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Top 10 Iconic Junk Foods (Part 3)

Junk food might not be the healthiest option when you’re hungry, but it sure is convenient and one of the most gratifying ways to satisfy even your wildest cravings. From cookies to potato chips to fast-food treasures, you’re sure to find something that hits the spot just right. So, if you didn’t see your favorite the last time, here is part 3 of the Top 10 Iconic Junk Foods. 

10. Slim Jims

If you go to just about any gas station or convenience store, chances are you’re going to see an array of beef jerky and meat sticks available. These are the perfect snack for those long road trips when you need to fuel your body for just a few miles longer. However, as much as there are endless brands available, there is one that deserves special attention, Slim Jim. Around since the 1920s, Slim Jims have become quite the staple in the quick-and-easy snack world. These encased tubes of processed meat come in over 21 flavors, including mild original, Tabasco, and Jamaican Jerk. Of course, you probably wouldn’t be surprised if we told you these were unhealthy – because they are – extremely. Sure, the label reads “meat sticks,” but let’s just say there’s a very small percentage of quality meat inside. Usually made from a combination of cheap meat parts from chicken, beef, and pork, Slim Jims contain a disturbing amount of salt and chemical preservatives like sodium nitrite. Those ingredients are added to make sure it stays red rather than gray. But, then again, everyone knows junk food is called junk food for a reason. It’s never good for you, yet, it tastes exquisite. Despite its apparent health hazard properties, Slim Jims are still the number one thing everyone ends up buying when on a road trip food run! 

9. Trolli Sour Gummy Worms

When it comes to sour candy, it’s always a hit or miss situation. Either you hate it, or you go crazy for it. One of the most iconic gummy shapes – apart from the bears, of course – is worms. Not always the most visually appetizing, sure, but oh so fun to eat! So, imagine taking this fun and epic shape, and turning it into something even more fun and epic, a sour gummy worm! Gummy worms are now among the most popular gummy candies out there. So as not to miss out, a lot of candy brands have released their own versions, but Trolli has got to be one of the best at it. After all, the original idea did come from them. Trolli Sour Brite Crawlers are multi-flavored gummy worms that come in neon-colors to make the experience even more enjoyable. With flavor combinations like Cherry-Lemon, Strawberry-Grape, and Orange-Lime, the German confectionery brand has been able to stand out in a sea of other candy makers trying to take the crown for the best sour candy. The sour gummy worms were first introduced in 1981 and have since made their place into the candy Hall of fame. With the tongue-twisting sugary goodness striking the perfect balance of sweet and sour with every bite, no wonder they’re among some of the most popular brands of gummy worms. Even though sour candies are considered to be extremely bad for your teeth and your health in general, a little worm once in a while can’t really hurt that much, can it? 

8. Lay’s Chips

Ok, be completely honest, is there anything better than getting cozy on the couch in your pyjamas with a bag of chips, to watch a movie on a Friday night? Probably not, and what’s the perfect potato chip brand to do this with? Well, of course, it’s Lays! With a crispy and a perfect level of saltiness, they are the ultimate definition of “iconic.” Invented in 1932, Lay’s chips were first sold out of the back of a car. Today, they can be found at practically every store in America – and around the world – and they come in over 200 flavors. Of course, these flavors depend on where you go, as some of the many varieties are regional only. From the traditional salt and vinegar and barbecue to more unusual ones, like cappuccino and vegetable soup, we dare you to find a boring flavor. The company has even held contests in the past allowing people to submit crazy ideas for new Lay’s flavors, and whoever thinks of the best can win $1 million. So, if you think you’ve got the flavor, taking a shot clearly wouldn’t hurt! There’s also this new trend where you can take this already delicious junk food and turn it into something even better – if not a little weird – mashed potatoes. All you need is a bag of lays, some water, smoked paprika, and plenty of cheese, and voila! A steaming yet slightly disturbing pot of mashed potatoes. These really are resourceful chips! 

7. Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies

Arguably one of the best things to find in your lunchbox as a kid, Cosmic Brownies are definitely the perfect snack for any occasion. Colorful, gooey, and delicious, you never wanted to trade these away. Introduced in the late 1990s, Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies were actually created to celebrate the Cosmic Bowling trend. You know, those out-of-this-world bowling alleys with the flashing lights popular back in the day? We bet those rainbow-colored, candy-coated chocolate chips make a lot more sense now, don’t they! Cosmic Brownies are the perfect size to bring with you just about anywhere, and according to Little Debbie’s website, they are supposed to be fun to share. Don’t worry, though; you don’t have to share if you want to eat the whole thing! Whether you enjoy it as it is or with a scoop of ice cream, every way to eat these little treats is a good way. These galactic sweets are basically the textbook definition of an ultra-processed snack – they might not be good for your health, but they are more than good for your soul. Ok, it might be sugar on top of more sugar, but at least eating one will make you happy. This chocolate brownie covered in fudge icing will probably never go out of style and will always have a special place in the pantry. 

6. Totino’s Pizza Rolls

What we wouldn’t do for pizza. A tasty, classic, cheesy staple that pretty much everyone loves. And to think, someone actually stopped and said: “what could make pizza even better?” and came up with the next best thing: pizza rolls. While Totinos might make the most popular brand of pizza rolls, they didn’t actually come up with the idea. A man named Jeno Paulucci is the one to thank for this delicious invention. It’s said that they were first made by replacing the inside filling of an egg roll with pizza toppings, and it was so tasty that Jeno decided to turn it into an actual thing. After selling to Pillsbury, it was rebranded as Totino’s Pizza Rolls. Today, it’s considered America’s #1 selling hot snack. It goes without saying that Pizza Rolls aren’t exactly a sophisticated food; however, there are always ways to elevate this classic snack. Especially to make it more interesting for those who don’t like to eat frozen food. Like making Pizza Rolls Nachos. These sound pretty amazing and would make it pretty easy to forget their prior frozen form. Or, better yet, you can make these little pockets of cheesy, meaty goodness yourself. You just need to find the perfect recipe and adapt it to your taste to make your very own personal junk food! 

5. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

Peanut butter and chocolate: a match made in heaven. The perfect compromise between sweet and salty, and the best way to enjoy both. Creamy peanut butter covered in smooth milk chocolate, fashioned into that famous circular disk shape, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are one of the most popular candies in the world. Named the third most popular candy in the US, these cups have been an outstanding success ever since they were created back in the 1920s. Sure, they contain a lot of unnecessary added sugar, but that’s part of the charm, right? Today, even though the cups remain the superior candy, Reese’s has introduced more than two dozen variations over the years, with varying degrees of success. These variations include the Big Cup, Caramel, Crunchy Cookie, as well as E.T.’s favorite, Reese’s Pieces. Here’s a fun little historical fact. In the summer months of the 1930s, because of the unbearable heat and the lack of air-conditioning, Reese’s chocolate was not able to be made. everything would simply melt away. So, to stay afloat and pay the bills, employees had to start canning vegetables. Who knew that without canned tomatoes, there may not be a Reese’s today? 

4. Ruffles Chips

Yes, we already talked about another great potato chip owned by Frito-Lay, but these chips are so special, they deserve their own entry. When you’re craving something crunchy, salty, and ready to dip, Ruffles are the potato chips to go with. They’re so delicious; even the creators can’t explain why they taste so good. It’s most likely because of their unique shape. When creator Bernhardt Stahmer applied for a patent on “sliced, corrugated potato products” in 1955, no one had ever seen such a flavorful chip before. Stahmer asserted his ruffled chips tasted better due to specified dimensions and ridged shape with which they were sliced. He went on to link the effect of the ruffled potato chip to the effect of a bruised apple, stating that once the apple is bruised, it begins to taste different. Stahmer still says that he had no idea why this phenomenon was occurring, especially since Ruffles were made the same way other chips were and had no added flavors. No matter why Ruffles chips are so good, the important part is, today, they have made their mark as one of the top choices among chip eaters. With dozens of new and inventive flavors released through the years, from Sour Cream & Onion to All Dressed to Flamin’ Hot, there is bound to be a perfect Ruffles for you!

3. Chips Ahoy! Cookies

Homemade chocolate chip cookies will always be superior to the store-bought packages – it’s just a fact. However, there is one brand, in particular, that might just be able to measure up, Chips Ahoy! Cookies. Around since the 1960s, Chips Ahoy has become somewhat of an icon in the world of cookies. They were advertised as the first factory-made cookie to taste as good as homemade, and it’s safe to say they have lived up to that name ever since. Nabisco has said that Chips Ahoy’s name was inspired by the nautical term “ships ahoy,” a phrase used in Charles Dickens’s The Uncommercial Traveller. They quickly became a fan favorite, helped along by the impressive number of chocolate chips found in each cookie. While the original Chips Ahoy Cookies are still the most loved of the bunch, when the chewy cookies came on the market, people had a hard time maintaining their loyalty. A lot of brands were trying to come up with the absolute best soft cookie, but the crown went to Chips Ahoy in 1983. With a perfectly soft and yummy taste, it’s no wonder they’ve become the second-highest selling cookie in the US – after Oreos, if you hadn’t guessed. As one of those go-to comfort foods, Chips Ahoy Cookies are one of the best store-bought cookies out there, and absolutely nothing can beat dunking one of these in a cold glass of milk!

2. Pepsi

If you’re in search of a refreshing and bubbly way to quench your thirst, look no further than an ice cold Pepsi. Of course, there’s still that whole debate about whether you’re team Pepsi or team Coke, but maybe it’s time to let bygones be bygones and accept that both are pretty fine options – and that Pepsi has the most bubbles. While obviously, soda, in general, isn’t exactly the healthiest thing to drink on a daily basis, a little bubbly drink once in a while has never hurt anybody. Created in 1893 by Caleb Bradham, Pepsi was even first marketed as a “healthy” cola that helped with digestion. Pepsi-Cola and Frito Lay Inc merged together in 1965 and recognized what they called “a marriage made in heaven: one single company delivering perfectly-salty snacks served alongside perfectly-bubbly drinks.” For over 50 years now, PepsiCo has been ruling the world with its various products and its growing soda company. PepsiCo is one of the world’s largest and most respected companies, with products sold in more than 200 countries and territories and 22 brands that generate over $1 billion each. Needless to say, it’s more than an empire. So, next time you’re hesitating between the blue or the red, you know which one to get!

1. Pizza From Dominos

Whether it’s because your too busy to cook or to feed an entire party, pizza is the way to go. As a true fast-food legend, pizza is always guaranteed to bring a smile to almost anyone’s face. With endless possibilities and places to get your pizza from – frozen, homemade, or pizza joints – Dominos is probably one of the best options. Dominos’s story began in the 1960s in Michigan when two brothers opened their first pizzeria. What started as a smalltown pizzeria evolved into a multinational, worldwide company. Today, there are over 17,000 stores – including more than 10,000 outside the United States. So, what makes this particular pizza joint so special? It’s all about the quality and tasty pizza they offer. With various offerings of delicious pizza options, from cheeseburger pizza to the classic pepperoni, you can always find something that suits your taste. But, if you’re worried, just know that there are around 34 million different ways to customize your pizza, so you should be okay. You can get a garlic-seasoned crust, BBQ Sauce as the spread, and an array of cheese and meat options to top off your creation. Plus, if you decide to have it delivered, you can easily track your order, thanks to the revolutionary technology of the Domino’s Tracker – a first in the fast-food industry. 

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