Lunchtime: second only to recess in the mind of a daydreaming 90’s kid.
While lunchtime was a welcome reprieve to a day spent learning multiplication tables and cursive, it was by no means a high-quality nutrition affair: 90’s lunchtime mains were highly processed, high-sugar, low-nutritive horrors, to say the least, and that’s without even getting into what was served in the cafeteria!
If you found any of these items in your regular lunchtime rotation, it’s time for a serious conversation with your parents: what were they thinking?!
Let’s be real here, folks: this is not pizza. It looks like pizza, sort of, but it’s really more like pizza designed by someone who’s heard of pizza but never actually seen it in person or eaten it themselves.
Still, that didn’t keep us from claiming victory when it was found in our lunchboxes and brown paper bags. Per Pizza Lunchable, we were consuming 310 Calories (a respectable lunch), but with that came an astounding 730 mg of sodium (30% of the recommended daily intake), 5 grams of sugar, and 45% of the average 10 year old’s daily fat needs. Eek!
Cracker Stacker Lunchable
If you weren’t a pizza lunchable kid, you might have been a Cracker Stacker Kid. While you fared a little better in terms of sodium content (660 mg vs 730 mg), the fat content was comparable. And that’s if you were consuming the simple, traditional version- the variety that came without the dessert and drink option.
If you found yourself the proud owner of a Deluxe Lunchable, which came complete with a dessert (typically, an oreo or a piece of candy) and a drink (typically a Capri Sun), you’ll need to add 25 grams of sugar- 100% of a child or woman’s daily sugar intake- onto those statistics.
By the late 90’s and early 2000’s, many classrooms and cafeterias were equipped with microwaves for students who wanted a home-packed hot option at lunch. And oh boy, were there some doozies. Easy Mac, instant macaroni and cheese that requires only water and 1 minute or two in the microwave, became a sought-after lunch product, and it’s not hard to see why: kids (and adults) love macaroni and cheese, despite the relatively horrifying corresponding nutrition facts.
Per container of Easy Mac, a bright eyed kid was only setting themselves back 230 Calories, but what about-y’know- any real nutritional value? Between the refined noodles and the slightly concerning “cheese” packet, there’s not a lot of positive things to say about Easy Mac- especially when you consider that it contains a measly 7 grams of protein and a whopping 540 mg of sodium- 25% of the recommended daily intake, all for that measly cup!
Morgan Medeiros is a certified nutritionist, holding a both a Bachelor and Master’s Degree in Clinical Nutrition. Morgan completed her undergraduate education at Central Washington University, and her graduate education at Northeastern University. During her time as a graduate student, Morgan focused her area of expertise in health education, weight management, and behavioral change. Morgan has experience working in areas of nutritional neuroscience and disease prevention, obesity prevention, and weight loss. Morgan also works in areas of nutritional analysis and menu labeling for restaurants, where she is able to creatively bridge her interest in food culture and health education. In her free time, Morgan enjoys traveling, reading, writing, running, and spending time with her family and friends (including- most importantly- her dog, Clyde).