The Sporked Guide to Back to School

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.

Easy Breakfasts

Our Ranking of the Best Cereal for Kids

best cereal for kids
Credit: Merc

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.

The Best Frozen Waffles

best frozen waffles
Credit: Liv Averett / Instacart / iStock / Kellog’s

You gotta love a breakfast kids can make themselves. Bust out the butter and the maple syrup for the best frozen waffles.

The Best Frozen Breakfast Sandwiches

best frozen breakfast sandwiches

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.

The Best Frozen Breakfast Bowls

best frozen breakfast bowls
Credit: Merc / Instacart / Walmart

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

Every Uncrustables, Ranked

every uncrustables ranked
Credit: Merc / Smucker’s

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). 

The Best Peanut Butter at the Grocery Store

best peanut butter
Credit: Liv Averett / Target / Walmart

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.

The Best Deli Meat for Your Sandwiches

best deli meat
Credit: Liv Averett / Amazon / Instacart

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. 

The Best Vegan Deli Meat for Your Sandwiches

best vegan deli meat
best vegan deli meat

Plant-based kids need tasty sandwiches, too. From ersatz salami to mock turkey, these are our faves.

The Best Applesauce Cups, Pouches, and More

best applesauce
Credit: Liv Averett / Aldi / Walmart / Whole Foods

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.

The Best Granola Bars

best granola bars
Credit: Liv Averett / Target

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.

The Best Fruit Snacks

best fruit snacks
Credit: Liv Averett / Dollar Tree / Instacart / Target / Walmart

Every child needs something in their lunchbox they can barter with. Fruit snacks are the perfect thing.

The Best Juice Boxes

best juice boxes
Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Target / Amazon / Walmart

We dare you to buy Kool-Aid Jammers and not drink one yourself. It’s not possible! 

After-School Snacks

The Best After-School Snacks at the Grocery Store

best after school snacks
Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / iStock / Instacart / Target / Walmart / Ralphs / Vons / iStock

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.

Every Totino’s Pizza Roll, Ranked

Totino's pizza rolls
Credit: Merc

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. 

4 Foods You Should Be Buying at Staples

staples products
Credit: Liv Averett / Staples

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.

About the Author

Sporked Staff

The Sporked Staff tastes everything and anything. They are obsessive about groceries and finding the best of any type of food or drink, from frozen fried shrimp to Dijon mustard to gummy candy. And they're always on a hunt for the best new products. When they aren't eating professionally, they're eating recreationally. And often they're browsing grocery store aisles, just for fun.

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