Back-to-school grocery shopping list

Erica Sagon

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Just like shopping for school supplies, a handy checklist helps you get everything you need for school day breakfasts, lunches, dinners and of course, snacks!

Woman with shopping cart

For sandwiches:

Alternate between sandwiches and pitas to keep kids from getting bored. Pack extras like lettuce and tomatoes in a separate plastic baggy and let kids add them to the sandwich at lunchtime to avoid a soggy sandwich.

  • Sliced whole-wheat bread
  • Pitas and/or tortillas
  • Deli meat
  • Frozen chicken breasts
  • Deli cheese
  • Tomatoes
  • Lettuce
  • Mayonnaise
  • Hummus
  • Peanut (or almond) butter
  • Jelly

Fruits and vegetables:

Pick sturdy options that can stand to be knocked around as they make it from the morning bus to the locker to the lunchroom. They should be easy for you to wash and pack, too.

  • Grapes
  • Apples
  • Baby carrots
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Celery sticks
  • Hummus for dipping
  • Dressings for dipping (look for single-portion packages for convenience)


Strong bones and teeth are important for kids as they grow. Keep the calcium intake high at lunchtime.

  • Yogurt
  • Cottage cheese
  • String cheese
  • Cheese cubes


A couple of these as lunch treats go a long way. To save money, buy large containers of these snacks at warehouse stores, then break them down into small packs on the weekend. Keep a basket by the door for quick snacks.

  • Slice-and-bake cookies
  • Granola bars
  • Animal crackers
  • Graham crackers
  • Pretzels
  • Fruit snacks
  • Raisins
  • Almonds
  • Apple sauce (look for sealed single-portion packages for convenience)
  • Trail mix (Make your own with: Peanuts or cashews, Cheerios, pretzels, raisins or dried cherries and chocolate chips)

Quick TipDrinks:

Try to find items that are 100 percent juice with low sugar content. Or, encourage your kids to be green – get a reusable water bottle and fill it with ice water.

Packing supplies:

There are many cool compartments out there for packing up a kid's lunch, but simple items like brown bags and napkins get the job done, too.

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