Deliciously Non-Nutritious

A few months ago, some friends and I went to a church event together and afterwards went to McDonald’s for a little treat.

I got some french fries and was horrified to discover that I no longer liked McDonald’s french fries (also, I know this was a not a fluke because I’d, erm, had some of their french fries just a couple of weeks earlier and noticed that they had this horrible metallic aftertaste).

And, really, this wasn’t an isolated experience. As I’ve gotten older and also as we’ve moved away from processed foods and toward more of a whole foods diet, there are more and more items that I used to like that I no longer have a taste for.

But. . . there are still some horribly junky, processed foods I still love. No matter how much I read about the Western Diet and how we’re on a one-way street to death, no matter how much swiss chard I happily consume, I still love some pretty horrible foods. And I like it.

A brief list, if you will, of foods that I willfully ignore the ingredient labels for:

  • Ramen. I know. I just. . .can’t help myself.
  • Poptarts. Especially those brown sugar and cinnamon ones and the frosted strawberry ones. 
  • Cheetos. Only the crunchy ones. But, LOTS of the crunchy ones.
  • Rice Krispy Treats. Look, I’ll eat homemade ones or the disgustingly wonderful ones that come packaged from the store. I do not discriminate.
  • Fresca. I am deeply opposed to fake sugar. And I don’t even really go for soda. But if someone brings a bottle of Fresca, I will be forced to have some. 
  • Swiss Rolls. These must be eaten in the following manner: all chocolate coating eaten off. Then the cake unrolled and frosting licked out. Finally eat the cake. I don’t make the rules, I just follow them.
  • Teddy Grahams. What, am I five? Yes. Cinnamon, please. 
  • JIF peanut butter. We only buy natural peanut butter with a two-ingredient list and I like it. But then occasionally I’ll have some regular, corn-syrup laden peanut butter somewhere and I die a little at how much better it is. So smooth and creamy and sweet. 

Feel free to share your shameful delicious favorites. Because what I really need right now is a list of more things to crave from the grocery store. 

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  • Reply Stephanie Lee September 24, 2012 at 11:25 am

    Glad I'm not the only one with some guilty pleasures! 🙂

  • Reply Carrie Jo September 24, 2012 at 11:54 am

    Doritos and Oreos. I won't buy either one (unless something life altering has happened), but I want to every single time I pass them in the grocery store.

    • Reply heather September 24, 2012 at 12:52 pm

      Amen, Carrie Jo.

    • Reply Jenny September 24, 2012 at 10:21 pm

      BUY THEM. No regrets.

  • Reply preethi September 24, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    I have no idea what Swiss Rolls are. But I totally laughed at your description of eating them.

    Also, I love the idea of natural peanut butter, but it makes me crazy to have to stir it together because it's always hard on the bottom and doesn't spread properly. So we buy the Skippy natural – it has 3 ingredients, is pre-mixed, and delicious.

    • Reply la mama September 24, 2012 at 1:40 pm

      That's what I buy too, I figure it's a good compromise because I get so mad when I try to stir the natural stuff and the oil spills EVERYWHERE!

    • Reply Tessa September 25, 2012 at 1:21 am

      swiss rolls are basically the best snack cake type things in the world.

  • Reply Amy September 24, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    I'm glad to find a fellow Ramen lover. When I was a sophomore in college, I used to eat it all the time. Now, only infrequently, but I still love it. And every time I'm pregnant, the craving only intensifies.

    P.S. And I definitely agree with Carrie Jo about Oreos…once I start, I can't stop. (I almost laughed out loud when my very health-conscious sister-in-law recently tried to justify their ingredient list.)

  • Reply Grace Marie September 24, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    ha. ugh. my NUMERO UNO craving with this baby is pop tarts … it is a serious act of restraint to maybe even valor that I don't purchase a case every single time I go to Costco … maybe if I go past 40 weeks … a little treat.

  • Reply RA September 24, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    Oh, man, when I'm having a bad day, all I want is a Cup o' Noodles, chicken flavor. It makes no sense, but there it is. Bonus points if I can eat it with a plastic soup spoon for that very special skkkkrrrrch sound against the styrofoam cup.

    I also am powerless against Swedish fish (small, red, brand name), Twizzlers (regular or pull-n-peel), and Red Vines. Do we sense a trend here?

  • Reply Diane September 24, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    I'm with you, except for the Fresca. And occasionally my son and I share a box of those chocolate covered Marshmallow cookies. So disgusting, but we just can't help ourselves about once a year.

  • Reply la mama September 24, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    I'm SO glad to know I'm not the only one like this! I make a lot of our food from scratch but there is something incredibly wonderful about pop tarts, I even prefer the cheapo version to Kellogg's, since that's what I grew up eating.

  • Reply Emily September 24, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    The way the diners make grilled cheese sandwiches; kraft cheese on white. Reminds me of my grandma. And snack packs chocolate pudding.

    • Reply Cory September 24, 2012 at 7:39 pm

      THIS. American cheese and toasted white bread are two things that weren't allowed in my house as a kid, and I can't get enough of. Almost the only junk food I ever eat. What makes it worse is, I bake my own bread and still crave the processed.

  • Reply caitlinjacobs September 24, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    Whenever I travel on an airplane, I skip anything healthy. It's just too much work to find something that travels well, that will make it through security, that doens't need to be kept cold, that's easy to eat in a tiny seat, etc. So I always get a can of pringles (original flavor), and some sour gummy worms. Then I usually get some cookies – preferably Oreos, and some crackers – the Flipz kind that are both cracker and pretzel. Delicious. I always enjoy my flights. 🙂
    And cold cereal. I just can't get away from it.

  • Reply smalldog September 24, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    Peppridge Farm's Goldfish. I could eat that stuff by the handful…and I have.

  • Reply Nicole September 24, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    I love you so much for posting this list. Nate and I have had a few of our favorite childhood treats as of late, and I'm sad to say that Twinkies did not stand the test of time at all, but the cupcakes with the little swirl across the top…they still win.

    • Reply Kristi September 24, 2012 at 3:07 pm

      Nicole, I kindly suggest putting your Twinkie in the freezer for a few hours. The magic comes right back.

    • Reply Nicole September 24, 2012 at 8:42 pm

      Good to know! We thought we'd be all awesome and introduce our two-year-old to them as a special treat. We were pretty excited, and couldn't really wait, so we tried a couple the night before, and were disappointed. I'll be sure and try freezing them to get the magic back.

  • Reply Amy September 24, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    I would say my guiltiest pleasure it stove top stuffing. I know it' s box of chemicals and junk but man, I just can't resist!

  • Reply Amanda September 24, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    Oh the ramen! And every time I'm pregnant I crave it like crazy. Brown sugar cinnamon pop tarts are the best, but that's the only flavor I can stomach whether I cook them or not. I love oreos and cold cereal!! My resolve at the grocery store is pretty good, I can walk past these items and make the better choice. But I usually hate myself for that by about 9pm. Every single night.

  • Reply emandtrev September 24, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    Swap out the swiss rolls for Zingers (preferably vanilla) and we'd have the same list! I also love ginger snaps. The homemade kind are awesome, but sometimes I just want to grab a bag of the processed goodness. Oh, and Diet Coke. Yes, I love me a tall fountain drink every now and then, and that always hits the spot. 🙂

  • Reply Kristi September 24, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    Funyuns. Mmmmmmm.

  • Reply Karri September 24, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    Doritos. Cheetos (the regular, non hot, crispy kind). Fritos scoops with jarred salsa. Big fat steak fries from restaurants (yes- why do mcd'sfries leave that metallic aftertaste?). Fruity Pebbles (I won't even succumb to buying them bc I'd eat the whole box).
    As you can see, salt is my weakness.
    And I don't do those baked chips/snacks. If I am going to splurge, I will eat a bit of the real thing and get it over with.

  • Reply Autumn September 24, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    I haven't eaten ramen since I got married. I used to eat it so often because it was cheap that I overdid it. My list would probably be: pecan pie, snicker doodles, and any type of cake that is moist.

  • Reply Jessica @ O. Alouette September 24, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    This is so funny! I have almost the same exceptions – Fresca, Pop Tarts (smores flavor!), and Ramen. I also love fruit snacks and fudge rounds.

    Popped over here from Maybe Matilda to check out your Thai Chicken Curry – love your blog 🙂

  • Reply Kayla @ Freckles in April September 24, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    Totally with you on the Cheetos (how are they SO GOOD). I haven't had a pop tart in forever but I know I'd still love them.

    I'd also add Oreos (Aaron and I just finished off an entire pack in two days), Reeses PB cups and Stouffer's frozen lasagna. I'm sure there's more but I try not to think about how much I love the junk because then I go buy it!

  • Reply Rhi September 24, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    I haven't had Ramen in ages, but I get it. Sometimes when I'm feeling sick it's all that will do. M

  • Reply Audrey September 24, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    I'm with you on the Cheetos and Rice Crispy Treats. Man, those things are good!

    I'm also a sucker for a good hot dog. The 100% beef ones that plump when you cook them. Sooooo goooood!

  • Reply Melanie September 24, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    I didn't eat a lot of ramen or mac and cheese in college, so unlike many of my friends, I can still stomach it and will buy it occasionally to eat as comfort food.

    I don't like soda, but I will drink Fresca from time to time (though I never buy it myself). Also, someone recently introduced me to San Pelligrino, and I must say, it was quite good.

  • Reply Anne September 24, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    That's exactly how I feel! There is so much processed foods that I don't really want anymore or am happy to do without. However, for my birthday this year, my husband bought me Honeycomb cereal for breakfast and for dessert, made homemade chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwiches…but they were rolled in crushed Oreos. That's love right there.

  • Reply NGS September 24, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    Wait, you mean that Swiss Cake Rolls must be FROZEN and then eaten layer by delicious layer, right? Okay then.

    (Oh, and I covet McDonald's fries with a passion. Once every six months or so I break and stop and go through the drive-thru and get a small fry. I wolf them down and drive around with the windows down to get the smell out of the air. I am cool. And I will never NOT love those fries.)

  • Reply Becca September 24, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    I'm with you on the rice crispy treats, and my life was forever changed by these: I will never make them the old way again. Ty even notices the difference, which is saying a whole lot.

    Also, for me, Oreos. Something about unnaturally black, not-quite-chocolate, crumbly cookie-like discs on either side of sweetened Crisco just… does it for me. In fact, I'm going to go have some right now. And… I might also make some rice crispy treats.

    (Darn you, Janssen!)

  • Reply Deidre Spelts September 24, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    My list includes ramen, poptarts, oreos, doritos (actually…chips of ANY kind really), sour-patch kids, diet-coke mixed with dr. pepper (the ONLY soda I ever EVER crave..I know it sounds weird but it is amazing) and lastly, sugared cereals..they get me every time.

    This list made me so happy! I graduated in public health and nutrition and feel like a hypocrite always for loving these things! But I can't help it! I just avoid the isles where these reside most of the time!

  • Reply Lisa September 24, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    The skittles in the aqua package (mixed up? confused? something where the flavors don't match the colors). Raspberry zingers. Fruity pebbles. Plain Lays chips. Buttered popcorn jelly bellies. Flavored coffee creamer AND sugar, real sugar, in my coffee. I TRIED to go sugar free or fake sugar and I just can't.

  • Reply Ash September 24, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    The fact that you named Swiss Rolls and strawberry PopTarts makes me like you even more… I knew we should be friends! 🙂

  • Reply Steph September 24, 2012 at 6:26 pm

    I make a killer homemade mac and cheese, but I will never stop loving Kroger Brand Box Mac and Cheese. (Kraft is gross. It must be Kroger brand.)
    Chili Cheese Fritos are my weakness in life. I can down a whole bag in one sitting. (I don't think it's a pretty sight to see!)
    Have you ever had a spoon half-full of processed peanut butter and half-full of Nutella? <—Heaven on Earth

  • Reply Danielle September 24, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    Krispy Kreme donuts, oreos, chips ahoy cookies, and any kind of sugary cereal. OMG, yum!

  • Reply emilyshollow September 24, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    Cheeze-Its! I could eat them by the box full. Doritos used to be on my list (only Nacho Cheese flavor), but lately these have NOT been working. Maybe it's pregnancy? Maybe I'm finally growing up? (Doubtful) Ramen is still a guilty pleasure for me, too. And Cadburry Creme Eggs. Food coloring AND corn syrup. I know, I know. Also the old school Gummy Bears in the gold packge…I don't remember the name, though.

  • Reply Erica September 24, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    CHIPS – any kind of chips except for those "healthy" baked ones. And Kraft Mac 'n Cheese. I make a boss homemade version, but dang, that Kraft crap is good.

  • Reply Emily September 24, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    Every once in a while I get a craving for Velveeta Shells & Cheese – even though logically I know I could make a whole pan of macaroni and cheese that would taste a million times better, sometimes all I want is that salty fake cheese glop.

    And Welch's Fruit Snacks. I could eat a whole box of those in one sitting, which is why I've had to ban myself from the cereal aisle. 😛

  • Reply Amanda Cobb September 24, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    Oh man, my list is really long. Gummy fruit snacks, Kraft Mac n'cheese (but don't bring Velveeta anywhere near me), Chex Mix, Cheetos, Girl Scout Cookies, Ego waffles, etc. etc. etc.

    Also, I use Jif all the time, and may or may not have had Ramen for lunch today…

    I swear we do eat real food for meals most of the time, it's just the snack foods that get me usually. I'm a muncher.

  • Reply Meridith September 24, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    Hostess cupcakes–I've been craving them the entire pregnancy but still have yet to buy them. (Let's be honest, I may have been craving them since before I was pregnant.) Granny B's giant, shortening-filled pink frosted sugar cookies, Hostess lemon fruit pies, and any bismark doughnut. (Apparently I crave the cream-filled pastries.) I also sometimes embarrassingly buy Spaghettios and then Honeycomb–the best-to-snack-on cereal. I'm with you on the Cheetos. 🙂

  • Reply Science Teacher Mommy September 24, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    The Whopper Junior value meal. No ketchup thank you very much. Burger King fries get better all the time.

    • Reply Jenny September 24, 2012 at 10:20 pm

      The whopper junior! We're soul sisters. 🙂

  • Reply Elsha September 24, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    Poptarts- brown sugar are definitely best
    Circus Animals- those disgustingly delicious frosted animal crackers
    Diet soda- I know it's not great for me, but I LOVE it

    Those are my big ones. I've also noticed that as I eat healthier some things that I used to look now taste too sweet or just plain weird (Reese's Pieces sadly). Although, I think probably some of that has to do with all the artificial ingredients, because homemade baked goods still taste great & not too sweet. I do love McDonald's fries (and pretty much everything at Taco Bell) but I don't have trouble staying away.

    The french fry thing could be pregnancy related! When I was pregnant with Daniel, I couldn't stand aspartame in ANYTHING. I couldn't even eat yogurt with aspartame. It was weird. Also, hard for me since I'm a big diet coke fan.

  • Reply Shelly September 24, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    I love this post! My philosophy is that if I'm being conscientious in the majority of my food decisions, then when I have a treat I should go all out and enjoy the treat even if it is unhealthy. There's no sense in trying to disguise the indulgence as anything else. My current favorite is chocolate covered pecans. It's pretty easy to make too (microwave chocolate chips, dunk pecans, put in the fridge for 10-15 minutes, and voila!) I also really love graham crackers and Teddy Grahams, and sometimes fruit snacks.

  • Reply JoLee September 24, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    I craved ramen noodles for the whole first trimester of my last pregnancy. It was the only thing that tasted good. So I ate ramen noodles. A lot of ramen noodle.

  • Reply Chelsea September 24, 2012 at 10:54 pm

    I totally agree with some of those things….not all. Tom and I have also had similar situations as we've changed our diets. Kind of funny huh? Yet I still love cookies & chocolate. Bummer. Wish that craving would go away.

  • Reply Alesha September 24, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    I totally understand where you're coming from with this post! =) I don't even like candy or milk chocolate anymore (just dark) But for me…Doritos. Preferably Cool Ranch or Nacho Cheese! And hot cinnamon rolls or any kind (light or no frosting). And burgers…big, greasy, juicy burgers. The kind where you can see the grease dripping off. Yeah…I don't have cholesterol problems…yet! Haha!
    Alesha <3

  • Reply Janelle September 24, 2012 at 11:35 pm

    I love sugar, so home-made treats of all varieties, but as far as overly processed junk, I still love those chocolate pie things that are like $0.50 at the grocery store. And pretty much most candy bars.

  • Reply craftyashley September 25, 2012 at 1:27 am

    Fresca and Fig Newtons! Now I am considering a Fig Newton run. Original, Strawberry, they're all good!

  • Reply Packrat September 25, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    Perfect timing, again. LOL Crispy Cheetos were on sale the other day, so I had to buy two bags. Almost bought cinnamon teddy grahams this morning, but one small box cost 5.39 so No Way. Jif PB, of course, because usually I'm too lazy to stir the natural kind. The other things I live without. The one processed thing that I like so much better than homemade or from the bakery – Franz brand glazed old-fashioned donuts.

  • Reply Jodi September 25, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    Love this, it's so true. I also will forever love that creamy peanut butter. Funfetti Cake, potato chips, french fries (but good ones, like you said, some are just terrible), and funeral potatoes- all that sour cream and cream soups and cheese turn into something that will just always taste so good.

  • Reply Jimi September 25, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    The responses are cracking me up! We like to talk about our guilty pleasures, don't we? 🙂

    Cheez-its cannot be beat. I love nearly any kind of chip. And the commenter who mentioned Smitten Kitchen's rice krispie treats is right – they are incredible.

  • Reply Rachel September 25, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    As I read this (and other blogs) I ate an entire bowl of Ramen, and even drank the leftover juice. I'm seriously disgusted with myself right now.

  • Reply Sherry September 26, 2012 at 3:43 am

    I wrote a comment yesterday, but I was on my dumb laptop, and it just won't let me leave comments on blogs.

    I find I'm not as finicky about what I'll eat as what I'll buy. If you over me free garbage, I will most certainly eat it.

    When my brother was here with his kids in the summer they bought a box of corn dogs so I wouldn't have to worry about feeding the kids lunch one day. (I guess PBJs were not good enough.) They left the 3/4 full box in my freezer, and Eric and I devoured them. And at work there are usually corn dogs in the freezer for the employees. (Also Easy Mac and Cup'o'Noodles.) I had two corn dogs for lunch today. Plus a ridiculous amount of candy. It was a happy day.

  • Reply Domestic Diva September 27, 2012 at 1:14 am

    Okay this list made me laugh so loud. I have been a lurker on this blog for a long time but I had to comment because it was just so funny! We are also *trying* to eat a more healthful diet and I have cut out many an item that contains HFCS and other terrible ingredients but then I find myself taking a spoonful of skippy peanut butter or eating Oreos (what is it about those cookies that is just so darn addictive?). I don't drink soda really (and Fresca makes me gag but so does anything with aspertame) and I was sad to discover I don't really like chips anymore, my favourite treat in my younger days 🙁 I can still eat chocolate covered almonds like they are going out of style though. My one silly weakness? Beef Jerky. From Costco (not even sure of the brand). So good when I need a snack.

  • Reply Katie September 27, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    It is items like these that makes my change to a real foods diet a SLOW but steady one. I almost never buy pop tarts, but when I do, it is the brown sugar & cinnamon ones. Love them (once or twice a year). And I realized in London when I had gone a month without soda and then was stung by a bee in the shower (WHAT? Worst morning ever) that soda had officially become my comfort "food." What can you do?

  • Reply Jillian October 1, 2012 at 4:46 am

    Agreed about Cheetos! Cheez-Its are my biggest downfall-original or Pepper Jack. Kit Kats and Junior Mints. And sometimes you just cannot beat the rolls of already made cookie dough-eaten as dough, not cookies.

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