7 Big Box Groceries for Back-to-School Shopping

Get seven of the best back-to-school picks from big box stores.  

Admit it: You walk into your local bog box retailer and the next thing you know, you’ve got a cart overflowing with a paycheck’s worth of chips, candy, light bulbs and golf balls! Make the most of your back-to-school shopping by gravitating toward these seven healthy options that are worth the trip to the (big) store.

Shopping Tips

Bigger isn’t always better. Instead of blindly buying the largest pack possible, check unit pricing and consider grocery store prices. Use a grocery store app while shopping to compare prices to make sure you’re actually paying less. Brands also vary from chain to chain, so you may not always be able to purchase your typical family favorites — read ingredient lists to find comparable items.

  1. Milk Boxes

Boxes aren’t just for juice anymore. These shelf-stable milk packs come in single servings and can be stored in the pantry (or even under a dorm room bed). Chill them in the fridge and toss into lunchboxes and gym bags.

Several Granola Bars Isolated on White


Several Granola Bars Isolated on White

Photo by: Andy Dean ©Andy Dean Photography

Andy Dean, Andy Dean Photography

  1. Granola Bars

It’s always good to have a grab-and-go snack for between classes and after school. Look for variety packs of healthy granola bars. Brands like Kashi, Nature Valley, Annie’s and Cascadian Farm can be found in various sizes.

Stock Photo of Greek Yogurt on White


Stock Photo of Greek Yogurt on White

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Matt Armendariz, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

  1. Yogurt

Check the refrigerated section for multipacks of calcium- and vitamin-D-rich yogurt. Single-serve cups and tubes can be frozen ahead and allowed to thaw in lunchboxes or served as frozen after-dinner treats.


Photo by: Renee Comet ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Renee Comet, 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

  1. Nuts

Nuts are a terrific source of protein, fiber and healthy fats, but they can come with a hefty price tag, so bulk may be the way to go. Nuts may be a no-no for little ones due to school rules about allergies, but they're a healthy option for college students and high school athletes. Or just stash nuts at home as a healthy snack.

  1. Frozen Fruit

Large bags of frozen berries and tropical fruits like pineapple and mango can be much more affordable in bulk. Add frozen fruit to smoothies or baked goods, or enjoy it as is for a sweet and icy treat. Because frozen is just a nutritious as fresh, no one misses out in the nutrition department.

Oat topped whole grain bread.

Oat topped whole grain bread.

©2008 Sharon Day

2008 Sharon Day

  1. Breads

Stock up on whole-grain varieties of sliced breads and rolls for breakfast and bagged lunches; store them in the freezer and extend the shelf life for up to six months!

Portrait of a white bread sandwich in a plastic sandwich bag on a blue background (Photo by: Digital Light Source/UIG via Getty Images)


Portrait of a white bread sandwich in a plastic sandwich bag on a blue background (Photo by: Digital Light Source/UIG via Getty Images)

Photo by: Digital Light Source

Digital Light Source

  1. Storage bags

Stock up on different sizes of storage bags. Instead of spending big bucks on prepackaged snack packs of pretzels, crackers and trail mix, make your own. You can also use these bags to divide up large packages of other big box items to help keep them fresh.

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition.

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