - Fruity Metres were yet another way 90s kids were encouraged to play with their food... and they were great. Need we say more?

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Fruity Metres: Roll-Ups on crack.

A post shared by nomstalgia (@nomstalgia) on

What was your favourite school snack? Let us know in the comments below.

00:00 / ???