30 Healthy Lunch Ideas For Teens

  • Evidence based
  • Fact checked
teenagers having healthy lunch together

Hot Lunch Ideas | Cold Lunch Ideas | Lunch Essentials | How To Pack

As a teenager or a teen’s parent, you are probably always looking for healthy meal options for your child. Most likely, you are also looking for something quick and easy to cook and eat. With a bit of planning, you can ensure you or your teen is getting the nutrients the body needs to grow and thrive.

Here are 30 healthy lunch ideas for teens that are quick, easy, and nutritious:

15 healthy and hot lunch ideas for teens

We have put together some healthy school lunch ideas for you to try. If your teen prefers warm meals, here are some hot lunch ideas:

1. Pizza bagel

A pizza bagel is a classic hot lunch for a reason: it’s easy to make, and kids love it.


  • 1-2 sliced bagel/baguette
  • ½ cup pizza sauce
  • ½ cup grated cheese

Toppings: ham, green peppers, sundried tomatoes, boiled sweet corn kernels, or mushrooms 


  1. Slice the bagel in half and toast it lightly.
  2. Spread on pizza sauce, and then top with grated cheese, sundried tomatoes, and your desired combination of toppings.
  3. Put the bagel halves under the grill for a minute or two until the cheese is bubbly and golden.

2. California turkey club wrap

A California turkey club wrap is a healthier, hot lunch alternative to the classic deli sandwich.


  • 1 low-carb whole wheat tortilla/gluten-free
  • 2-3 lettuce leaves
  • 2-3 slices of turkey ham
  • 4-5 strips of bacon
  • ½ cupshredded/sliced cheddar
  • 3-5 sliced tomatoes
  • 3-5 slices of avocado
  • 2 tbs mustard
  • 2 tbs mayonnaise


  1. Heat the tortilla lightly in a pan or microwave.
  2. Place the tortilla on a flat surface and layer on the lettuce, turkey ham, bacon, cheese, tomatoes, avocado, mustard, and mayonnaise.
  3. Roll up the wrap tightly, then slice it in half or thirds.

3. Pepperoni rolls

These pepperoni rolls are easy to make and can be a hot or cold lunch, depending on how you prefer. They’re perfect for teens who love pepperoni pizza but don’t want the mess of a slice.


  • 5-6 frozen dinner roll dough balls
  • a beaten egg 
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 3-5 slices of deli pepperoni
  • 3-5 slices of mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tsp Oregano
  • 2-3 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tsp chopped parsley for garnish


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and set it aside.
  3. Mix half of the beaten egg, grated parmesan cheese, oregano, and olive oil in a bowl. Set this mixture aside.
  4. Roll out each dinner dough ball until it’s about ½-inch thick.
  5. Top each flattened dough ball with the cheese mixture set aside, pepperoni slices, and a small amount of mozzarella cheese.
  6. Roll up the dough, then place it seam-side down on the prepared baking tray.
  7. Brush each roll with the remaining beaten egg, olive oil and sprinkle on some more parmesan cheese.
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the rolls are golden brown.

4. Chicken avocado roll-ups

These chicken avocado roll-ups are a healthy and delicious hot lunch option for teens. They’re easy to make and can be made ahead of time, so they’re perfect for busy mornings. All you need to do is heat it before packing your teen’s lunch.


  • 1 cup of boiled shredded tender chicken
  • 2 tortillas 
  • ½ cup mashed avocado
  • ¼ cup chopped red onion
  • ¼ cup chopped bell pepper
  • 2 tbs minced green onion
  • 2 tbs cream cheese
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • ½ cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (to taste)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Mix the boiled shredded chicken, avocado, red onion, bell pepper, green onion, cheese, parsley, yogurt, lime juice, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a bowl.
  3. Lay out each tortilla and spread the mixture.
  4. Roll up each tortilla tightly and place them seam-side down on a baking dish.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the tortillas are crispy.

5. Classic egg salad sandwich

This is a classic egg salad sandwich that has been given a hot lunch twist. It’s perfect for teens who love egg salad but don’t want it to be cold.


  • 2-3 hard-boiled eggs/scrambled eggs
  • 4 sandwich bread
  • 2-4 tbs mayonnaise/greek yogurt
  • 2 tbs yellow mustard
  • 2-3 lettuce leaves 
  • 1 tomato
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (to taste)


  1. Peel and mash the hard-boiled eggs in a bowl.
  2. Add the mayonnaise/greek yogurt, yellow mustard, salt, and pepper to the mashed eggs.
  3. Toast the bread lightly and place the lettuce and sliced tomatoes on it.
  4. Spread the egg salad mixture over the tomatoes.
  5. You can either enjoy this sandwich cold or heat it lightly in the pan.

6. Grilled ham and cheese sandwich

Grilled cheese sandwiches have always been an all-time favorite. Grilled ham and cheese sandwiches are quick to put together, and teens can easily prepare them for their own lunch.


  • 4 thick slices of artisan crusty bread
  • 5-6 slices of shaved black forest deli ham
  • ½ cup sharp/old brick style cheddar
  • 2 tbs butter


  1. Butter one side of each slice of bread.
  2. Place the ham and cheese on the unbuttered side of the bread. Put another slice of buttered bread on top.
  3. Preheat a skillet over medium heat and place the sandwich over it.
  4. Grill for 2 to 3 minutes per side or until the cheese is melted and the bread is golden brown.

7. Spaghetti and meatballs

Spaghetti and meatballs are a great filling hot lunch option for teens. It has a good balance of healthy carbs and protein.


  • ½  pack cooked spaghetti noodles
  • ¼ cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf, minced
  • A few whole basil leaves
  • 2 cups white bread pieces
  • a cup of cold water
  • 1 cup lean ground beef
  • 2-3 sweet ground Italian sausages
  • ½ cup grated parmesan
  • a large egg
  • 1- 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 4-5 tbs olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the pieces of bread, cold water, ground beef, sausage, parmesan, egg, flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper.
  3. Mix everything well and roll them into small meatballs.
  4. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  5. Add the chopped onion and garlic, and cook until softened.
  6. Stir in the crushed tomatoes, bay leaves, and basil.
  7. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes.
  8. Add the meatballs to the sauce and gently stir to coat.
  9. Cover the pan with a lid and let simmer for 20 minutes.
  10. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti noodles according to the package instructions.
  11. Once the noodles are cooked, drain them and add them to the saucepan with the meatballs and sauce.
  12. Toss everything together, garnish with the basil leaves and serve.

8. Chicken caesar wraps

Chicken caesar salad has always worked well as a healthy chicken salad for any age group. Wrapping it in a tortilla makes it more filling and compact, which is perfect for a teen’s lunch box.


  • 1-2 flour tortillas
  • ½ cup chopped romaine lettuce
  • 1 cup boiled shredded chicken
  •  ½ cup cooked and crumbled bacon
  •  2-3 tbs Caesar dressing
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup croutons


  1. Place the chopped romaine lettuce, boiled shredded chicken, cooked and crumbled bacon, Caesar dressing, parmesan cheese, and croutons in a bowl and mix them all together.
  2. Warm up the tortilla and lay it out on a flat surface.
  3. Place the mixture in the center.
  4. Roll up each tortilla tightly and serve.

9. Deli-style roast beef sandwich

Deli-style roast beef sandwiches offer a unique yet comforting taste. They are quick to make and, when served warm, make a great soul-soothing meal.


  • 2-4 multigrain bread/seeded bread
  • ¼ cup red onion 
  • 2-3 tbs olive oil 
  • 1-2 tsp balsamic vinegar 
  • 2 tbs mayonnaise 
  • 1 tsp horseradish
  • 1 cup sliced deli roast beef
  • ¼ cup Gorgonzola or blue cheese crumbles 
  • 2-3 kale leaves 
  • Salt (to taste)

You may also add some pickles for some added flavor.


  1. Thinly slice the red onion and saute them in olive oil.
  2. Drizzle salt and balsamic vinegar on it, and set aside.
  3. Mix mayonnaise, horseradish, and salt in another small bowl. Set this aside as well.
  4. To assemble the sandwich, start by spreading the horseradish mayonnaise on one bread slice.
  5. Top with roast beef, Gorgonzola or blue cheese crumbles, and thinly sliced kale.
  6. Finish it off by topping it with the other slice of bread and lightly toast the sandwich on the pan.

10. Greek grilled chicken pitas

This is a healthy and delicious way to have chicken for lunch. The greek yogurt gives the chicken a nice tang, while the grilled veggies add some freshness and crunch.


  • 1 cup boneless skinless chicken
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinaigrette
  • 2-4 tbs  plain greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup chopped cucumber
  • ¼ cup chopped red onion
  • 2 tsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 2-4 pita pockets
  • ¼ cup sliced cucumber
  • ¼ cup of grape tomatoes
  • ¼ cup of crumbled feta cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Pound the chicken to an even ½-inch thickness and marinate with balsamic vinaigrette, salt, and pepper.
  2. Let it marinate for at least 30 minutes, up to 12 hours
  3. Whisk together plain greek yogurt, chopped cucumber, chopped red onion, lime juice, and minced garlic in a large bowl.
  4. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat and oil the grates.
  5. Place the chicken on the grill and allow it to cook for 5-7 minutes per side or until fully cooked.
  6. Slice the grilled chicken into thin strips.
  7. Warm the pita pockets on the grill for a few seconds.
  8. Stuff each pita pocket with the yogurt and veggies mixture, grilled chicken strips, and crumbled feta cheese.
  9. Drizzle with extra balsamic vinaigrette, if desired.
  10. Add salt and pepper to taste.

11. Broccoli cheese cups

These are essentially mini quiches that are perfect for a hot lunch. They are packed with protein and veggies, and the cheese makes them extra delicious.


  • ¼ cup of cooked broccoli florets
  • An egg
  • ½ cup of crushed ritz crackers
  • ¼ cup of cheddar cheese
  • Salt to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Line a muffin tin with silicone baking cups.
  3. Mix cooked broccoli florets, egg, crushed ritz crackers, and cheddar cheese in a large bowl.
  4. Season with salt to taste.
  5. Scoop the mixture into the silicone baking cups, filling each cup about ¾ of the way full.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until set and serve.

12. Chicken lo mein

This is a great lunch option for teens. It is packed with protein and has a variety of different colors and textures.


  • ¼ cup cubed chicken 
  • ½ pack of lo mein noodles
  •  2 tbs vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp minced ginger and garlic
  •  ¼ cup carrots
  • ¼ cup celery
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  •  2 tsp oyster sauce
  • 2-3 tsp chinese cooking wine
  • 1 tsp sugar 
  • 2-3 tsp green onion 
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds
  • Salt to taste 


  1. In a large pot, cook the lo mein noodles in boiling water according to package instructions.
  2. Drain and set aside.
  3. Heat vegetable oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat.
  4. Add cubed chicken, and cook until browned and set aside.
  5. In the same pan, add ginger and garlic and cook for a minute.
  6. Add carrot, celery, and onion, and cook for 3-5 minutes or until tender.
  7. Add cooked noodles, chicken, soy sauce, oyster sauce, Chinese cooking wine, and sugar.
  8. Toss to combine.
  9. Add green onion and sesame seeds, and cook for an additional minute.
  10. Salt to taste.
  11. Serve hot.

13. Beef stir fry

If your teen enjoys Asian flavors, beef stir fry makes a great lunch option. It is packed with protein and vegetables that are filling and nutritious.


  • 1 1/2 cup of flank steak/skirt steak/flat iron steak
  • 4 tbp soy sauce
  •  2 tbs cornstarch
  • 2-3 tbs vegetable oil
  • 1 tbp minced ginger and garlic
  • ⅓ cup beef broth
  •  2 tsp brown sugar
  •  ¼ cup of green onions
  • Salt to taste 


  1. Cut the beef into thin strips and marinate with soy sauce, cornstarch, and 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Heat the remaining vegetable oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. Add ginger and garlic, and cook for a minute.
  4. Add the beef strips, and cook until browned.
  5. Add beef broth, brown sugar, and soy sauce.
  6. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook for 3-5 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.
  7. Add green onion, and cook for an additional minute
  8. Salt to taste.
  9. You may serve it over steamed rice.

14. Chicken teriyaki rice bowls

Chicken teriyaki rice bowls are a great way to get all the flavors of take-out without guilt. They are packed with veggies and lean protein, making them a filling and nutritious lunch option for teens.


  • 2-3 cups of cooked rice
  • 2 cups of boneless skinless chicken breast cubes/thick strips
  • ½ cup of broccoli florets
  • 2-3 tbs of vegetable oil
  • 1 tbs  honey
  •  1 tbs soy sauce 
  • 1 tbs vinegar
  • 1 tbs of minced garlic
  • ½ tbs of  ginger powder
  • 2 tbs of cornstarch


  1. Whisk honey, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, ginger powder, and cornstarch in a large bowl.
  2. Add chicken cubes to the bowl and coat with the marinade.
  3. Set aside to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  5. Add chicken cubes, and cook until browned.
  6. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  7. In the same pan, add broccoli florets, and cook for 3-5 minutes or until tender.
  8. Serve the chicken and broccoli over cooked rice.

15. Chicken pad thai

This is a great lunch option for those who love Thai food. The chicken is cooked in a fragrant and flavorful sauce, and the rice noodles make it a filling meal.


  • 1 cup of chicken breast strips
  • 1/2 pack of Thai rice noodles
  • An egg
  • ¼ cup of bean sprouts
  • 2 tbs cilantro
  • 2 tbs of green onions
  • 2 tbs of peanuts
  • 1 lemon
  • 2-3 tbs of  lime juice
  •  1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbs of brown sugar
  •  2-3 tbs of rice vinegar
  •  2 tbs of fish sauce
  • ⅓ cup of carrots
  • ⅓ cup of bell peppers
  • 2-4 tbs of vegetable oil


  1. Soak the Thai rice noodles in warm water for 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet or wok.
  3. Add chicken strips, and cook until browned and set aside.
  4. In the same pan, add garlic and cook for a minute.
  5. Add beaten eggs, and cook until scrambled and set aside.
  6. Add carrots, bell peppers, and soaked noodles in the same pan.
  7. Toss to combine.
  8. Add chicken broth, brown sugar, fish sauce, rice vinegar, and lime juice.
  9. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook for 3-5 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.
  10. Add eggs and chicken back into the pan, and toss to combine.
  11. Top with bean sprouts, cilantro, green onion, and peanuts.
  12. Serve with lemon wedges on the side.

If your teen prefers cold meals, or you prefer to prepare your teen’s lunch a night in advance. Here are some cold lunch ideas for teens that you can try.

15 cold lunch ideas for teens

Here are 15 cold lunch ideas that are easy to prepare and packed with nutritious ingredients that will keep your teenager fueled and focused throughout the day.

1. Pesto tortellini

This pasta salad offers a unique yet flavorful combination of ingredients. The tortellini is a great vessel for the pesto and makes a filling lunch for teens.


  • 1/2 pack of frozen cheese tortellini
  • 2-3 tbs of olive oil
  • 1 cup of fresh baby spinach
  • 1 cup of baby kale leaves
  • 2 tbs of walnuts
  • ½ cup of parmesan cheese
  • Salt to taste 


  1. Cook tortellini according to package instructions.
  2. Blend olive oil, baby spinach, baby kale, walnuts, and parmesan cheese and place them in a large bowl.
  3. Combine cooked tortellini and toss them together.
  4. Add salt to taste.
  5. You may serve it chilled or at room temperature.

2. Sweet potato sushi roll

This is a great vegetarian sushi option for lunch. The sweet potato provides a mild sweetness, while the avocado adds some creaminess making it a tasty teen lunch option.


  • 1 cup of sushi rice
  • ½ cup of thick juliennes of baked sweet potato 
  • 4-5 of nori (seaweed sheets)
  • 6-7 slices of avocado
  • 1 tsp wasabi
  • 2-4 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame seed


  1. Cook sushi rice according to package instructions.
  2. Place a nori sheet on a bamboo sushi mat, and spread cooked sushi rice over it.
  3. Leave about an inch of nori at the end furthest from you.
  4. Arrange sweet potato and avocado strips in the center of the rice.
  5. Roll the sushi using the bamboo mat and press gently to seal.
  6. Slice into 8 pieces using a sharp knife.
  7. Serve with wasabi, soy sauce, and sesame seeds on the side.

3. Honey avocado turkey bacon sandwiches

This is a  cold lunch option for teens looking for some exciting flavor in their sandwiches. The honey’s sweetness, the avocado’s creaminess, and the bacon’s saltiness make for a delicious and well-rounded sandwich.


  • 4 slices of flatbread/regular Italian bread
  • 6-8 slices of turkey
  •  3-4 slices of cooked bacon
  • 3-4 slices of  tomato
  • 3-4 slices of  cucumber
  • 3-4 slices of  avocado
  • 2-3 fresh spinach leaves 
  • 2 tbs of lemon juice
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 3-4 tbs honey
  • 2-4 tbs vegenaise/mayonnaise
  • Salt to taste 


  1. Place two slices of bread on a flat surface.
  2. Mix lemon juice, garlic, honey, and salt in a bowl.
  3. Spread the mixture on one side of each slice of bread.
  4. On 4 slices of bread, layer turkey, bacon, tomato, cucumber, and avocado.
  5. Top with spinach leaves and serve immediately or store in the fridge for later.

4. Fruit salad with honey

Fruit salads work as a great healthy lunch option for teens. It is a summertime favorite that is refreshing and filling at the same time.


  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2-4 tbs honey, lemon juice
  • 2 tbs lemon zest
  • 4-5 tbs of orange juice
  • 1-2 cups of different cut fruits


  1. Mix vanilla essence, honey, lemon juice, and orange juice in a bowl.
  2. Gently toss in different cut fruits of your choice.
  3. Chill the fruit salad for 30 minutes before serving.
  4. Sprinkle lemon zest on top and serve cold.

5. Caprese pasta salad

This great cold pasta salad can easily be reheated for a hot lunch. The combination of the creamy mozzarella, the fresh basil, and the sweet tomatoes makes for a delicious and well-rounded salad.


  • ½ pack of cooked chickpea fusilli pasta
  • ½ cup of cocktail tomatoes
  • 2-3 mozzarella balls
  • 2-4 tbs chopped basil
  • ¾ cup of pesto
  • 2 tbs balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions and cool it down.
  2. Place pasta, tomatoes, mozzarella balls, and chopped basil in a large bowl. 
  3. Mix together pesto, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper.
  4. Pour the mixture over the salad and gently toss everything together.
  5. Chill for 30 minutes before serving.

6. Tuna salad

This is a great tuna salad recipe that can easily be made ahead of time and eaten for lunch. It is packed with protein and healthy fats, which works well for growing teens.


  • 2-3 canned tuna
  • 6-7 tbs of mayonnaise
  • 4-5 tbs celery
  •  ½ cup of red onion
  •  2 tbs of parsley
  • 2-4 tbs of dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a bowl, mix together all the ingredients.
  2. Chill the tuna salad for 30 minutes before serving.
  3. Serve as a salad or on top of a wrap, or on crackers.

7. Chocolate chip banana bars

Chocolate chip banana bars are rich in fiber, potassium, and natural sugars, which makes them a great snack or a light lunch option for teens.


  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3-4 mashed bananas
  • ¾ cup  buttermilk
  • 3-4 tbs vanilla extract
  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  •  kosher salt to taste 
  • ½ cup of mini chocolate chips


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Line a 9×13 inch baking pan with parchment paper and set it aside.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy in a bowl.
  4. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated.
  5. Stir in the mashed bananas, buttermilk, and vanilla extract.
  6. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in another bowl.
  7. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing until just combined.
  8. Stir in the mini chocolate chips.
  9. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  10. Let the bars cool completely before cutting into them.

8. Yogurt and granola parfait

This is a quick and easy snack or light lunch that can be made ahead of time. The yogurt and granola are great sources of protein and carbs, while the fruit adds some natural sugars and nutrients.


  • 2 cups of plain yogurt
  • 2 cups of granola
  • 4-5 tbs of honey
  • 2 cups of cut fruit


  1. Layer the yogurt and granola in a glass or bowl, and top it with cut fruit and honey.
  2. You can make this parfait ahead of time and store it in the fridge for up to 2 days.

9. Pretzel bites

Pretzel bites are a great snack or lunch option for teens. They are easy to make and can be stored in the fridge for up to a week.


  • 4 cups of water
  •  ¼ cup baking soda
  • kosher salt to taste
  • ½ pack of refrigerated pizza dough


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside.
  3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the kosher salt and baking soda.
  4. Cut the dough into 1-inch pieces and add them to the boiling water.
  5. Boil the dough for 30 seconds and then remove it with a slotted spoon.
  6. Place the dough bites on the prepared baking sheet and bake them for 12-15 minutes or until they are golden brown.
  7. When cold, serve with a dipping sauce, such as mustard or ketchup.

10. Acai bowl

Acai bowls are a great way to incorporate fruit into your teen’s diet. They are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants essential for growing teens.


  • 2 cups of frozen acai berries
  • 1-2 of frozen bananas
  •  1 cup of frozen blueberries
  • ½ cup  of frozen strawberries
  • ¾ cup of almond milk/apple or grape juice
  •  1 cup of plain yogurt
  • ½ cup of granola
  •  2 tbs of nuts
  • 2 tbs of  seeds
  • ½ cup of sliced fresh fruit


  1. Blend the acai berries, bananas, blueberries, strawberries, almond milk/juice, and yogurt in a blender until smooth.
  2. Pour the mixture into a bowl and top it with granola, nuts, seeds, and fresh fruit.
  3. You can make this and store it in the fridge for up to 2 days.

11. Avocado toast

Avocado toast is a great way to incorporate healthy fats into your teen’s diet. It is also a versatile food that can adapt to different flavors and is usually preferred by teens.


  • 2 slices of whole wheat bread
  •  2 cup of mashed avocado
  • Salt and pepper to taste 
  • ⅓ cup of red onion and bell peppers (optional)


  1. Toast the bread and then spread a thin layer of avocado on top.
  2. Season it with salt and pepper, and then add toppings like red onion and bell peppers, if desired.

12. Cucumber subs

Cucumber subs are not only easy to prepare, but they are also visually appealing. They are a good source of fiber that can help with digestion for your teen. They are perfect for summer and make a great light meal.


  • 2-3 cucumbers
  • 3-4 tbs of mayonnaise
  • 3-4 Roma tomatoes
  • 2-3  lettuce leaves
  • ½ cup of chopped turkey slices
  • ½ cup of  provolone cheese


  1. Cut the cucumbers in half, lengthwise, and then scoop out the seeds with a spoon.
  2. Mix the mayonnaise, tomatoes, lettuce, chopped turkey slices, and cheese in a bowl.
  3. Fill the cucumber halves with the mixture and then serve immediately.

13. Greek pasta salad

Greek pasta salad is a refreshing way to incorporate vegetables and healthy fats into your teen’s diet. It is also a good source of fiber and vitamins essential for growing teens.


  • ½ pack of rotini pasta
  • ¼ cup of olives
  • ¼ cup  red onion
  • 1 cup  feta cheese
  • ¼ cup  grape tomatoes
  • ¼ cup cucumber
  • 4-5 tbs olive oil
  • ¼ cup  bell peppers
  • 2-3 tbs of vinegar
  • 2-3 tbs of  lemon juice
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  •  1 tsp of herbs.


  1. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions and let it cool after being cooked.
  2. Mix the large bowl of the olives, red onion, feta cheese, grape tomatoes, cucumber, olive oil, bell peppers, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, and herbs.
  3. Add the pasta and toss everything together.
  4. Serve immediately or store in the fridge for up to 2 days.

14. Italian sub sandwich

This is an easy yet very tasty lunch option for teens. It’s also a great way to sneak some veggies into their diet and make their meal even more nutritious.


  • 1 ciabatta bread
  • 3-4 slices of ham, salami
  • 3-4 slices of provolone cheese
  • 5-6 slices of roasted tomatoes
  • 5-6 slices of artisan lettuce
  • 3-4 tbs of  pesto sauce
  • 2 tbs of extra virgin olive oil


  1. Slice the ciabatta bread in half lengthwise and then spread a thin layer of pesto sauce on each side.
  2. Layer the ham, salami, cheese, roasted tomatoes, and artisan lettuce on one half of the bread.
  3. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, then close the sandwich with the other half of the bread.

15. BLT egg salad

This is a delicious and creative twist on the classic BLT sandwich. It’s perfect for teens looking for something simple but different in their lunch boxes.


  • 2-4 whole grain bread toast/whole grain crackers
  • 1-2 chopped hard-boiled egg whites
  • ½ cup of non-fat plain greek yogurt
  •  ½ cup of shredded cheddar cheese
  • ¼ cup fo crumbled bacon
  •  ¼ cup of chopped green onion
  • 2-3 leaves of baby spinach
  • 3-4 tbs of dijon mustard
  • 3-4 tbs of vinegar
  • Salt and black pepper to taste 


  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg whites, greek yogurt, cheddar cheese, bacon, green onion, baby spinach, Dijon mustard, vinegar, salt, and black pepper.
  2. You may serve the mixture on top of whole-grain toast or have it as a salad.

Not to miss essentials in lunch for teens

Given below are certain aspects to consider to make it complete your teen’s lunch nutritious and filling-


Teenagers grow incredibly fast. Hence, they need enough protein to build muscle, repair tissue, and produce enzymes and hormones. Failing to consume enough protein during puberty may lead to stunted physical growth [1]The Womens: Food and nutrition for adolescents. Good protein sources include lean meats (chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, and legumes). 


Fiber is an important nutrient for teens because it helps regulate their digestion. It also keeps them feeling full throughout the day, making them less likely to snack on unhealthy junk food. Foods high in fiber include fruits and vegetables (especially ones with skins), whole grains (oats, quinoa, brown rice), beans and legumes (lentils, black beans), and nuts and seeds (chia seeds, flaxseeds). 

Healthy Fats 

Healthy fats [2]National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: Take Charge of Your Health: A Guide for Teenagers are essential for teens because they help support brain health and hormone production. Good sources of healthy fats include avocados, olive oil, nuts and seeds (flaxseeds, chia seeds), nut butter (peanut butter, almond butter), fish (salmon), and coconut oil. 

Nutrient-dense starch

Starchy foods (also known as complex carbohydrates) are an important part of a teen’s diet because they provide energy and essential vitamins and minerals [3]nidirect government services: Starchy foods. Good sources of starch include sweet potatoes, winter squash, peas, corn, and legumes (chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans).

 Moreover, adding some pasta or bread once in a while is fine. However, ensure you make it nutrient-rich by adding some protein and fiber.


Teens need to stay hydrated throughout the day. The best way to do this is by drinking plenty of water. Teens should aim to drink 8-10 glasses [4]health direct: Hydration tips for children of water per day. 

Lunch formula:

  1. Pick one protein + one starch + one fruit or vegetable.
  2. Add a healthy fat or dressing.
  3. Include a source of calcium (dairy or non-dairy)
  4. A bottle of water.

How to pack lunch for teens to keep it hot?

Now that you know what nutrients your teen needs in their lunchbox, it’s time to start packing! Here are a few tips to keep their food hot until lunchtime: 

  1.  Pack their lunch in an insulated thermos or container. This will help keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. 
  2.  Preheat their thermos by filling it with boiling water before adding their food. Let the thermos sit for 10 minutes before adding the food; this will help keep their food hot for longer.
  3. Fill up their thermos to the top so there’s less air inside; this will help keep heat from escaping.
  4. Pack soups or stews in single-serving sizes so they can be warmed up quickly in the microwave; be sure to remove any metal lids or containers before microwaving.
  5. Pack sandwiches with moist ingredients (like tomatoes or cucumbers) on the side to prevent sogginess so they can be added before eating. You may also add a paper towel at the bottom of the thermos to absorb the moisture from the sandwich.


Preparing teen lunches can be a challenging task. However, by taking inspiration from the recipes mentioned above, you can offer your teen a delicious lunch while making healthy food choices.

Pack the lunch as per the tips mentioned above to be sure it stays hot until lunchtime. And most importantly, involve your teen in the entire process so they can learn how to make healthy choices for themselves.


1 The Womens: Food and nutrition for adolescents
2 National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: Take Charge of Your Health: A Guide for Teenagers
3 nidirect government services: Starchy foods
4 health direct: Hydration tips for children

Similar Posts