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Everything that you need to stock up in your kitchen to make packing lunch easy.
When you start packing school or work lunches, you’ll realize that having a few go-to ingredients in your kitchen makes packing lunch through the week possible.
This carefully put-together shopping list will ensure that your pantry & refrigerator are stocked with ingredients that’ll help you assemble nutritious meals with ease.
When I pack my kids’ school lunches, I make sure I cover each food group. For detailed information on how to do that, read how to pack a well-balanced lunch.
I usually buy 4-5 different fruits each week. I buy bananas and berries each week, while apples and oranges are on the list every other week.
- Mandarin / Navel oranges
- Strawberries (fresh/frozen)
- Dried figs
We always make sure to add bread to our shopping list. We use it to make sandwiches for breakfast, lunch, and snacks as well.
- Bread / Burger buns (whole wheat)
- Whole wheat flour
- Pita bread
- Rice (Brown, Basmati)
- Whole grain tortillas – great for quesadillas.
I always include protein in my kids’ lunch box, either in the form of meat, pulses, nuts, or dairy products.
- Nut Butter – I usually make these at home. Check out my recipes for peanut butter, almond butter, hazelnut butter, and cashew butter.
Dairy, Milk, and Cheese
- Cheese – grated, sliced, and also in the form of cheese sticks, cubes, etc.
- Yogurt – great for parfaits, raitas, and as a substitute for sour cream.
Legumes (pulses and dals)
- Beans (kidney, black)
- Black eyed peas
If the veggies are not part of the main course, I always pack them as a side. Kids can be picky about veggies – always pack the ones that they like for lunch, but when at home, keep encouraging them to try new ones.
- Bell peppers
- Celery sticks
- Cherry tomatoes
- Corn (fresh/frozen)
- Green beans
- Leafy greens
- Peas (frozen)
- Sugar snap peas
- Stir-fry veggies (frozen)
- Sweet potato
As someone who makes Indian food a lot, I always have these in my kitchen, as they form the base of most Indian curries.
- Ginger & Garlic
- Green chilies
For days when I haven’t planned well or just want a break, I rely on these store-bought foods to make a quick lunch.
- Beyond meat burgers
- Orange chicken
- Salmon burgers
- Kawan parathas for paneer kathi rolls.
- Chicken nuggets
These are some of our go-to snacks. I go over a bigger list in this post – Healthy snacks and sides to pack with school lunch.
- Baked kettle chips
- Pita chips
- Skinny pop
- Coconut water
- Chili-Garlic sauce
- Cream cheese
- Soy sauce
- Salad dressing
- Salt / black salt
- Tamarind chutney
- Avocado, olive, and coconut oil
- Pasta sauce
- Canned Tuna
Spice, Spice mixes, Seasonings
I do have a lot more spices in my pantry, but these are my go-to ones.
- Cumin seeds
- Coriander powder
- Cumin powder
- Garam masala
- Taco seasoning
- Turmeric powder
Quick recipes to make using this pantry list
Printable shopping list
Click on the image to download a copy.
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