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Quick and Healthy Back-to-School Lunch Ideas

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July 28, 2023

It’s that time of year again: back to school! As the back-to-school season approaches, finding nutritious and convenient lunch options becomes a top priority for busy parents. If you are looking for great tips for healthy lunch essentials and money-saving tricks, we have you covered! Say goodbye to lunchtime stress and hello to delicious, wholesome meals that your kids will love!

Must-Have Easy Ingredients for Healthy Lunches

Packing your kiddo’s lunch hasn’t always been a breeze, but it can be! Especially when you stock up on quality ingredients that don’t require much prep. Here are some fridge and freezer staples to prepare for school lunches.

  • Eggs: Hard-boiled eggs are packed with protein and are easy to pop in your kid’s lunch box. You can also find perfectly pre-cooked hard-boiled eggs at your local bulk supply store, saving you the work of cooking and peeling them yourself.
  • Deli Meats: Turkey, chicken, and ham wholesale deli meats are great for quick sandwiches and wraps. You can also make kid-friendly charcuterie snacks with crackers, sliced cheese, and fruit for a guilt-free lunch that beats any pre-packaged alternative.  
  • Cheese: Speaking of cheese, you can’t go wrong with queso. Cube cheddar for a calcium-rich snack. Add shredded mozzarella to mini-pizzas or top a ham sandwich with sliced Swiss. When it comes to cheese, the options are endless! You can purchase it pre-cut to save time, making lunch prep even more effortless. 
  • Fruits and Vegetables: Fresh produce is a wholesome addition to any lunchbox. Pre-washed, crudités-style veggies are great to have on hand—think cherry tomatoes, snap peas, celery, radishes, and carrot sticks. Cucumbers are also a great addition! They can be sliced for a side or added to wraps. Yum! Whole fruits like apples, clementines, pears, plums, grape clusters, and kiwis are nourishing and quickly packed. Don’t forget about the dips!
  • Bread, Tortillas, and Crackers: Having bread products on hand lets you mix up your lunches—from sandwiches to quesadillas and homemade snack boxes. Don’t forget to grab pita, flatbreads, and English muffins for even more options. You can even go gluten free!
  • Dry Pasta: Pasta is a lifesaver when it comes to meal prep for school lunches. You can cook off a whole box of dried pasta for a chilled pasta salad. Add chopped chicken from last night’s dinner or deli meats and cheese, and you have a nutritious, protein-packed meal. 
  • Wholesome Dairy: Yogurt and cottage cheese are low-fat, protein-rich foods that can be served straight or added to dishes for exciting lunches. Use yogurt in place of sour cream for chili. Layer lasagna with cottage cheese instead of ricotta for a healthy version.

Money-Saving Grocery Shopping Tips


Money-saving grocery shopping tips.

Feeding a family on a budget can be challenging. When shopping for your kid’s lunch items, you want to get the best ingredients at budget-friendly prices without visiting multiple stores. Here are three ways to help you shop smart.

1. Buy In Bulk

Purchasing items in larger quantities means bulk pricing and fewer trips to the store. Dried, frozen, and canned goods are no-brainers when it comes to bulk buying. They have longer shelf lives and are easy to prepare. However, fresh produce and wholesale meats are also great to purchase in large quantities. With a bit of meal planning, you can make good use of your fresh ingredients before they even spoil

Consider batch-cooking and freezing meals to extend the life of your ingredients and make lunches as easy as thawing out a pre-portioned container.

2. Take Advantage of Restaurant Supply Stores

These grocery warehouses are go-to's for ingredients in the culinary industry, so you know that their items are top-notch. They are also competitively priced, which means you can shop and get great prices on all your lunch staples. They stock everything from wholesale dairy to dried goods, beverages, frozen foods, and more! Plus, they offer box lunch items like paper products, compostable utensils, and freezer-safe containers. 

3. Bring a Shopping List

It’s easy to overspend when you don’t have your meals and shopping list planned out. Before your shopping trip, decide on your meal for the next week or two—including breakfast and dinner. Create a shopping list that organizes items by aisle, so you can get what you need efficiently.

Stock Up on Easy School Lunch Essentials at US Foods CHEF’STORE 

CHEF’STORE has aisles filled with exceptional products at budget-friendly prices. You’ll love our variety of meats and seafood, quality dairy, fresh produce, dry goods, and beverages. Plus, we stock professional-grade to-go packaging and offer third-party delivery

Visit one of our locations today and see what we have in store for you!

The information materials and opinions contained in this blog/website are for general information purposes only, are not intended to constitute legal or other professional advice and should not be relied on or treated as a substitute for specific advice relevant to particular circumstances. We make no warranties, representations, or undertakings about any of the content of this blog/website (including, without limitation, as to the quality, accuracy, completeness or fitness for any particular purpose of such content).

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