The Best Trader Joe’s Picks for Your Kids’ Lunchboxes

It’s no secret we are huge Trader Joe’s fans over here at The Everymom.

We all have frozen TJ’s favorites and easy recipes to throw together for weeknight dinners. We also rely on Trader Joe’s as we add packing school lunches or snacks for daycare to our routines. Trader Joe’s has a huge selection of prepackaged snacks, organic options, and lunchbox staples to help.

Plus, Trader Joe’s really cares about their littlest customers, providing kid-sized carts (just watch out for your ankles), a stuffed animal scavenger hunt, and lollipops and stickers at checkout. And can we just talk about how much we love the staff?! (Have you seen the viral video of Trader Joe’s team members dancing to stop a toddler tantrum? It’s great!)

I polled my mom friends, and fellow Trader Joe’s fans, for some of their kids’ favorites and am sharing some of the hits from inside our house. And don’t worry about remembering everything, we have a shopping list you can screenshot at the end.

 

Entrée Ideas

By the end of last school year, my daughter was eating a peanut butter sandwich on wheat bread as part of her lunch every day. She did love it, but this year, I’m trying to be more creative – and more sensitive to nut allergies in the lunchroom. I found mixing up her bread choices and whole-grain options get her excited about trying something new (especially because she’s the kind of kid who eats her bun before her burger).

Here is what I’m trying this year:

  • Ham and Cheese in a Honey Wheat Pita Pocket
  • Lunchable-Style Deconstructed Sandwich (Whole Grain Crackers, Cheese Stick Cut in Cubes, Deli Meat)
  • Mini-Salame Sticks Wrapped in Provolone Cheese Slices OR Deli Meat Wrapped Around Cheese Sticks
  • Hummus with Pita Chips or Naan Slices
  • Sunflower Seed Butter spread on a Pretzel Roll

 

 

Fresh Sides

Finger foods are key for young kids. Not only are there few adults to help open packages in the lunchroom, but easy access to fresh food means less of a barrier between them and the food you really want them to eat.

Here’s what my kids love:

  • Cotton Candy Grapes
  • Organic Baby Carrots
  • Persian Cucumber Slices
  • Sugar Snap Peas
  • Small-Sized Bartlett Pears or Apples
  • Grape or Cherry Tomatoes

 

 

Pre-Packaged Snacks

Snacks are yet another way Trader Joe’s really shines. They have a ton of organic and whole wheat options, and the pre-packed options make my life easier.

Some of our lunchbox-appropriate winners:

  • Kettle Corn
  • Fruit Sauce Crushers (pouches)
  • Organic Granola Bars (we buy these five boxes at a time)
  • Yogurt Squishers Tubes or Yogurt Pouches (These both need ice packs.)
  • Fruit Leather
  • Breakfast Trek Mix (contains almonds)
  • Organic Roasted Seaweed With Sea Salt*

* Note, these snacks are polarizing. My daughter asked me to buy them because friends in her class had them. She and I did not love the taste, but they’re healthy so worth a try to see if your kids are on team seaweed.

 

 

Loose Snacks

Loose snacks can cut down on packaging waste and work well in bento-style lunch boxes. Again, Trader Joe’s has so many options. Here are some favorites:

  • Honey Wheat Pretzel Sticks
  • Organic Mini-Cheese Sandwich Crackers
  • 12-Grain Mini Snack Crackers
  • Crispy Crunchy Broccoli Florets

 

 

Treats

I give my daughter a small treat in her lunch each day, and Trader Joe’s has plenty of small-sized options. Our rule is if she doesn’t eat her whole lunch one day, she loses her treat the next day. I don’t know if that’s right or wrong, but so far, it’s worked to get her to eat her healthy lunch most days (and she hasn’t yet figured out she can throw away her healthy food without me knowing – I hope she never does).

  • Cinnamon Schoolbook Cookies
  • Gluten-Free Joe Joe’s Cookies
  • Organic Mini-Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

 

Click the image below to download our free printable Trader Joe’s grocery list to use on your next shopping trip!

 

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