The Best Lunch Box Staples for Your Pantry, Fridge and Freezer!
Packing lunches is so much easier when you have the right staples on hand. By having a selection of go-to ingredients readily available at home, you can quickly come up with lunch ideas on a busy morning (without having to think too hard about it!).
Not sure what to include on your shopping list? Read on for the best, most versatile lunch box staples for your pantry, fridge and freezer below.
Pantry Lunch Box Staples
The pantry is where you’ll find our easy snacks (like crackers, dried fruit and rice cakes), along with canned goods to bulk up sandwiches and pasta salads. Some form of bread (whether that be wraps or baguettes) is also essential!
Here are the go-to ingredients we suggest keeping in your pantry:
- Tortillas - for easy pinwheel wraps
- Bread - baguettes and crusty breads hold up best in school lunches
- Pasta shells
- Rice cakes - perfect for spreading avocado or nut butter
- Crackers - for hummus and other dips
- Packaged snacks (think pretzels, popcorn, veggie chips, soy crisps and other crunchy snacks)
- Tinned tuna - for pasta salads or salad wraps
- Canned chickpeas and beans - to bulk up salads and wraps
- Dried fruit and nuts - to be enjoyed on their own, or to create a DIY trail mix
Fridge Lunch Box Staples
The fridge is where you’ll find a good selection of protein and dairy to complete our school lunches, along with easy snacks like veggie sticks and dips. Your fridge lunch box staples will need to be replenished more frequently, especially when it comes to fresh fruit and veg. We like to do an “inventory check” before our next grocery shop, to help us use up any leftover produce. Read our tips on how to plan and prep for a week of school lunches here!
Here are some go-to ingredients we suggest keeping in your fridge:
- Deli meat for wraps and sandwiches - think ham, turkey and pepperoni
- Fresh fruit - we love berries, grapes, apples and melon slices
- Fresh veggies - carrot, celery and cucumber make great veggie sticks
- Hummus/homemade dips - to be paired with crackers and veggie sticks
- Hard boiled eggs - for an easy hit of protein
- Cheese - string cheese, cheese cubes and bocconcini balls are easy to pack
- Cream cheese - for sandwiches and wraps
Freezer Lunch Box Staples
The freezer is where you’ll find our dinner leftovers and homemade treats that can easily be defrosted a day in advance. Frozen sauces (like homemade pesto) are also great for creating quick, healthy pasta salads!
- Sweet treats - such as muffins, cookies, slices and bliss balls
- Vegetable quiches and frittatas
- Pre-portioned dinner leftovers
- Homemade pesto sauce - can be frozen in ice cube trays for up to 6 months
Along with keeping your fridge and pantry stocked with go-to ingredients, having a good selection of lunchware is also essential for stress-free school lunches. Opt for durable, insulated and leak-proof lunchware to get the biggest bang for your buck.
Our favourite lunchware staples include:
- Stainless steel bento boxes with removable dividers
- Nesting containers in assorted sizes (large sizes for pasta, salads and leftovers, and small sizes for sauces, dips and condiments)
- Reusable cutlery sets
Healthy Lunch Box Ideas
Looking for lunch box inspiration? Check out 5 of our favourite quick, easy and healthy school lunch box recipes here!