As a mom of two, I start the back-to-school countdown as soon as late August hits. When I was younger, the end of summer used to fill me with dread; late August symbolized the beginning of a new school year and lots and lots of homework. Now, as a mom, back-to-school season means drinking a warm cup of coffee in peace and being able to actually think clearly.
The only complaint I have about the beginning of a new school year is the daily chore of making lunch and packing snacks. You’d think that for someone who works in food, packing lunch would be easy. Wrong. I am no Pinterest mom when it comes to school lunch. On a good day, I manage to throw together something somewhat nutritious just in time to chase the bus down the street.
This year, I decided to clean up my act and get a little more organized about lunch. Here are the 5 new-ish products I’m buying at Costco that are taking my school lunch game to the next level:
1. Uglies Kettle Chips ($15.99 for 30 packs)
Okay, okay, I’m probably not going to win anymom-of-the-year awards by sending potato chips to school as a snack, but they are both of my kids’ very favorite. What I love about this brand is they make all of their chips from imperfect potatoes that would otherwise go to waste. The concept supports farmers, eliminates food waste, and a portion of the proceeds goes towards fighting childhood hunger. Not your average bag of chips! Uglies chips are gluten and nut-free, making them safe for lunch boxes.
2. Kirkland Signature Thin & Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies ($11.59 for 30 packs)
On a recent trip to Costco, my two-year-old sampled these and it’s been true love ever since. These cookies taste suspiciously similar to a certain very famous crispy chocolate chip cookie from the Hamptons. Plus, they are made with simple ingredients that I’m able to pronounce and they are tree nut and peanut-free.
3. This Bar Saves Lives Variety Pack ($7.62 for 20)
We go through an obscene amount of granola and protein bars in my household. I love them for a quick on-the-go breakfast and I often pack one in my oldest’s lunch box as he tends to be extra hungry when his afternoon snack time rolls around.
The company was co-founded by Kristen Bell with the mission to feed hungry children. With each purchase, a portion of the proceeds are donated to their partners who are working to end hunger at No Kid Hungry and Second Mile Haiti. Aside from the good vibes they spread, the bars are delicious. Plus, they are made with quality ingredients that are GMO-free.
4. BentGo Fresh 2-pack Lunch Boxes ($24.99 for 2)
I was lucky enough to grab these lunch boxes on sale a few weeks ago and they make packing lunch so much easier. They are easy to clean, leakproof, and they keep all the different lunch components where they belong. No more raisins getting stuck to the turkey roll-ups—oh the horror! I’ve spent as much as $35 for one of these lunch boxes, so if you see them on special at your local store, be sure to snag one!
5. Ello Reusable Snack Bags ($12.99 for 14-piece set)
Have you ever been mom-shamed for using single-use plastic bags? I have. Let’s just say I try very hard to avoid disposable zip-top bags when I can, but my biggest complaint with reusable ones is they are a pain to clean. These Ello ones are very easy to hand wash, and they have a leakproof seal that is easy to open for little and grown-up hands alike.