Growing up is a drag. One day, you’re a child eating neon-colored breakfast cereals and drinking strawberry milk out of a curly straw. Then one day you wake up as an adult and your kitchen cabinets are stocked with boring, beige-colored foods that don’t come in cool shapes or have free stickers in the box (not to mention you have back pain and bills to pay). Frankly, I’m over it.
Food products marketed to kids are often brightly colored, zany, and full of imagination; these are all things adults, like kids, can enjoy and benefit from. That’s why I think we should all break free of these arbitrary confines of “adult” food choices. If we feel like it, we should reach for the Fruity Pebbles over Grape Nuts at the grocery store, choose dino-shaped chicken nuggets over nugget-shaped ones, and start bringing Fruit Roll-Ups or Bagel Bites to dinner parties instead of Tostitos. If you’re already eating “kids” foods without shame or abandon, good for you. But if you’re only eating socially acceptable “adult” foods, un-grow up, people! Live a little!
It’s time we all opened our hearts and our grocery baskets to some of these fun, kooky, “kids” food products.
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- Bagel Bites
These aren’t marketed exclusively to kids, but adults above college age don’t consume them nearly as often as we should. And that makes no sense! If pizza and bagels are both popular grown-up foods, why would a hybrid of the two be for kids? These are a staple in college dorm room freezers for a reason—they’re cheap, easy to make, and reliably good. They may have a very slight chemical taste, but it’s overshadowed by yummy, cozy nostalgia. Are they a snack? Are they a meal? Who cares! Mealtime is a construct. Have a Bagel Bite anytime.
I’ll never forget the day in middle school I first tried Go-Gurt because, until that moment, I didn’t realize yogurt could be good. Sure, Go-Gurt itself is not that special. It’s just yogurt but sweet (as all yogurt should be imho). And it comes in a tube! You can toss it in your bag and eat it anytime and it doesn’t require a spoon! Who wants to carry around a damn spoon? People sometimes make fun of me for carrying Go-Gurt around in my bag but I don’t care! Okay I guess I care enough to write an article defending my choices, but not enough to stop eating it on the reg.
- Dino Buddies chicken (or plant-based) nuggets
Kids love dinosaurs. And they’re right. Dinosaurs are so damn cool and it’s crazy that they once roamed the Earth. Adults are sleeping on dinosaurs and we’re also sleeping on dino-shaped foods. Wake up, people! I tried Dino Buddies’ plant-based nuggets because my friend has a toddler and they’re one of the only things he’ll eat. Ethan, I get it. They’re good! And that chicken-y flavor and texture almost convinced me that I’m eating a regular ol’ chicken nugget. This snack really is fun for the whole family, and “family” includes your 30-something child-free friend who, okay I will admit, has a pretty low threshold for fun.
SpaghettiOs are marketed as a kids’ food because apparently they’re less messy than other types of pasta, which makes sense. But I love SpaghettiOs! They’re tomato-y, gooey, and a little bit sweet, and the Os have this slippery texture that I love. Plus, adults can be messy, too?! We also deserve the privilege of a meal that comes in a can, is easy to heat up, and won’t leave a trail of tomato sauce all over our kitchen. (Is this a me problem? Maybe. Either way, SpaghettiOs rule!)
- Fruit by the Foot
Fruit by the Foot is so much fun to eat. And yet, many of us reach a certain age and stop eating it for some reason. We reach high school or college age and suddenly we’re reaching for Welch’s Fruit Snacks or dried fruit or gummy candies with more adult-friendly marketing. Why?! Fruit by the Foot is the perfect candy: Not only does it have a distinct, nostalgic, deeply fruity sweetness, but it’s a hygienic snack to eat in public. It basically comes on its own paper plate. Beat that, Welch’s!
- Marshmallow Fluff
Marshmallow Fluff is an underrated sandwich spread and adults aren’t eating fluffernutters as often as we should! Hear me out: Nutritionally, it’s not that different from a PB&J (jelly and jam are more candy than fruit—we all know it’s true). The combination of sticky peanut butter and gooey marshmallow, texture and taste-wise, is pure heaven. I prefer whole wheat bread for a little balance, but any type of bread will do. PB&J has hogged the spotlight for way too long. It’s time we adults gave other sweet-salty sandwiches a chance. I nominate the fluffernutter as your new office lunch; just make sure to label it because your coworkers WILL want to steal it.
One of the lies we were fed as children was that “Trix are for kids.” It’s in the commercials. It’s written on the box. And it’s not wrong. Trix are for kids—but they’re also for adults! They’re for everyone (not rabbits though; sorry, Rabbit). Because they’re delicious. The same goes for the whole array of fruity, sugary, chocolaty, multi-colored cereals marketed to kids. Your Lucky Charms, your Cap’n Crunch, your Fruity Pebbles—whatever floats your boat and turns your milk absurd colors. Yeah, they have a lot more sugar than, say, bran flakes. But if you have to spend your day in an office, you deserve the occasional bowl of sugar in the morning. Eight hours of entering numbers in spreadsheets lies ahead of you. Have a bowl of freaking Trix if you want to. You deserve it.
Goshdarnit, I love Dunkaroos! Icing is, hands down, my favorite part of cake. I’d eat frosting every day if I could stop myself from eating so much of it that I feel sick. But I can’t—it’s scientifically impossible. That’s what makes Dunkaroos so perfect—they offer you the experience of eating icing, but in a limited portion that won’t ruin your day. Plus, their packaging aesthetic is iconic and sure to fill you with ‘90s nostalgia. Do I wish Dunkaroos came with more icing per pack? Yes. Is anything stopping me from eating three packs at once? Nope. I’m an adult!