Finding a meal that your teen will be excited to eat every day is quite a task. On top of that, finding one that they enjoy and is good for them reaches more into the realm of the impossible. But fear not; we are here for you.
In this article, we’re giving you quick ideas for healthy lunches for your growing teen. Not only are these meals healthy, they are delicious! We are confident you can find enough choices on this list to have a consistent lineup of healthy lunches that they’ll actually want to eat.
A chicken burrito is a great, healthy choice. Burritos are packed with healthy ingredients, and you can make them up however you want. Chicken, rice, beans, and whatever veggies you want to use, a chicken burrito is a great choice, packed with protein and nutrients for your growing teen. Not to mention, it’s delicious!
Fresh pasta or leftovers from the night before. Pasta is a great lunch for a teen. It is filling and nutritious. Try using a sauce that is full of veggies, or even a protein such as chicken breast.
Hummus and Chicken Wrap
A simple hummus and chicken breast wrap is a great choice for a healthy lunch. It’s protein-packed and will keep you teen full all afternoon. Add some lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumber for a truly well-rounded wrap.
Tuna Salad Wraps
Tuna salad is another delicious choice for a healthy lunch. We love tuna salad cause you can fill it with healthy ingredients. Try using a low-fat mayo, and chopping up some celery, cucumber, and chives for the mix. Tuna is a great, lean protein on its own.
A delicious quinoa cold-salad is a great lunch. Try using a simple olive oil and lemon dressing. Chop up a bunch of veggies and throw them right in the salad. Quinoa is a rich food that will keep any hungry teen full.
A chickpea cold-salad is another great choice for any lunch. Chickpeas are rich in protein, vitamins, and fiber. Try using a simple olive oil based dressing, and throwing in tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, and cucumber.
Sushi is a very healthy choice that is super delicious as well! Whether you know how to make your own sushi, or just get some take-out, it’s a great choice for a teen.
If you have a thermos, why not pack some chicken chili for lunch? Chili is loaded with healthy and filling ingredients and loaded with flavor as well! Chicken is a great substitute for beef if you like your protein a bit more lean.
Avocado and Chicken Sandwich
An avocado chicken breast sandwich is an awesome choice for a growing teen. Full of protein and healthy fats to keep them going, avocado and chicken are a classic pairing for a reason! Season the avocado with some salt and pepper, and add some lettuce and tomato if you wish.
Egg Salad Wraps
Egg salad is full of protein and tastes great. Like the tuna salad above, you can sub in low-fat mayo if you want to go the healthy route. Try cutting up some celery and chives for the egg salad, and surround it with lettuce so the bread doesn’t get soggy!
Try making a regular burger with ground turkey. It’s full of lean protein, and you can dress it just like a normal burger. Maybe it’s not your traditional lunch option, but your teen is sure to love it! Try dressing your patty with salt and pepper before cooking.
Pesto and Tomato Pasta
A simple pesto and tomato pasta is a great option. Cook up some penne, and throw some homemade pesto and chopped tomatoes into the mix. Not only is this a healthy and filling option, but it tastes great and keeps quite well. You could have lunches for the whole week with a big batch of this.
Beans are healthy, full of protein, and packed with vitamins and fiber. Try making a salad with mixed beans and a simple olive oil and vinegar dressing. Once again, you can whip up a big batch of this and have it for lunches for days to come.
Chicken on Rice
A simple choice: cook up a chicken breast and serve it on rice. It keeps quite well in a Tupperware container, and you don’t even have to heat it up if you don’t want to. Throw some steamed veggies on top for a complete meal.
A cauliflower pizza is a healthier take on a pizza, as it utilizes cauliflower for the crust. A bit more complicated to make for lunch, but it’s something your teen is sure to love. After all, it tastes like pizza!
A quesadilla is a great choice for lunch. Quesadillas are full of healthy ingredients. We recommend you put it together with all the ingredients and wrap it up, but let your teen throw it in the microwave at lunch to melt the cheese.
Chicken and Vegetables
A basic, classic lunch. Chicken and steamed vegetables are all you need!
Pulled Pork and Rice
Make a bunch of pulled pork in a slow cooker, and you could have lunches for the whole week! Serve it over rice, on a sandwich, or any way you want it. It’s a healthy and delicious protein, and you can serve it with so much variety.
Stew with Turkey
A turkey stew is a delicious choice. Stews are great in general because they are packed with protein and vegetables. And with a stew, you can really put your own twist on it; only add the ingredients you love!
Hard Boiled Eggs, Veggies, and Ham
Finally, some hard-boiled eggs are great for lunch. They are full of protein and taste great. Serve with some veggies and some slices of ham to round everything out.
How to Pack a Lunch for a Teen Athlete
Teenagers tend to have big appetites to begin with, and when your teen is into sports, that appetite gets even bigger!
Special Considerations for Teen Athletes
Like all teens, athletes need a well-balanced diet of nutritional ingredients in order to keep their bodies in top condition. This includes a lot of protein and foods high in carbohydrate, which helps to fuel the body and stimulate muscle development. It also includes healthy foods that are high in vitamins and nutrients, and can aid the body’s recovery and activity processes. Even for the vegetarian teen or vegan athlete, there are still foods that are high in nutrition and protein that can be incorporated into their school lunch box.
Of course, sports burn a lot of energy! This means that athletes get very hungry, which means big portions! Be sure to pack enough food to fuel them throughout their day and throughout their practices and games. A big lunch with healthy ingredients is the best direction to take.
Don’t Forget to Hydrate!
Finally, don’t forget to hydrate! Make sure your teen is drinking enough water. Whether this means packing bottled water in their lunches or simply reminding them of the importance of hydration, be sure that they are eating and drinking enough to support their active lifestyle!
About the Author
Alissa is a resilience coach, cartoonist, and advocate for ‘connection, not perfection’. She’s dedicated to helping others find a sense of safety and belonging inside themselves so they can heal, connect, and build authentic, joyful lives.