The back-to-school season is starting to slow down now that we’re approaching the end of September. Families are finally starting to settle into a good routine with time and transportation logistics gradually falling into place. But, the one thing that will continue to torment you from now until next summer is figuring out what to pack for lunch! Coming up with daily school lunch ideas can be challenging. But, that’s where a back to school grocery list comes in handy.
Building a Back to School Grocery List
Now, I have never been one of those moms who create different adorable animal-themed bento boxes of well-rounded nutritional goodness for each day of the school year. If anything, we’re the “Hurry up and throw something in a bag because we’re late!” kind of people. Even with my daughter making her own lunches now, it’s much of the same story. We have found it extremely helpful to keep some grocery staples on hand while rotating through various school lunch ideas to keep meals from getting boring.
While I usually do the grocery shopping, it does help to bring the family along to the store every so often. In fact, Munchkin joined me for a recent visit to the supermarket. With your kids right there with you, they can choose for themselves the food and snacks that they want to eat. No parent likes hearing their kids complain about the school lunch you packed for them. But, this way, if they don’t like something it’s their own fault and they’ll know better for next time. 😛 This is especially helpful if you have picky eaters! Of course, you can always veto their choices or curb them a little if necessary.
Breakfast During the School Year
Though I’m going to mainly focus on back to school grocery shopping and school lunch ideas in this post, we can’t skip the issue of breakfast altogether. Microwavable breakfast sandwiches and toaster pastries might be okay in a pinch. However, those will likely do more harm than good if eaten on a daily basis. Here are some school time breakfast ideas to start your kids’ mornings to a good start without taking too much time to prepare.
- Bagels or English Muffins
- Smoothies (frozen fruit and juice or yogurt)
- Breakfast meats
Back to School Grocery List — School Lunch Ideas
Okay, now we’re ready to get into the meat of things (quite literally in some cases). When building a back to school grocery shopping list, it’s important to keep in mind that this is just a starter list. What you end up packing throughout the year will depend on your family eating habits, how much time you have, your budget, and your kids’ likes and dislikes. Also, quick and easy school lunches do not have to mean junk food. With more focus on fresh and less processed foods, more healthy options are available now than ever before.
Once you know exactly what you need, you can use ClickCart at Lucky Supermarkets for curbside pickup. This service is sooooooo easy and convenient and I’m super excited that it has been rolling out to more locations.
The easiest and most filling school lunch staple is a sandwich. So, let’s start our back to school grocery shopping list with that.
- Bread, pitas, crackers, or tortillas
- Deli meat
- Cheese slices
- Mayonnaise or other spread (Squeezy bottles are the way to go with no silverware to mess with or clean!)
- Fruit jam or jelly
- Peanut/almond/sunflower butter
- Guacamole or avocado
To Pack Separately (so the starch doesn’t get soggy)
In case your child needs to switch it up, pick up a few pre-packaged salads or make some pasta salad to use during the week. If you go that route, make sure you pack extra snacks to keep your kids’ bellies full until they get home.
Back to School Grocery List — School Lunch Snacks
What really makes or breaks a lunch mostly depends on the snacks that are included. Most of the following are pretty easy to separate into smaller portions. But, if you’re short on time, there are plenty of pre-packaged snack options that might even include some kind of dip, spread, or topping.
- Cherry tomatoes
- Baby carrots or carrot sticks
- Celery sticks
- Cheese (cubes, mini, or string cheese)
- Hard-boiled eggs (not technically dairy but usually in the dairy aisle)
- Chips (potato, tortilla, whole-grain)
- Granola bars
- Graham crackers
- Fruit snacks (gummy or fresh fruit in cups)
- Applesauce pouches
- Trail mix (store-bought or make your own with nuts, dried fruit, and yogurt or chocolate chips)
- Dried fruit
Well, that about sums it up. If you are super crunchy and want everything to be super healthy and from scratch, then omit the processed stuff. If you are all about grab-and-go options, there are plenty of pre-packaged items that are tasty and healthy as well. If anything, I hope this list will at least help you get an idea of what types of food your kids might like and are easy to pack. You can then build upon the list according to your family’s preferences.
Back to School Grocery List — Shopping at Lucky
To help ease the cost of school lunch ingredients, one of my readers can win a $100 Lucky Supermarkets / Save Mart gift card. Enter the giveaway below!
This is a sponsored post created in partnership with Save Mart / Lucky Supermarkets. All opinions are my own.
One of my daughters favorite lunch box meals is a container of cold pasta salad. She also like frozen grapes.
I like putting tuna with fresh veggies and fruit in my nephew’s lunch.
I make a quick fruit salad and a samdwich
Usually transforming leftovers into a sandwich is easy and always pack some fruit.
for lunch or afterschool, cold pizza is easy
My favorite quick and easy, go-to school lunch ideas and snacks are lunchmeat and cheese sandwiches, fruit, granola bars, and trail mix. Thanks for the giveaway!
I like to make a quick sandwich and fruit. Thank you
I love to make pizza wraps for the kids! Easy and yummy
pb and j are always faves, also cheese cut into hearts and stars
Lunch is always a sandwich. They like to bring what the other kids are eating which is pretty basic.
Lunch is often greek yogurt and an apple. Leftovers also make a great lunch.
Fresh fruit is a great school snack.
When I’m in a hurry, the pre-packaged hard boiled egg, fruit, cheese, peanut butter snack pack I find in the deli section makes for a filling meal on the go!
Veggie and hummus wrap or turkey wrap
I like red grapes and cheese slices.
Wraps, ready made salads, veggies and dip
I love the new idea of bento boxes filled with cut up cheese, crackers, grapes, yogurt, salami and carrots. I also always used cookie cutter for my kids lunches for sandwiches because they despised crusts!
I’m good at planning ahead and portioning out leftovers into individual containers, so those are my easy grab-n-go lunches.
I do pretzels and cheese and I do apple and cranberries
I love rice cakes and yogurt! 🙂 Super yummy 🙂
We usually do fruit. Little Bites are good as well.
i use string cheese and fruit slices as aquick snack
My kids are into bagels and cream cheese- I make up a bunch for the week. Also they love cucumbers from our garden and “Homemade Lunchables”.
Two of my favorite lunch items are pretzels and peanut butter.
most days i eat a big salad for lunch. i love lots of fresh veggies and some guacamole and salsa for the dressing. i also put black beans on my salad. it is so good.
I go with the classics. PB & J Sandwiches. Also, regular lunch meat sandwiches work too.
I usually make grilled cheese and tomato soup. I use sliced cheese, butter, and grill them up along with just a can of tomato soup.
I also make B.L.T. Sandwiches when i have a little more time and money on my hands. Fry up some peppered bacon, slice up some tomato, chop some lettuce, add some mayo on toasted bread and presto, theres a yummy meal for any time of day.
I like yogurt a lot.. Although lately I’ve been having jello with fruit.
We love cheese sticks and fruit or veggies and dip!
ham and cheese rolls ups are easy! Thanks so much for the chances to win.
I like a quick and easy yogurt to go with my Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich.
We like cheese sticks and apple slices
I like cheese sticks and grapes.
fruit cup and sandwich
A few things:
– pear slices, string cheese and raisins. Fabulous together.
– beef jerky, cheese cubes, toasted almonds
– cottage cheese with toasted walnuts and salt
fresh fruits and veggies. vivian
Sometimes Yesterday’s lunch/dinner can become a solid lunch the next day.
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