back to school

8 Aldi Groceries I’m Buying to Make Back-to-School Time Easier

updated Oct 7, 2022
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Credit: Aldi

Here at Kitchn, we like to celebrate the small things that make every day and every meal a bit more enjoyable. We call these bite-sized extravagances “little luxuries” — items that bring a smile to your face, without a cost that will make you cry. Aldi is my number-one spot for finding nibbles of joy all year round. The store devotes two entire aisles to budget-friendly finds, so I knew there would be additional little luxuries hidden elsewhere around the store.

As we gear up for the back-to-school and back-to-work season, I’m looking for a specific sort of luxury: ease. Here are eight little luxuries that are perfect for after-school snacking and lunch-box surprises, each for $5 or less!

Credit: Patty Catalano

1. PurAqua Italian Sparkling Mineral Water, $4.95 for 6 (1-liter) bottles

Are you still dreaming of that European summer vacation or already planning next year’s trip? A sip of chilled Italian sparkling mineral water before heading to the bus stop will make you feel like you’re sitting at an Italian café.

Credit: Patty Catalano

2. Specially Selected Croissant Buns, $3.99 for 4

Aldi’s bakery cannot be beat. These new-to-me buns are ideal for building bus stop-ready breakfast sandwiches during the week. On the weekends, serve them toasted with a mug of hot coffee or hot chocolate.

Credit: Patty Catalano

3. Artisan Lettuce, $2.69 for 4 heads

I typically alternate between buying basic romaine hearts and salad kits for everyday eating, but these baby heads of artisan lettuce can bring any sad desk lunch back from the brink. The leaves are tender, fresh, and add more flavor to a side salad than you’d expect.

Credit: Patty Catalano

4. Specially Selected Milk or Dark Chocolate Covered Butter Cookies, $2.50 for 4.41 ounces

Are your kids having a hard time deciding between a cookie or chocolate for their lunch-box sweet? There’s no need to choose with these chocolate-covered butter cookies.

Credit: Patty Catalano

5. Southern Grove Almonds, Dried Cranberries, Dark Chocolate Tranquility Trail Mix, $4.99 for 1 pound

Fall is the perfect time to get outside. This grown-up mix — with buttery almonds and walnuts, tart dried cranberries, and bittersweet dark chocolate — will make walks in the woods (or weekend afternoons at the playground) even more enjoyable.

Credit: Patty Catalano

6. Park Street Deli Sweet! Snack Selects, $2.49 for 3 (1.5-ounce) packs

When school is in session, after-school activities are too. That means you need plenty of grab-and-go snacks. These pint-sized packs come in several varieties — some savory and some sweet. Because they come in packs of three, you can buy two for less than $5 and be set for the week!

Credit: Patty Catalano

7. Little Salad Bar Lemon Cavatappi Pasta Salad, $4.29 for 11 ounces

Falling back into meal planning doesn’t mean you have to do it all on your own. Treat yourself to prepared side dishes during the week instead of making them all from scratch. This week, start with this lemony, herby pasta salad.

Credit: Patty Catalano

8. Choceur Peanut Butter Cups, $3.69 for 12 ounces

Peanut butter cups might not be a lunchroom-approved sweet, but they make the perfect after-school treat. Pop a few on a plate with sliced cheese, orange wedges, and a handful of crackers for some fun homework fuel.

What are your favorite little luxuries to buy at Aldi? Share your picks in the comments.