Lunchables – Gone Too Far


Ahhh, Lunchables.. My daily lunch combination from long ago.  They weren’t the greatest lunch in the world, but because of the Ypsilanti Public School System’s lunch quality, they were the safe alternative when I was in elementary school.   There wasn’t much special about them.   You had a few choices when it came to Lunchables, and it all came down to which kind of meat you wanted.  Yup, it was old school: adorably miniature slices of lunch meat, over processed and suspiciously orange cheese slices, crackers, and a packet of sauce.  Later models included a juice box, usually Capri Sun, and some sort of candy treat.  If you were lucky enough to have the “deluxe version”, they came with a mint.  That was for the high class kids.

When Lunchables first came out, I was there.  As food products became more and more convenient, so did the idea of a sack lunch.  Suddenly the height of cafeteria coolness revolved around snack-like, nutritionally devoid, candy toting yellow boxes. To pull out one of those signature Lunchables boxes at lunch time was to declare yourself party to the latest in food trends and blatantly flaunt your parents’ concern for wholesome nourishment. Those of us whose parents insisted on packing us a food pyramid-inspired balanced meal were forced to hang their heads in shame at their lack of pre-boxed lunchtime delights.  Although there wasn’t much variety, all the cool kids(me, of course) had them and all the not cool kids thought they were their ticket to the cool city.

Until now.

Have you seen the Lunchables kids have these days?  Not only do they have their first cell phone ten years before I did plus access to quite possibly one of the greatest creations ever, Wikipedia, but they also practically get Thanksgiving dinner in the form of a Lunchable.  It’s crazy.

Also, after coming under scrutiny in the late 90’s, Lunchables decided they needed to revamp their entire selection.  Gone were the sodium packed options, and in came the healthy options.  Most lunchables these days even come with “spring water” and apple sauce.

If you grew up in the time where a Lunchables meant a cracker sandwich, I’m certain you will be as angry as I am when  you find out what kids have access to these days:

Turkey & Cheddar Cheese or Ham & American Cheese Subs – I guess I can’t be too mad about them simply throwing a piece of bread inside and calling it a sub.  They had to go somewhere after crackers.  Too many kids got sick of the crackers and wanted their mom’s to pack a sandwich for them.  Check out their website write-up for these:

Turkey made with 100% turkey breast, Kraft 2% Cheddar and bread made with whole grain, these tasty subs come with Tree Top® Applesauce, Mini Nilla Wafers, spring water and Tropical Punch Kool-Aid Singles.

Does anyone else find it funny that they make a point to say 100% turkey breast?  Was it only like 85% turkey breast before, with the remaining 15% consisting of a turkey imitation substance?  And what’s with the buffet of options?  A sub, apple sauce, water, AND kool-aid?  Am I reading something wrong here?  Are they encouraging kids to chase their water with kool-aid or something?

Pizza – I remember the pizza kind came out while I was in middle school, but Lunchables were SO 4th grade by that time.  I also couldn’t figure out what the big deal was about being able to eat a cold pizza.  Just didn’t look good to me. The thing that I’m pissed about is they’ve created multiple flavors of pizza and developed different crusts.  No more do you simply get a big soft cracker, some sauce, processed mozarella cheese and a few pepperonis.  No you can get yourself a bonified (cold) deep dish pizza.  Also if you get the pizza treatza, you can make yourself a CANDY PIZZA!  Genius!

Pizza Treetza: It’s the treat that all kids love. It comes with a crust made with whole-grain, Kraft Mozzarella and Tombstone pizza sauce. Includes Capri Sun 100% Fruit Juice, mini rainbow chips and chocolate fudge frosting.

Mini Hot Dogs and Burgers – This is where things start to get kinda gross.  Cold hot dogs and burgers just aren’t my thing.  The whole uncooked pizza thing never seem appetizing to me, so when these came out I believe I was in high school and knew better than to eat something like this.

Mini Burgers: Go grilled with this lunchtime favorite. These grilled burgers are made with 100% beef, Kraft 100% American, buns, ketchup and mustard. Includes Capri Sun and Nestle® Crunch®.


Beef Taco Wraps – While I love anything having to do with Mexican food, this is where Lunchables really started to get nasty.  Not only did they give you some nasty taco filling, but they CALLED it taco filling.  It wasn’t like “beef to eat inside of your tortilla sleeping bag”, it was TACO FILLING.  I still to this day wonder what is actually in taco filling.  From the website…

Beef Taco Wraps: Beef up their lunchtime. Made with wheat tortillas, seasoned ground beef in taco sauce and Kraft cheese blend. Includes Capri Sun Roarin’ Waters and Airheads®.


Chicken Nuggets & Strips – Not only to kids get to eat cold chicken nuggets, but they include you a little shaker canister so you can completely douse your nuggets in BBQ sauce.

Chicken Shakers: Shake it up with our breaded, pre-cooked 100% white meat chicken nuggets. Add in the BBQ seasoning, chocolate-flavored Jell-O Pudding and a Capri Sun Roarin’ Waters.


Nachos, Cheese Dip & Salsa – This seems like an obvious evolution because you’re simply replacing the crackers with torilla chips, the cheese strips with processed cheese, and the meat with salsa.  This one gets no criticism from me.

Nachos, Cheese Dip & Salsa: Make lunchtime something they can dip into. Made with tortillas chips, Kraft Nacho cheese dip and salsa. Includes Capri Sun and Nestle® Crunch®.


Apparently they made 5 more varieties while I was writing this, including grilled wraps but this is getting to be too much for me.  What’s next?  Menudo Lunchables?  Oh wait, can’t forget the “stackers” complete with sour tongue teasing fix.  Seriously?