Back-to-School Grocery Tips

children eating lunch

Back-to-school season is upon us and there are countless things you need to keep track of—sports, schedules, homework, activities, and so much more. One thing that shouldn’t add more stress to your plate is food shopping, preparing, and packing. But with so much to consider and so little time, these tasks can easily get away from you. Follow these back-to-school grocery tips to keep your routine running smoothly.

Make a Grocery Plan

Wandering into the grocery store without a clear plan of what you’re getting can cause issues—including spending much more money than you intended. Creating a grocery game plan ahead of time can help save you money, time, and stress!

  1. Take inventory: Don’t waste money rebuying something you already have.
  2. Plan your meals: This will make it easy for you to buy exactly what you need when you get to the grocery store. Plus, it reduces stress during your shopping trip.
  3. Make a list: And stick to it! Don’t be tempted by the bright-colored snacks and juices—if it’s not on your list, it shouldn’t come home with you.
  4. Figure out your budget: Break down what you should be spending on groceries each month. While shopping, choose the generic or store brand product over the name brand.

Pack Lunch

While sending your child to school with a few dollars to buy school lunch may be the easiest and quickest option, it might not be the best. In addition to often being overpriced, some school-supplied lunches like cheeseburgers, pizza, and nachos are extremely high in sodium, saturated fat, and cholesterol. Eating these kinds of meals every day can cause your child to feel sluggish and unmotivated.

By packing your child’s lunch, you have control over what they eat. Pick healthy options that are low in sugar and high in vitamins and nutrients. Include these foods in your child’s meal or snacks:

  • Fruits like berries, apples, bananas, melons, pears, grapes, and oranges
  • Vegetables including celery sticks, cucumber slices, bell peppers, carrot sticks, and grape tomatoes
  • Low-fat dairy, such as cheese sticks or slices and low-sugar yogurt
  • Whole grains like whole-wheat bread or crackers, popcorn, and oatmeal
  • Proteins like hard-boiled eggs or nuts

Avoid packing these foods:

  • Processed snacks that are high in fat and sodium such as potato chips
  • Sugar-sweetened beverages like juice boxes, soda, energy drinks, and sports drinks
  • Candy like chocolate bars or fruit gummies
  • ‘Kid-friendly’ yogurt, like those with crazy flavors and cartoons on the labels that are packed with sugar

Here are a few delicious and nutritious meal ideas for your child’s lunch:

Take Advantage of Local Produce

Shopping locally doesn’t have to break the bank—in fact, it can be a lot cheaper than buying processed, pre-made foods from the grocery store. In Frederick County, there are many ways to shop locally and save money.

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