10 Childhood Foods That Bring Back Good Memories & 10 That Give You Nightmares

10 Childhood Foods That Bring Back Good Memories & 10 That Give You Nightmares

Food is a powerful thing that can mean so much more than just what we put into our bodies. When it comes to certain foods we ate often in our childhood, they can easily transport us back to a simpler time that's filled with tons of good memories. But sadly, the opposite can be said too - there are plenty of disliked foods we ate growing up that give us nightmares just thinking about it! Let's revisit some of those days together as we discuss 10 childhood foods that bring back good memories and 10 that don't.

1. Chicken Nuggets

While we're not saying chicken nuggets are only meant for kids, it is a nostalgic food that reminds us of simpler days. Remember that excitement you felt when your parents said you could get a Chicken McNugget meal from McDonald's? Or the sheer joy of eating dino-shaped nuggets? Those sure bring back some good memories.

Brett-Jordan-Oe36Zhpdpg4-UnsplashPhoto by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

2. Macaroni and Cheese

When we think of comfort food, most people probably instantly think of macaroni and cheese. It's a comfort staple, reminding us of lucky days when our moms would whip out KD from the cupboard or make her own homemade recipe for dinner. There's just something so cozy about that combination of creamy and cheesy goodness.

Tina-Witherspoon-A8Gze997X-E-Unsplash (1)Photo by Tina Witherspoon on Unsplash

3. Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches

As simple as it is, nothing hits more than a classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It's an easy-to-make school lunch for your parents, and a delicious to eat meal for yourself. Just one bite and you'll instantly be transported back to your school days, allowing you to reminisce about lunch breaks, school outings, or picnics with the family.

Giorgio-Trovato-Gtp6Hggdjcu-UnsplashPhoto by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash

4. Ice Cream Sundaes

If you've been on your best behaviour, you'll remember hearing those magical words from your parents: "You deserve a treat." And when we were kids, there was nothing we wanted more than that treat to be a delicious ice cream sundae. Sundaes weren't just eaten regularly on the weekend, these special treats were rewards that we worked hard for! That's why they tasted so good and are associated with such good memories.

Flavio-Shibata-Z Eoi3Ppf5U-Unsplash (1)Photo by Flavio Shibata on Unsplash


5. Cotton Candy

Reminding us of fun days at fairs, amusement parks, or big events, cotton candy was a sweet treat we'd be lucky to have our parents buy for us. It's likely been ages since you've last had a taste, but just one bite of that sweet, sugary flavour and light, fluffy texture is all you'll need to feel like a kid again. We didn't understand it growing up, and we still don't as an adult, but cotton candy is just so magical!

Brandi-Alexandra-Djhr9Bwnjv0-Unsplash (1)Photo by Brandi Alexandra on Unsplash

6. Spaghetti with Meatballs

Every family follows a different recipe, but just the thought of your mom's homecooked spaghetti and meatballs should bring back some good memories. It's such a hearty meal that would be eaten during cozy family dinners around the table. Not only is the dish delicious itself, but it should remind you of all the soul and heart your mom put into her dinners.

Diego-Ramirez-Oc3Lzi9P6Ku-UnsplashPhoto by Diego Ramírez on Unsplash

7. Pizza

It was your favourite food as a kid, and it may still be your favourite food now! Have you ever heard of a kid or adult who didn't love pizza? It's a pretty popular food choice when it comes to parties, sleepovers, or movie nights. And yet, it's something we never got bored of, especially when we were kids.

Alan-Hardman-Su1Lfoeeukk-UnsplashPhoto by Alan Hardman on Unsplash

8. Fish Sticks

Remember the good ol' days when we enjoyed simple and convenient food? Fish sticks are a great example of that - they're nothing more than rectangular pieces of fish that were battered and fried, paired alongside some tartar sauce. But as a kid, that was a favourite. We would've chosen that over a steak any day!

Meal-5481310 1280Image by Alexander Fox | PlaNet Fox from Pixabay

9. Hot Chocolate

Nothing feels more like a warm hug than a big mug of hot chocolate on a cold winter day. Just the thought of hot chocolate brings back memories of Christmas and sitting by the fireplace watching movies with the family. And of course, we have to point out that it's not complete without a heap of marshmallows on top! There's just something so comforting about it, both in the taste and the memories it brings back.

Hot-Chocolate-3011492 1280Image by Terri Cnudde from Pixabay

10. Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Who knew bread and cheese could create something so homey and heartwarming? A grilled cheese sandwich made with crispy, buttery bread and melted, gooey cheese is all you need to remind yourself of better days. Especially when it was made by mom, you can just feel the warmth and care oozing from the dish. A grilled cheese sandwich is basically a band-aid for a bad day!

Grilled Cheese SandwichMaggie Hoffman on Wikimedia Commons


1. Creamed Spinach

Look, most kids already hate spinach on its own, but when you give it an added creamy texture that makes the whole thing feel like mush, it becomes even more unappealing. Creamed spinach is definitely something you have to grow into; the strong flavour of the spinach combined with that mushy consistency is not one kids are a fan of.

Creamed Spinach With Nueske's Bacon (1)Arnold Gatilao on Wikimedia Commons

2. Meatloaf

Meatloaf is a classic American food that is a staple for many households across the nation. Despite its status as a "comfort food," we're sure many kids would beg to differ. With such a dense texture and so many different ingredients in it, namely other vegetables, it's one easy way to turn away any picky eater. We're sure you've sat around the dinner table slowly picking away at a meatloaf before.

Meal-114297 1280Image by Corinna Schenk from Pixabay

3. Split Pea Soup

For kids, a food's appearance means everything. So when a bowl of green goop shows up in front of them, their immediate reaction is "ew." For many kids, split pea soup confuses them! There's not really any stand out flavour, the soup is green in colour, and the texture is awfully thick. It's definitely not the way to get your kids to love peas that's for sure. If anything, it probably made it harder for them to eat peas in the future!

Pea Soup 2Tiia Monto on Wikimedia Commons

4. Casseroles with Mixed Vegetables

Casseroles are an easy weeknight dinner for any working mom or dad, but for kids, it can be a nightmare that brings back memories of idly picking at their food. Typically loaded with a variety of different vegetables that combines various textures and flavours, this dish is simply not it for kids. There's too much in it, leaving behind too much confusion and too many frowny faces left at the table.

Cheese-Casserole-283285 1280Image by Hans from Pixabay

5. Porridge

Porridge, and other foods like it (oatmeal or rice pudding for instance), is a hard sell when it comes to kids. How do you sell something that looks lumpy, has a thick texture, and is pretty bland in taste? And when it's meant to be a nutritious breakfast that's not loaded with sweets, it can be pretty hard for kids to stomach. Do you remember waking up to disappointment after seeing a bowl of bland oatmeal at the morning table?

Mae-Mu-T-0Rx27Xiy0-UnsplashPhoto by Mae Mu on Unsplash

6. Boiled Cabbage

Cabbage is already not a favourite when it comes to kids, but when you boil it (which is everybody's least favourite method of cooking), you create something somehow even worse for them. Soft, watery, with a distinctive smell, boiled cabbage comes straight out of some kids' nightmares. It's definitely not the dish that got kids to enjoy their vegetables!

-2020-11-18 Dish Of Homemade Steak And Kidney Pudding With Cabbage, TriminghamKolforn on Wikimedia Commons


7. Brussels Sprouts

Ah yes, the classic Brussels sprouts. Arguably the most popular answer for kids when they're asked "What vegetable do you hate?", it's pretty rare to hear a kid say that they enjoy these. With an unpleasant taste and texture when not cooked in the right way, it's just one of those vegetables many kids try to sneak under the table so they can avoid eating them.

Brussels-Sprouts-7034955 1280Image by Alexander Fox | PlaNet Fox from Pixabay

8. Stuffed Bell Peppers

Stuffed bell peppers are another popular, easy-to-make dinner item that is a hit with adults, but maybe not so much with kids. For children, having too many different ingredients in a dish can oftentimes be too overwhelming. With all those rice, vegetables, meat, and spices, it can be an overload of flavours and textures that ends up being offputting for them. It also doesn't help that the texture of the cooked pepper comes out soft and sometimes slimy. 

Markus-Spiske-Iejuv-Mrn3G-Unsplash (2)Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

9. Egg Salad

We're not quite sure why, but many kids seem to hate eggs growing up! Whether it's the texture, the yolk, or the taste, there's just something about eggs that doesn't appeal to them. So when you throw them in with a strong mayonnaise base that might taste too overpowering, that's a serious no-go. Egg salad tends to be a pretty unpopular dish among children, bringing out plenty of heavy sighs when they see it in their lunch box.

Eggs-7064498 1280Image by congerdesign from Pixabay

10. Tuna Salad Sandwich

But if there's any dish that tops the egg salad, it's definitely the tuna salad - especially when put in a sandwich. Kids hope to see their favourites like cheese and ham sandwiched between those two slices of bread, so when they see tuna salad, they're immediately disappointed. It's likely due to the strong fishy smell that comes with tuna, and the mushy texture doesn't give any bonus points either.

Mmm... Tuna Salad On Ryejeffreyw on Wikimedia Commons