10 Trader Joe's Snacks To Pack In School Lunches This Year

Trader Joe’s has a bunch of stuff to throw in your kid's lunch box, from fruit bars to meat sticks.

A new school year is upon us, which means parents everywhere are scrambling to stock their houses with the best snack foods to toss into their kids' lunch boxes. I recently took to Trader Joe's to see what my favorite destination for quick meals has to offer in the way of school snacks. I found a handful of good options, from cheeses and meats to fruit snacks and desserts.

For this list, I stuck with nut-free snack options, as many schools are nut-free. And although this list isn't exclusively for cute bento boxes, most of what I've included here could easily fit in one, whether you're using it to house a balanced meal or a snack buffet, as I am wont to do. Also, these suggestions aren't just for kids. Some of them make great additions to a grown-up's office lunch, too.

Trader Joe’s Peel Away Fruit Leather Buttons

These organic snacks are both wrapped and sold individually. They're fruit leather, aka the modern parent's way of depriving kids of the plasticky, sickeningly sweet Fruit Roll-Ups enjoyed by '80s and '90s youths. But this product offers a twist on the typical fruit leather: The "buttons" are circles of fruit on a very long piece of paper that, since I am of the Fruit Roll-Up era, I immediately clock as a Fruit By the Foot dupe. Modern-day buzzkill fruit leather mixed with the nostalgia of long, fruit-scented tape? I'm in.

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Trader Joe’s Apple Fruit Bars

These individually wrapped bars are sold individually instead of in a box, which means you can mix and match which flavors you bring home for the week's lunch boxes. Plus, they're both gluten-free and vegan, which is great for the plant-based crowd and allergy classrooms.

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Trader Joe’s Mediterranean Style Hummus Snack Pack

Hummus can indeed be a whole damn meal on its own, and even in this small quantity, it can really boost the efficiency of a packed lunch by providing plant-based protein in the form of a delicious, creamy dip. These single-serve hummus packs, which keep the pita chips tidily separated from the spread until you're ready to eat, are easy to throw in a lunch box. They're a favorite of mine and kids like them, too.

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Trader Joe’s Organic Chocolate Chip Granola Bites

These boxes of vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free granola bites contain individually wrapped pouches of granola balls, perfect for either eating on their own or dumping into a bento box for school lunch. Send these off to school alongside some yogurt, as the two combined would make a great snack.

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Trader Joe’s Organic Mini Cheese Sandwich Crackers

When I was a kid, peanut butter crackers were a common lunch box item. With peanut butter out of the picture at a lot of schools due to allergies, these organic cheese sandwich crackers are a delicious stand-in.

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Trader Joe’s Tiniest Chocolate Chip Cookies

These itty-bitty chocolate chip cookies were among the items featured in the most recent Fearless Flyer from Trader Joe's, described as "uncomplicated, smaller-than-a-dime-sized treats made with butter (no oils!) and the teeny-Tiniest of chocolate chips." They come in an 8-oz. bag and are pretty decent, as store-bought chocolate chip cookies go. They're meant to be consumed in high volume—the serving size is 65 cookies—and are indeed perfect as a dessert-friendly inclusion in the bento box.

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Trader Joe’s Teeny Tiny Cukes Mini Cucumbers

My kids are obsessed with these tiny cucumbers, which, for the record, are smaller than "mini cucumbers." These cukes are more like a cornichon, sans pickling. They fit easily into bento boxes and snack containers alike, and because of their size, I don't even need to cut them into sticks for my older kid, which she seems to find very novel. (You'll find it very convenient.)

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Ile de France Brie Bites

I love these little individual brie wheels, which are in a tiny container of their own and are super easy to throw into a lunch box with some crackers for a great midday snack or lunch component. I often leave mine in its little container for packing, but you could also unwrap it to put it in a lunch container, since it'll still be protected by the rind.

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Trader Joe’s Fresh Mozzarella Cheese Snackers

Like mini brie wheels, these are individually wrapped snack-sized portions of mozzarella; each baggie contains three small fresh mozzarella balls. Sometimes I pack them into my own lunch box in their packaging and unwrap them when I'm ready to eat. Other times, I use them to pack myself a mini Caprese salad by cutting them in half and mixing them with cherry tomatoes, basil, and balsamic.

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Citterio Premium Italian-Style Salame Sticks

These salame sticks could be packed for lunch in their package or broken up among bento boxes or other lunch containers. They're small enough that they can be part of a larger meal, or you could eat them as a snack on their own.

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