10 Foods Boomers Ate That Almost Never Expired

Organizing zero waste storage in kitchen. Pasta and cereals in reusable glass containers in kitchen shelf

10 Foods Boomers Ate That Almost Never Expired

While there is no doubt that dietary habits have changed since the baby boomer generation was growing up, not everything has changed. As boomers lived during historical times, we know that many of their parents lived during World War II when rationing was common. 

As a result, parents of boomers may have wanted to have food in the house that didn’t expire. With this in mind, let’s take a look at food boomers ate that have lengthy expiration dates.

Boxed Mac and Cheese

Classic Boxed Mac and Cheese in a White Bowl
Boxed mac and cheese can live for a long time if packaged properly.

One of the world’s best comfort foods, there is just something about mac and cheese. With the rise of boxed mac and cheese starting in the 1930s, its popularity was well-established by the time boomers came around. The good news is that this comfort food can easily last up to two years if stored properly in a pantry.

Dried Pasta

Various mix of pasta on wooden rustic background, sack and wooden spoons. Diet and food concept.
When you store dried pasta correctly, it can last for up to 2 years.

If you add dried pasta to an airtight container and leave it at room temperature, you can expect at least 2 years before expiring. Pasta has long been a favorite of boomers and their children, so it’s always good to have pasta around.

Canned Vegetables

Closeup shot of cans of vegetables. Corn, Peas, Green beans, carrots in open cans filling the frame.
Boomers are very used to having canned vegetables, which can last for five years.

While vegetables continue to be an unpopular item for kids, boomers, just like kids today, were told to eat them. If boomer parents chose canned vegetables and stored them in a pantry, there is every reason to believe the cans would last up to five years.


Sliced ​​grilled ham is plated on a wooden cutting board covered with parchment paper
There is no denying that Spam is a food item that can last for five years or more.

One of the best-known names in all of canned foods, Spam will easily last up to 5 years on a shelf. Spam cans don’t even offer an expiration date. Instead, they include a “best by” date that is an indicator of when it’s most fresh. This date is likely at least 3 years after manufacturing.

Canned Tuna

Canned Albacore Wild Tuna set, in tin can, on white background, top view flat lay
Canned tuna might not be everyone’s favorite, but it will stay fresh for years.

While canned tuna might not be everyone’s favorite, boomers grew up knowing this food all too well. The good news is that canned tuna has a pretty lengthy shelf life. While there is a “best by” date, it’s not uncommon to see canned tuna last up to 5 years if stored properly.


Rolled oats, healthy breakfast cereal oat flakes in bowl on wooden table
Oatmeal has long been a popular breakfast and oats have a very long shelf life.

As one of the most popular breakfast items during the 1950s and 1960s, boomers undoubtedly had oatmeal for breakfast. The good news is that oats are a dried grain and have a long shelf life. If stored in an airtight container, oats should last for years before needing to be thrown out.


Uncooked white rice in a burlap sack on wooden table.
One of the most common food items boomers know will last for years is rice.

Rice has been a staple for generations before boomers and continues to this day. The good news is that uncooked rice (white, brown, jasmine, etc.) can be stored in a pantry for a long time. If you come across vacuum-packed rice grains, you can expect a shelf life of 25 years or more.

Maple Syrup

maple syrup in glass bottle on wooden table
The perfect addition to pancakes on a Saturday morning, maple syrup can last for a long time.

There was just something exciting about Saturday morning when boomers were growing up. You had Saturday morning cartoons like The Flintstones and flapjacks to look forward to. The good news is that a boomer’s favorite flapjack topping of maple syrup can last for ages.


popcorn kernels in cup on rustic wood, space for text
Keep loose popcorn kernels around your home as they will stay good indefinitely.

One of the most popular movie snacks for boomers in the 1950s, popcorn sales dropped in the 1960s with the rise of TV. As a result, popcorn manufacturers promoted popcorn for watching TV at home. While bags of popcorn will expire, loose popcorn kernels will last indefinitely if they are stored in a dry and cool area like a pantry.


Sweet honey jar surrounded spring acacia blossoms. Honey flows from a spoon in a jar. Sunny light, shallow depth of the field.
Due to its pH levels, honey can just about last a lifetime.

Arguably the food item that will last the longest is honey. With a low 3.9 pH, it’s been said that microbes cannot grow inside a sweetened honey jar. The result is that honey can essentially last indefinitely, as long as it’s being stored properly.

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