Summer is over. Fall is here. If you’re a parent, that means you’re sending kids back to school. Hope you enjoyed your break, but it’s time for 6 a.m. wake-ups to pack daily school lunches and post-work trips to the grocery store to stock the cabinets, fridge, and freezer with after school snacks that won’t go to waste (unlike the decorative erasers literally no child needs). We’re here to help. We’ve rounded up some back to school grocery store essentials to help things go a little more smoothly. And, hey, you don’t have to be a student or parent to enjoy the bounty of back to school snacks. The best school lunch ideas can be work lunch ideas, too.
From sugary cereals that feel like an incentive to get out of bed to “parent-approved” cereals like Kix that won’t have your kids bouncing off the walls in first period, these are the best cereals for kids we found in our taste tests.
If you just do not have time for the drive-thru in the morning, we see you. The best frozen breakfast sandwiches are the next best thing to fast food breakfast.
If you’re sending a big kid back to school—or you’re a big kid who needs to make it through to that 2 p.m. lunch meeting—microwavable breakfast bowls are hearty and filling and, most importantly, ready in about two minutes flat.
School Lunch Ideas
Uncrustables are the alpha and omega of zero-effort school lunches. Toss one of these in the ol’ backpack or purse and enjoy (they’re delicious, we promise).
If you’re intent on making your own PB&J lest your Parent of the Year award be revoked, be sure to use the tastiest peanut butter at the store.
From bologna to roast beef, we taste tested all sorts of deli meat to find the best stuff for your sandwiches. No one’s gonna go swapping these sammies for something else in the lunchroom.
Plant-based kids need tasty sandwiches, too. From ersatz salami to mock turkey, these are our faves.
We firmly believe in lunch dessert, and applesauce is a really excellent healthy option. Whether your kid prefers pouches or cups, there’s an applesauce on our list for their lunchbox.
Every lunchbox—be it for school or work—needs something you can fish out and devour two hours before lunch rolls around. Granola bars are a must.
Every child needs something in their lunchbox they can barter with. Fruit snacks are the perfect thing.
We dare you to buy Kool-Aid Jammers and not drink one yourself. It’s not possible!
From snacks kids can eat right out of the fridge to microwavable treats they can cook up themselves, these are some of our favorite after school snacks.
A lot of frozen snacks require firing up the oven if you want them to taste good. Not Totino’s Pizza Rolls. Honestly, these are the perfect easy, microwavable after-school snack.
If you’re buying back to school supplies, you’re probably making at least one stop at Staples. While you’re there, you might as well pick up some snacks, too.