Need some healthy lunch ideas for teenagers? Here’s some inspiration for you!
Lunch for any kid can be challenging. But lunch for teenagers, with their growth spurt appetites and busy schedules, may have you considering Chipotle on repeat. I’ve got some inspiration for you, whether your teen is home for the summer or winter break–or you just need ideas for weekends.
Start here: What’s a healthy lunch for teens?
- Satisfying nutrients: Protein and fat will help a lunch have staying power
- Multiple food groups: Some kids (like mine) gravitate to all-starch meals. Nothing wrong with starches like bread and pasta, but a variety of food groups will help your kid get more of the nutrients they need (related: How to Feed Your Hungry Teen)
- Fruits & vegetables: They’ve got fiber and important vitamins and minerals like vitamin A and potassium. Most kids (and adults!) don’t get enough produce. Lunch is a great way to help kids (and adults!) get more.
- Portion that’s right for them: Every kid is different. Every day is different. Trust your kid to eat the amount they need and avoid restricting or limiting their food.
Healthy Lunch Ideas For Teens
Hot Lunch Ideas For Teens
- Old School Pizza Bagel or French Bread Pizza: Top a sliced bagel or sliced baguette with pizza sauce, cheese, and their favorite toppings and heat under the broiler or in the toaster oven
- Frozen pasta (such as tortellini or ravioli): Boil and serve w/ jarred red sauce or olive oil and parmesan cheese
- Reheated dinner leftovers: Put them in single-portion glass containers they can reheat in the microwave
- Boxed macaroni & cheese Add a side salad or some frozen mixed veggies
- Soup or chili (store-bought or homemade)
- Quesadillas: Made with cheese, refried beans, roasted vegetables, leftover roast chicken, etc.
- Grilled cheese
- Veggie burgers or veggie dogs (we like Morningstar)
- Frozen burrito (packaged or homemade)
- Baked potato: Top it with cheese, chili, or steamed veggies
- Oatmeal: Add in fruit and nuts
Cold Lunch Ideas For Teens
- Snack Plate
- Deli meat or veggie sandwich or wrap
- Avocado Toast (add a fried egg on top!)
- Tuna salad or chicken salad sandwich
- PB&J (or SB&J–Sunbutter + Jelly)
- Hummus + pita and vegetables (such as carrots and cucumbers)
- Green Salad: Top with protein-rich item like chickpeas, canned tuna, or hard-boiled egg
- Pasta or Quinoa Salad
- Cold pizza leftovers
- Smoothie Bowl
Healthy Lunch Ideas For Teens: Recipes
Here are recipes you or your teen can make ahead to have all week.
How to encourage more fruits & veggies in your teen’s lunch
- Make a fruit smoothie (or assemble smoothie packets so it’s easy for them to make one quickly)
- Put lettuce and tomato on sandwiches
- Include edamame on a snack plate or as a side
- Have lunch with a side salad or cup of vegetable soup
- Add a side of chips and salsa
- Stock individual fruit cups and unsweetened applesauce they can grab
- Suggest adding sliced apple to a grilled cheese or fresh spinach to scrambled eggs