the junk food i love

I think a lot of people see nutrition as a world of two extremes. You either live in the house that kale built or know the person working the drive-thru window on a first name basis. It’s so often portrayed that there isn’t really a middle path, but I, for one, believe there is one. And even beyond that, I believe it’s the healthiest place for people to live. I personally don’t think either extreme is good for you. On one end (the fast food, junky diet) you are doing damage to your body. On the other end (extreme clean eating) you aren’t satisfying that primal part of us that desires certain foods. Which is a seriously un-fun place to live. I think there is something to be said for eating something just because you like it. And I know I’m a mentally healthier person when I’m eating foods I love and enjoy—even if they aren’t the most nutrient dense. Obviously, I like to live a bit off of center—tilting to the clean eating side—but that doesn’t mean I don’t seriously enjoy me some junk food in moderation.

I thought it’d be fun to share with you guys some of my favorite nutritionally-void junk foods. It can be so easy to get this idea that bloggers live in this land of perfectly clean eating and, dude, that’s just wrong. Sure, I try to eat clean and healthy the vast majority of the time, but the truth is, I like junk food. It’s tasty. And I think that’s healthy. Just a different kind of healthy.

Chocolate-frosted Donettes

I have never really liked donuts. Just never been my thing, but Donettes? OH MY. Donettes! I don’t know what it is about these little chocolate-covered cake donuts but they are one of my favorite junk foods. In college, I thought getting a pack of these and a bottle of chocolate milk was a “balanced” breakfast (dairy! carbs!). That’d be my breakfast at least three or four times a week. I still love me some Donettes, but now I only get them once or twice a year. And never for breakfast. Thankfully, you can get the “single-serving” six-pack. Don’t even think about bringing one of those giant bags near me. ANNIHILATED.

Mountain Dew

I think there is a direct correlation between the area you grew up in and your favorite soft drink, and us country girls in Southern Indiana? We drank Mountain Dew. In high school, if you opened up the passenger door of my 1985 Ford Crown Vic (for cereals) you would have seen a floorboard covered in bright green Mountain Dew bottles. It was just a thing. And Mountain Dew will always bring me the warm-and-fuzzies (although, maybe it’s from the sugar, caffeine and chemicals). I drink a few Mountain Dews a year and they are totally glorious.

Wendy’s Spicy Chicken Sandwich

I never get fast food anymore. As in, I honestly can’t even remember the last time I ate fast food, but if I did? I’d be all over the Spicy Chicken Sandwich from Wendy’s. It was my favorite. I ate a lot of fast food in college and right after, and the Spicy Chicken Sandwich was always my favorite. I should really just learn to remake it myself.

Totino’s Pizza Rolls

We’ve already talked about this, but pizza rolls are one of my absolute favorite slumber party foods from middle school. We used to pair these with some of the frozen taquitos and a big pile of Bagel Bites before our sleep overs. Add three or four two-liters of Mountain Dew, breadsticks from Papa Johns, chips and queso, some chocolate chip cookie dough (side note: me and my friends use to actually keep a tube of cookie dough in the glove compartment of my Crown Vic during the winter for easy after-school snacking!) and you’ve got yourself one heck of a rockin’ party. Man, I haven’t had these in forever. I should really get on that.

Fair Food

This encompasses a lot of things—pork tenderloins, funnel cakes, giant vats of lemonade, deep-fried twinkies—but I love, love, love fair and festival food! It has little to do with the taste and a lot to do with the experience of eating a deep-fried Milky Way under the lights of the Midway in 90° heat. I don’t want to live in a world where it is “wrong” to eat deep-fried dough while my husband tries to win me a $0.25 teddy bear. I love fair food! And I don’t care who knows it!

What junk food do you love?


  1. says

    I love Donettes too! My husband jokes they are the only thing I would eat from a gas station. Which isn’t true, I also love sour patch kids. Coke is my one great love. I have the hardest time cutting out and I am forever trying to find ways to make the calories fit.

  2. says

    I wrote a similar post recently about my favorite junk foods, and I put Cheetos on it. LOVE THEM. Also, Totinos pizza rolls. I can not get enough of those things!

    I definitely agree that there is a middle road and moderation is key. Not many things make me happier than a slumber party with pizza rolls :)

  3. Sarah says

    Cheese-it’s…. oh man I love them so hard. And I am totally there with you on the fair foods. I generally prefer savory over sweet (see the previous sentence about Cheese-it’s) but cotton candy, funnel cake, water ice, etc. from a fair or boardwalk- sign me up!

    • Cassie says

      Mmmm, Cheese-its are very, very yummy! I like to get the organic ones so I at least feel a little bit better about stuffing my face full of junk. 😛

  4. says

    I agree…everything in moderation :)
    I also love Mountain Dew but have not had in FOREVER…always loved that with Doritos…what a combo that was hard to stop! Plus…still love Ben and Jerry’s Coffee Heath Bar Crunch. Great post.

  5. says

    I’m being 100% honest here- I really don’t like junk food. Well, unless you call ice cream junk food. It just doesn’t agree with me and leaves my stomach feeling bloated and icky.
    Just because I’m on the extreme opposite end (extreme clean eating) doesn’t mean that I’m the best eater though- I eat way too much “clean” food quite often, which is probably worse than just eating a little junk food in moderation!

    • Cassie says

      Oh, junk food totally makes me feel terrible. 😛 But it’s totally worth it every now and again in my opinion!

  6. says

    I seriously loved fried foods – french fries especially. I also love REESES PIECES, Doritos, Girl Scout Cookies (I used to eat an ENTIRE sleeve of Thin Mints in one sitting, by myself!) and Ben and Jerry’s. In every day life, I’m the clean eating type – but life wouldn’t be right without bites of these things from time to time.

  7. says

    Oh man I would be all over a homemade spicy chicken sandwich… I crave those things.

    And donettes! I used to love those but haven’t had them in ages.

    • Cassie says

      Mmm, that’s a good one, too. Although, I think I like the dark chocolate mini peanut butter cups from TJ’s even better. YUM.

  8. says

    You hit some good ones. I love pizza rolls and funnel cakes! Fast food wise I’m a sucker for Taco Bell when I’m really hungry. There’s something nice about the simplicity of their tacos.

    One of my favorite “bad for you” foods is Velveeta and Rotel. Seriously I could eat a vat of it. So I allow myself to eat it ONE day a year – Super Bowl. I eat as much as I want without guilt and then let it go for another 365 :)

  9. Trin says

    Donette’s and Red Gatorade were my rehab food. I blew out both my ACLs and that combo is the only thing that tasted good to me for weeks post-op. It’s been yeeeeeears and my husband still teases me about it.

    If Chipotle is junk food (and it probably should be classified as such), that’s a huge weakness of mine. See also: egg rolls with a ridiculous amount of duck sauce.

    Shocktarts. Wonka genius. Period.

    Cookie dough. Thank you, Pinterest, for the stupidly delicious cookie dough dip recipe that’s circling around and WON’T DIE.

    • Cassie says

      HOLY CRAP. I totally forgot about Shocktarks. WOW. Flash back! I used to down those as Mega Warheads like it was my job.

  10. Becky says

    Peanut butter Oreo’s, Chex mix and a Sky bar are my favorite junk food. Onion rings would be my favorite fair food. Try not to have them often but need to indulge once in a while.

  11. says

    Thank you so much for this post, Cassie! I took a brief hiatus from reading health and wellness blogs because seeing them prepare their perfect balanced, healthy meals got me feeling down on myself because I can’t stick to those guidelines all the time. Thanks for reminding readers that despite the benefits of eating a clean diet, it’s necessary to indulge and ENJOY the sweeter things in life.

  12. says

    And P.S. Wendy’s spicy chicken is my favorite, too! I rarely eat fast food, but when I do, it’s ALWAYS Wendy’s! When I only have a buck to spare? Spicy chicken nuggets!

  13. says

    My favorite is potato chips and veggie or onion dip. I could probably eat an entire bag/ bowl by myself, so when I make it, I try to have a bowl of fresh veggies there, too, and lean on that instead of the chips. The dip is really just sour cream, and it’s not *that* horrible once or twice a year! But oh I do love it!

    • jeri says

      Clam dip with Fritos is a great one too. But for whatever reason, it’s always been for New Year’s Eve only. The down side is you only eat it once a year, but the up side is you don’t feel obligated to eat it with veggies. But it’s really good with red peppers anyway.

  14. Ali says

    ‘Regular’ chips with a coke. Mmmm. Salty & sweet.

    And two things that I recently realized are uniquely Canadian: Smarties and Nibs. If you haven’t tried them, get some on your next visit up!!

    • Cassie says

      I’ve had Smarties (both the American kind [which you guys call Rockets] and the Canadian kind [which are kinda like M&Ms]) but I’ve never had Nibs!

      • Ali says

        Oh, but they’re somehow better than M&Ms, no? I can’t put my finger on why, though. Nibs are basically red licorice bites, but denser. Now I’m craving them :)

      • Cassie says

        I think it’s because they are slightly bigger! More chocolate, less candy-coating. More chocolate is always a good thing. :)

  15. kathy says

    I’ve been meaning to comment for awhile – just want to tell you how much I enjoy your blog. Love your honesty and I also think you are a talented writer. So funny! And just so you know, you’re appealing to all demographics – I’m a 56 year old vegetarian who recently went vegan (for the most part), and I absolutely agree – everything in moderation. I love twizzlers and next time you are at Trader Joes you might want to try their bruschetta (not junk food :), the kind in the jar, not in the cold section. It is amazing! Thanks for the blog.

  16. Heather says

    Oh the junk food. Too much to choose from to pick a favorite. Really trying to cut back on all junk.

    But the spicy chicken from wendy’s? I would love for you to replicate that recipe!! YUM!

  17. Candace says

    Keeping my fingers crossed that you will make over the Wendy’s Spicy Chicken Sandwich. I’m ashamed to admit I ate one for lunch today. My other big junk food weakness is Cool Ranch Doritos.

    • Cassie says

      Don’t be ashamed! Nothing wrong with a little bit of junk every now and again. Babyface is a HUGE Doritos fan! I could take ’em or leave ’em.

  18. jeri says

    Fried chicken. And while I agree that the occasional indulgence is actually good for your soul, I was really frightened when they opened a Popeye’s RIGHT across the street from my house. There was an initial period of chicken insanity, but now I can make it to my front door bucket-free 99% of the time. It’s back to being a happy treat again, especially during the recent heatwave. Luckily, my second favorite, Bugles, are hard to find in my neighborhood.

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