There are loads of reasons we make the trek to our local Costco. Great deals, long-lasting bulk quantities, those sugar-coated churro snacks. And don’t even get me started on the samples.

But Costco can also be a great place to save money on back-to-school lunch staples that you’re going to buy — over and over again — anyway. I’ve rounded up a few of our favorite industrial-sized, wholesale steals to make packing lunches just a little more affordable.

Related: Your essential school lunch shopping list.

All-Natural and Organic Snacks

School lunch savings at Costco: Organic and natural snacks including Pirate's Booty | Cool Mom Eats

We get it. You don’t want to serve your kids junk food every day, but you do want to pack them something healthy-ish snacks. If not for lunch, at least for after school. Costco carries a big range of organic and natural snack options that fit the bill, like Pirate’s Booty, a snack that my family (including me!) is addicted to.

You’ll find other yummy options, too, like Annie’s Organic Snacks and Angie’s BOOMCHICKAPOP Organic Popcorn (Liz loves the kettle corn!), all at prices that’ll make choosing organic and natural much more doable.

Individually Wrapped Single-Serving Cheese

School lunch savings at Costco: Individually wrapped cheeses including Mini Babybel | Cool Mom Eats

If your kids insist on individually wrapped cheese rather than slices, Costco has you covered. I compared prices for Mini Babybel (Disclosure: a recent sponsor) and organic string cheese at my Wal-Mart, and Costco won on price for both products.

They’re perfect for Stacie’s cheese plate lunch idea, which you can find on our school lunch pantry essentials list. Also, she uses Mini Babybel for all five of these easy, fun bento box ideas.

Nuts in Bulk

School lunch savings at Costco: Nuts, including their own brand, like these Kirkland Pecans | Cool Mom Eats

Almonds, pistachios, pecans: whatever your kids’ nut of choice, you’ll probably find the best deal at Costco. Like $4/pound deals.

They sell 2-pound bags of their own Kirkland brand, and I’ve never been disappointed with the quality. (I even freeze half of mine so that they stay fresh longer). If you’re trying some creative sandwich workaround lunches or just want some supplemental protein, you’ll want to check out these bargains, stat.

And big tip: it’s the best, most affordable way to save on Marcona Almonds which are so creamy and delicious, even our non-almond fans gobble them up.

Related: What to buy at Whole Foods for less starting now.


School lunch savings at Costco: Hummus, including big deals on big sizes of Sabra Hummus | Cool Mom Eats

Hummus is another go-to school lunch item for lots of us, and Costco features some smoking hot deals on the delicious Sabra brand in family-size quantities.

My local Costco sells a 2-pound container at about 10¢/ounce, which is a good 20¢ less per ounce than anywhere else I’ve seen.

If hummus isn’t your kids’ jam, try making one of these other fun spreadables or DIY sunflower butter to save money. They double as easy, healthy after-school snacks too.

Produce in Bulk


If you have more than one school-age kid, I definitely recommend checking out the Costco-sized fruits and veggies.

True, you won’t find as wide a selection as at your local supermarket, but you can save a bunch on berries, avocados, baby carrots, and other healthy lunch items that make our must-have school lunch pantry list.

If your family doesn’t go through fruit fast enough to keep up with Costco quantities, you can still save money by buying big and using this smart trick to make berries last longer.


Top Image: Alexandru Tugui via Unsplash