If you looked up the term "junk food" (which dates back to the 1950s,) it would be defined as "any food that has low nutritional value, typically produced in the form of packaged snacks needing little or no preparation." These high-calorie snacks have often been associated with negative health effects, but, if eaten in moderation, with appreciation, shouldn't be too bad...right?
While "junk food" is sold everywhere, and many of us just can't help ourselves, there's a reason it exists: taste! From childhood favorites, like gummy bears and chocolate, to movie snacks, like hot dogs and popcorn, to comfort foods, like pizza and fried chicken, junk food is often a major source of calories, and joy, in anyone's diet. Remember, everything in moderation is fine! So if you have a pantry or fridge full of these tasty treats, you should have no problem identifying different junk food items from a single image!
Are you, or someone you know, a junk food connoisseur? Can you identify the most famous or popular junk food in the world? There's only one way to find out, and that is by taking this quiz!
Gummy bears are gelatin-based candies, approximately two centimeters long, which come in the shape of a bear. The treat originated in Germany in 1920, and now they come in a wide variety of flavors.
Nachos are a northern Mexican dish which consists of fried corn tortilla chips covered with a melted cheese or cheese-based sauce and often topped with olives, jalapeño peppers, tomatoes and avocados. They were invented in the early 1940s by Ignacio "Nacho" Anaya, the head waiter at the Victory Club restaurant in Piedras Negras.
Onion rings are an appetizer made of circular onion slices which have been dipped in a batter made of flour, milk and eggs or bread crumbs and then deep fried. The first recipe for battered and fried slices of onion goes back to 1802.
Oreo is a brand of cookie that consists of two chocolate wafers which sandwich a sweet crème filling. Since its introduction in 1912, it has been the best-selling cookie in the United States. Oreos are technically vegan, but be warned, they're processed in a plant that processes dairy, so they could theoretically come into contact with milk.
Cheetos is an American brand of cheese puffs which brings in approximately four billion dollars in retail sales annually. They come in different flavors and varieties: crunchy, flamin’ hot, reduced fat, puffs and cheddar jalapeño.
A cupcake, sometimes called a patty cake or a fairy cake, is a small cake designed for one person. The earliest cupcake dates as far back as 1796, and like any regular cake, it is frosted, decorated and sometimes even stuffed.
A Twinkie consists of sponge cake with a crème filling, which was formerly made and distributed by Hostess Brands. In 2012, Hostess went bankrupt and Twinkies disappeared from shelves, but the beloved snack found its way back the next year.
French fries are pieces of potatoes which have been fried and salted. They are served both at fast food restaurants and fine dining establishments. There's a debate between Belgium and France as to which country invented the snack, also referred to as "pomme frites."
The original potato chip (or crisps) recipe consists of thinly sliced pieces of potatoes that have been baked or deep fried. The first recipe akin to modern day potato chips showed up in an English cookbook in 1817.
Doughnuts (or donuts) are a type of fried dough, usually eaten as a snack. They are typically covered by powdered confectionery sugar, sugar icing and are sometimes filled with cream, custard or fruit preserves. They're particularly popular for breakfast. Donuts were allegedly first mentioned in an English cookbook published in 1803 as an American recipe.
Popcorn is a snack which is made by heating corn kernels, causing them to expand. People have been snacking on popcorn since at least 3600 BCE. It became much more popular and accessible in the 1890s with the invention of the steam-powered popcorn maker.
Pizza is an Italian dish which dates as far back to the 10th century and consists of a yeasted flatbread which is topped with cheese, tomato sauce, vegetables, condiments and meat. Pizza is sold both fresh and frozen either in its entirety or in slices.
A burger is a type of sandwich that consists of a bread bun which holds a beef patty, lettuce, tomatoes and a wide variety of condiments and other toppings. When cheese is added, its name changes to cheeseburger. The first ground beef patty dates back to the 17th century in Germany, but it's unclear where the modern iteration of the hamburger was invented.
The earliest iteration of an ice cream recipe dates back to fifth century BC, where the Greeks mixed snow with honey and fruits. Today, ice cream recipes have a milk, milk substitute or cream base, mixed with sugar and different types of flavorings like vanilla, chocolate and fruit.
Froot Loops, invented in 1963, is a sweet fruit-flavored breakfast cereal which come in a ring shape, hence the name of the cereal, Froot Loops. There is no actual fruit in the cereal, and originally, there were only red, orange and yellow colors, but green, blue and purple were added during the 1990s.
M&M’s are candy-coated, brightly colored chocolate treats in a round shape. The original M&Ms candy, which was introduced in 1941, was made of milk chocolate, but now comes in varieties like peanut butter, peanut and dark chocolate. They are sold in over 100 countries worldwide.
A hot dog, which is also called a wiener or frankfurter, consists of a steamed or grilled sausage served in a bun and is usually garnished with a variety of condiments, ranging from mustard to relish to chili. All across the U.S., many cities have their own version of the hot dog with local topping preferences.
Chocolate is a treat (usually sweet) that is made from Theobroma cacao seeds. Chocolate is extremely popular throughout the world and has significant health benefits in its natural state, but once the sugar, milk, oils and cocoa butter have been added, it becomes a junk food. The word is derived from the Nahuatl word "chocolātl".
Licorice, originally black, is a sweet treat which is flavored with extract from the root of the licorice plant, called Glycyrrhiza glabra. The most popular type today is red licorice, which while shaped like the original treat, is actually flavored with things like strawberry and cherry.
Fried chicken is a dish made from chicken pieces which have been battered, then coated with some sort of breading, then either pan-fried or deep fried. The dish is one of the most popular in the United States and is sold at many fast food chains. Supposedly, Scottish frying techniques and West African seasonings were combined by slaves in the American South to develop the famous flavors from that region.
Tacos are a traditional Mexican dish made with a flour or corn tortilla which has been folded around some type of filling. These fillings could consist of anything from grilled meat to vegetables and are usually garnished with salsa, onion, lime and cilantro. Taco chains, like Taco Bell, have Americanized tacos by using non-traditional ingredients like nacho cheese and Doritos to turn an otherwise relatively healthy meal into a calorie-bomb.
Since their invention in the 1950s, chicken nuggets have been produced and sold by every major American fast food restaurant and popularized by McDonald's. They were invented in the 1950s by Robert C. Baker at Cornell University and were originally called "Chicken Crispies."
Ritz crackers are a brand of lightly salted crackers famous for having small scalloped edges. The crackers were first introduced by the Nabisco company in 1934, and Sydney Stern created the name Ritz, appealing to those suffering during the Great Depression, offering "a bite of the good life."
Pop-Tarts is a brand of a rectangular shaped baked treat that is meant to be toasted. They have been produced by the Kellogg Company since 1964, and they consist of layers of pastry which sandwich a sugary filling, and the top has icing on it.
Fun Dip is a type of sugared candy treat that is consumed by dipping a sugared treat (that you lick) into a packet of colored and flavored sugar (which sticks to the wet dipping stick.) The candy, which is now manufactured by The Willy Wonka Candy Company, has been in production since the 1940s.
This tablet candy comes in various pastel colors and is peanut-free, gluten-free, fat-free and dairy-free making it a vegan friendly treat. The candies distributed in Canada are renamed Rockets to avoid confusion with Nestlé's chocolate Smarties. They were originally made after WWII in pellet machines, hence the shape.
Chewing gum is a cohesive substance that was designed to be chewed, but not swallowed. It dates back to the Neolithic period; scientists discovered 6,000-year-old gum made from birch bark tar. Chewing gum, as we know it today, was first developed in the 1860s when "chicle" was introduced to New York from Mexico by former President General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna.
A milkshake is made from milk, ice cream and other sweet additions including chocolate, whipped cream and caramel. The first variation of a modern milkshake appeared in print in 1885 as an eggnog-type drink with whiskey.
A churro is a fried snack made of choux pastry dough, that originated in Spain and Portugal. In places where churros are eaten for breakfast, they are often accompanied by champurrado (similar to hot chocolate) and dulce de leche (similar to caramel) for dipping. In America, they are usually covered with cinnamon sugar.
This chocolate-covered raisin been produced by the Nestlé company since the 1980s. They were introduced in the United States in 1927 by the Blumenthal Chocolate Company and acquired by Nestlé in 1984.
Fruit Roll-Ups are a type of flat fruit snack which have been rolled with a thin layer of cellophane so as to be easily removed. They were first sold in 1983 and were manufactured by General Mills. It is pectin based and primarily made up of sugar.
Runts are small crunchy candies which come in the shapes and colors of different fruits. The hard candy, which currently is produced and sold by Nestlé, was first on the market in 1982, and at the time, the only flavors produced were banana, cherry, orange, lime and strawberry.
Pretzels are a type of baked bread which has been twisted into a knot. They are usually salted and develop their unique browned skin through a chemical reaction called the Maillard reaction.
Animal crackers are a type of cookie baked into the shape of different animals. The animals featured include tigers, camels, gorillas, lions, elephants and monkeys. They're usually sold in small boxes with a little string handle; perfect for small children to carry.
The sugared candies have a soft candy shell, a thick gel-like interior and were first sold in 1861. There are more than 50 varieties ranging from typical flavors like orange, lemon, lime and cherry, to more eccentric kinds like cappuccino, buttered popcorn and chili-mango.
Rice Krispies Treats are made using Kellogg’s Rice Krispies and melted marshmallows. They were traditionally homemade treats, but the company began producing them to be mass-marketed in 1995. They were invented in 1939 by Malitta Jensen and Mildred Day who worked for the home economics department of the company.
Skittles are a type of fruit-flavored candy produced by the Wrigley Company. Skittles were first mass produced in 1974 by a British company, and in 1982, domestic production of Skittles launched in the United States.
Bugles are a snack produced by General Mills and consist of cone-shaped corn chips fried in coconut oil. They first came out in 1966 and now include flavors like jalapeño cheddar, sweet and salty caramel, chocolate peanut butter and ketchup.
Chex Mix, like many different kinds of mixes, is a type of snack mix that consists of an assortment of pretzels, nuts, Chex cereals and crackers. The original was introduced in 1937, and the variants include sweet ‘n salty, snickerdoodle and sour cream & onion.
Combos are thick, cylindrical crackers that contain various fillings. They were first created in the 1970s. Combo flavors include honey sriracha, pizzeria pretzel, seven layer dip tortilla and pepperoni pizza cracker.
Starburst is a brand of fruit-flavored taffy which comes in a varieties including tropical, sour and very berry. In 1960, the brand was introduced in the UK as Opal Fruit and later re-branded as Starburst.
Technically, soda isn’t a food, but it does fall under the umbrella of junk food. Sometimes referred to as soft drink, it is a carbonated beverage made of water, sweetener and some type of flavoring. The "soft" is in comparison to "hard" alcoholic drinks, and may sometimes contain caffeine. It's also referred to as "pop" in some places.
H. B. Reese, who used to work at the Hershey dairy farm, developed the beloved peanut butter cup using Hershey's chocolate. Reese eventually started his own candy company, the aptly named H.B. Reese Candy Company.
Popsicles are an American brand of ice pops that were first introduced in 1922 by Francis William Epperson. His invention went on to inspire the Creamsicle, the Fudgsicle and the Yosicle (a Popsicle made from yogurt.)
Moon pies consist of two graham crackers with a marshmallow center all covered in chocolate. They were invented in 1917 by the Chattanooga Bakery, who still makes them. They also make them in mini size and double-decker size, as well as a variety of other flavors.
Pork rinds, sometimes called pork scratchings, are pig skin that have either been fried or roasted. Other forms of pork rinds are pickled and microwaveable (similar to popcorn.)
Similar to Cheetos, these cheese balls are fried or baked corn snacks, coated with powdered cheese. Both Planters and Utz produce versions of cheese balls.
Pixy Stix are a powdered candy that is both sweet and sour and comes in a package which resembles a drinking straw. The concept originated in 1942 in St. Louis, Missouri. It was inspired by a drink mix called Fruzola Jr.
A marshmallow is a sweet confection made of sugar, gelatin and water and is known for its sponge-like consistency. Although people enjoy them on their own, they are also toasted and sandwiched between two layers of crackers and chocolate to make a s’more, among other things. In ancient Egypt, they were used medicinally by royalty to soothe sore throats, as they were derived from the marshmallow plant.
Candy corn, invented in the 1880s, is best known as a Halloween candy. It was originally called "Chicken Feed." It is a three-colored (yellow, orange and white) candy and comes in the shape of a corn kernel, thought it's approximately three times the size of a real kernel.