Easy Healthy Lunch Ideas For School Teenage


Today, we’re going to take a look at Easy Healthy Lunch Ideas For School Teenage. We’ll start by talking about three recipes that are easy to make and healthy at the same time.


Perhaps, you’re probably already thinking “what do I do if they think packing a lunchbox is dorky?”, “what if they want to pack it themselves?”, “how much should I pack?“, and of course, “what do I pack so they are not starving when they get home after school?“.

No worries, you aren’t the first to come across these questions or situations. So let’s start with these tips which I’ve pulled together in a video for you. Then, you can read on, for more!


When it comes to packing lunches for teens, it’s not as easy as it used to be. They no longer want to pack their food in the best kid’s lunch container. 

While packed lunches usually include more of a healthy variety some kids find that carrying a lunchbox just isn’t… cool. In this case, it’s important to find a durable container, that will pack enough food, and will easily fit into a gym bag or school bag.

Here are a few more “grown-up” options for teens and tweens:

  • Swap the character thermos for this Minimal Food Jar
  • Turn in the cutesy lunchboxes for the Packit Cooler Lunch Box
  • Say goodbye to boring tupperware and try these sophisticated glass containers

More “grownup” recommendations for lunch gear here.


If your teen wants to pack their own lunch – LET THEM! You’ve been waiting for this moment for years, and now the time has come, embrace it.

Of course, you will want to make sure the fridge and pantry are stocked with healthy options like fresh fruit, veggies, hummus, whole grain crackers, sandwich/wrap ingredients. Otherwise, left to their own devices teens will pack chips, cookies, and 5 packs of string cheese.

If you’re looking for ways to help your teen establish healthy eating patterns that will last a lifetime, check out my Family KickStart Program. Many parents are using it to make healthier breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks that teens, parents, and younger kids can enjoy together.

And, using the program you’ll know that the lunches the teens are packing themselves are filled with nutritious ingredients and something you’ll be glad they’re eating at school.


Finding foods that won’t leave your teen feeling like they’re “starving” by the end of the day is a major concern for parents. However, it’s as simple as providing a balanced lunch, with healthy fats like cheese, hummus, nuts, and peanut butter (or no-nut butter). Including proteins like deli turkey/ham, hard-boiled eggs, tuna fish; and the right kind of carbohydrates; whole-grain bread, wraps, crackers, rice, and fruit.

If your teen stays late at school, it’s best to pack an additional healthy snack or two, too.


Remember when your teen was little and you packed cute lunches for them? After school, you’d open the lunchbox and see that some things were left, but the treat was always devoured.

When they’re teenagers, they’ll still want to eat a treat; and while it’s convenient to pack a packaged item, it’s best to keep dessert full of nutrition with fruit, nuts, energy bites, or maybe a homemade parfait.


If you just don’t know what to pack because a single ham sandwich doesn’t cut it, check out the recipes below. There’s a reason that these are some of the most popular recipes on this site! You can also use my book, 101 Packed Lunches to find even more lunchbox inspiration.



With a bit of imagination, the options for school lunches are endless! Switch things up by making your child some chicken avocado roll-ups, a cheese and black bean quesadilla, or even dragon roll sushi! If your kids want a hot lunch, you can rely on crowd favorites like spaghetti and meatballs, fried rice, and microwavable mac n’ cheese. For kids with a less adventurous palette, you can never go wrong with peanut butter (or peanut butter alternative) and jelly sandwich or some good old-fashioned lunch wraps. 


If you’re looking to branch out from sandwiches, there are plenty of options available. Get creative in the kitchen and try your hand at making a BLT pasta salad, pita bread with hummus, pretzel bun hot dogs, or a healthy chicken salad. 


Everyone wants to send our kids out the door with a hearty lunch on cold and rainy school days. But what if your kids come home complaining that their lunch wasn’t warm when they were ready to eat it? Here’s a simple solution: first, be sure to pick out the right size thermos to hold your child’s food. Then, simply preheat your thermos with boiling water for a few minutes, discard the hot water, and quickly add your child’s meal to the preheated thermos. This will ensure that their food will stay hot until lunchtime! 


Chicken Avocado Roll-ups


These roll-ups are perfect for bite-sized fun! Creamy and delicious, they’re made with grilled or rotisserie chicken, avocado, and cheese, with plenty of room for some optional veggies (like red peppers)! Quick and healthy, this lunch idea is ready in just 20 minutes! 


Easily one of the more popular Japanese sushi dishes, dragon rolls are loaded with shrimp tempura and cucumber, and topped with avocado. Your kids will love its colorful appearance and delicious taste!  


The perfect alternative to packing a sandwich, pita bread and hummus is a quick and easy bite-sized treat. Just grab some large, whole wheat pitas, cut them into small triangles, and pair them with your child’s favorite hummus. You can even make the hummus yourself!  


Here’s a recipe to try if you want to give your kids a healthy protein boost. Loaded with eggs, mayo, mustard, salt, and pepper, this is definitely a filling and delicious sandwich. If you want to keep things on the lighter side, swap in some Greek yogurt for the mayonnaise.


Sure to please any child’s palate, these healthy quesadillas are easy to make, versatile, and packed with nutrition!  


These sandwiches are juicy and flavorful. Made with a pork shoulder smothered in a sweet barbecue sauce, you can shred it into small pieces and serve it on a bun with some crunchy coleslaw to complete the meal. 


The Roast Beef Sandwich is a classic American sandwich made popular by diners and chain restaurants such as Arby’s. This homemade sandwich is so delicious and fairly simple, made with slices of meaty roast beef, veggies, sauces and melted cheese. You can customize it with all your favorite toppings and can be eaten hot or cold.


If your child loves Arby’s and hot lunches, a roast beef sandwich is the perfect option for a meal they’ll love. Easy to make, customizable, and delicious, this recipe calls for roast beef, a tasty sauce, veggies, and melted cheese. 


Need a lunch that you can make in just 15 minutes? This healthy chicken salad is great for a meal at home or on the go. Flavorful rotisserie chicken and lettuce are wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla for a satisfying sandwich that tastes amazing and keeps you full all day!


Tuna salad is a classic, versatile sandwich that can be served on a sandwich, in a tortilla, or on a lettuce wrap. Light and fresh, this is a comfort food that comes together with a few ingredients! 


Quick, healthy, and incredibly delicious this turkey hummus wrap is easy to make and only requires a handful of  ingredients.   


Here’s a lunch option that tastes so good, your kids will forget that it’s healthy. This fruit and yogurt parfait is loaded with your choice of yogurt and your kid’s favorite fruit! The best part? It’s packed with good-for-you calcium, protein, potassium and probiotics.


Sweet Potato Sushi Rolls are filled with baked sweet potatoes and creamy avocado, then rolled in nori seaweed sheet! It’s a kid-friendly vegan recipe that’s easy to make at home. I’ll share with you my secret to making the best sweet potato sushi rolls, with step by step photos! #SweetPotatoSushiRoll #SweetPotatoRoll #VegetableRoll


These delicious sushi rolls are filled with roasted sweet potatoes and creamy avocado, making this a lunch your kids will love! This tasty vegan recipe is kid-friendly and easy to make! 


Made with a delicious filling, surrounded by sushi rice, and then shaped into a ball, Onigiri is easier to make than you may think! You can customize the fillings to your kids’ taste or keep it traditional with salmon, pickled plums, or salted cod roe. 


Whether your child is a picky eater or just wants to make their own lunch, this is a classic that they’ll never turn down. Plus, you’ll even get some tips on how to make this recipe better if you’re feeling creative. You can also use a peanut-free alternative if peanut allergies are a concern at your child’s school.


Perfect for kids and adults alike, lunch wraps are a great choice for school lunches or meal prep. Combining grilled chicken and ranch is a match that can’t be beat – especially when trying to please picky eaters.


Grilled cheese sandwiches are a lunch option that can be enjoyed hot or cold. All you need is cheese, bread and butter! If your kid likes a larger sandwich, add in some bacon, more cheese, or even chicken strips.


BLT Pasta Salad


Ditch the bread and make a BLT pasta salad instead of a sandwich! This simple recipe is ready to eat in just 15 minutes. Your kids will love its colors and refreshing flavor! 


This recipe takes a classic ham and cheese sandwich and kicks it up a notch! Toasted buttered bread, smoky salty ham, and melted cheese are the stars of this quick and delicious meal. Pair it with a warm cup of soup for a filling and comforting lunch! 


Here’s one that your kids can help out with! Pretzel hot dogs are fun to make and even more enjoyable to eat! They’re simple, delicious and the perfect combination of a hot dog and a soft pretzel. 


Do you love tacos but hate the mess? Now you can serve it in a bowl instead! Made with ground turkey, corn, beans, rice, and lettuce, this lunch option is easy to make ahead of time. You can even substitute the turkey filling for shrimp, chicken, or eggs! 

Healthy Lunch Ideas For Teens That’ll Replace Their Boring Turkey Sandwich Routine

4 Must-Haves for a Healthy Lunch for Teens

Let’s be real: Your idea of a healthy lunch may not always look like your teen’s. And that’s okay. There’s room for occasional drive-thru burgers or scarfed-down tacos at lunchtime.

But what they eat at meals matters. Diet quality is lowest among those ages 14-18, according to the most recent Dietary Guidelines For Americans. That means teenagers are at risk for not getting the nutrients they need.

But before we can get to the best healthy lunch ideas for teens, we need to sync up on realistic expectations for what “healthy” means for your teenager’s lunch options.

When you or your teen are trying to pull together a healthy lunch, make sure to follow these four guidelines:

  1. Include foods that leave them full and satisfied: When you include protein and fat, that will help your teen’s lunch have staying power. Because the last thing you want is for your teenager to get home from school ravenous and snacking right before dinner. Healthy proteins include eggs, beans, chicken or turkey, edamame, tuna, quinoa, and more. For healthy fats, look to nuts, nut butter or SunButter, avocado, cheese, yogurt, and so on.
  2. Go for 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. Try to incorporate something from each of the five food groups if possible: fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins, and dairy. (For more on this, check out How to Feed Your Hungry Teen.)
  3. Add fruits and vegetables: They’ve got fiber plus 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. Most teens love fruit because it’s sweet, so that isn’t typically a hard sell. But here are the most teen-friendly veggies: baby carrots, steamed broccoli, sliced cucumber, edamame, and sweet bell peppers.
  4. Aim for portions that are right-sized: Every kid is different. Every day is different. Trust your kid to eat the amount they need. Avoid restricting or limiting their food – and also pushing them to eat more. When you try to control how much your child eats, that can contribute to unhealthy feelings around food that could lead to disordered eating down the road.
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30+ Healthy Lunch Ideas For Teens That You Can Feel Good About

Ready for tried-and-true healthy lunch ideas that your teen will actually enjoy? These are all lunches that have gotten the seal of approval from my own two teens or teens in the Real Mom Nutrition community.

Hot Lunch Ideas For Teens

If your teen is at home or somewhere with access to a toaster oven, microwave, or oven, these are the best healthy lunch ideas for teens.

Pizza Bagel: Lunch Ideas for Teens

1. Pizza Bagel or French Bread Pizza

Top a sliced bagel or sliced baguette with pizza sauce, cheese, and your teen’s favorite toppings, then heat under the broiler or in the toaster oven. To add a serving of fruit and veggies, keep pizza toppings like mushrooms, green peppers, or sun-dried tomatoes on hand for your teen’s lunches.

  • School-friendly? No

2. Frozen Pasta

Boil and serve frozen tortellini or ravioli with jarred red sauce or with olive oil and parmesan cheese.

  • School-friendly? Yes, packed in a thermos
Dinner Leftovers: Lunch Ideas for Teens

3. Dinner Leftovers

Put leftovers in single-portion glass containers your teen can reheat in the microwave for lunch.

  • School-friendly? Yes, if a microwave is available

4. Nachos

Top corn tortilla chips with beans and cheese, then melt in the microwave. For extra fruit and veggies, top with salsa, tomatoes, or avocado.

  • School-friendly? No
Scrambled Egg Muffins: Lunch Ideas for Teens
Scrambled Egg Muffins

5. Scrambled Egg Muffins

Make these Scrambled Egg Muffins with your favorite protein and veggie, then store the leftovers in the fridge to use the rest of the week.

  • School-friendly? Yes

6. Mac-and-Cheese

No shame in a box of mac-and-cheese once in a while. To make it a healthier lunch for teens, add a side salad or some frozen mixed veggies.

  • School-friendly? Yes, packed in a thermos
Pesto Pasta: Lunch Ideas for Teens
Spinach-Kale Pesto

7. Pesto Pasta

This Lunchbox Pesto Tortellini is made with kale, walnuts, and spinach. Bonus: You can make this ahead of time and refrigerate or freeze for later. Add cherry tomatoes for extra nutrients.

  • School-friendly? Yes, packed in a thermos

8. Soup or Chili

Whether you use store-bought cans or make a homemade soup or chili, look for options with beans or meat for protein plus veggies.

  • School-friendly? Yes, packed in a thermos
Quesadilla with Salad: Lunch Ideas for Teens

9. Quesadillas

Make this healthy lunch for teens with tortillas, cheese, refried beans, roasted vegetables, leftover roast chicken, and so on.

  • School-friendly? Yes, served cold

10. Grilled Cheese

Serve a simple grilled cheese sandwich or add sliced apples, avocado, or red pepper. Consider adding in different kinds of cheeses like feta, goat cheese, or Gruyère. For another dose of fruit and veggies, pair it with a cup of tomato soup.

  • School-friendly? No
Freezer-Friendly Beef Burritos: Lunch Ideas for Teens

11. Burrito

You can look for pre-packaged burritos in the frozen aisle at the grocery store, or you can make these Homemade Beef Burritos ahead of time and freeze them.

  • School-friendly? Yes, if a microwave is available

12. Veggie Burgers or Veggie Dogs

In my family, we like Morningstar. Another good option: Dr. Praeger’s, which is high in protein and made with real vegetables like sweet potato and carrot.

  • School-friendly? Yes, cold or microwaved
Avocado Toast: Lunch Ideas for Teens

13. Avocado Toast

Avocados provide healthy fats, and you can add a fried egg on top for extra protein.

  • School-friendly? No

14. Baked Potato

Top a potato or sweet potato with cheese, chili, or steamed veggies to make it a healthy meal for your teenager.

  • School-friendly? Yes, if a microwave is available
Oatmeal with Raspberries: Lunch Ideas for Teens

15. Oatmeal

It’s not just for breakfast! Add in fruit and nuts for extra nutrients.

  • School-friendly? Yes, packed in a thermos
Tofu Nuggets with Ketchup: Lunch Ideas for Teens

16. Nuggets

Chicken nuggets are a sure thing for lots of teens, but here are a few meatless options they may love too: My Tofu Nuggets are made crispy in the air fryer. My Veggie Nuggets are made on the stovetop. And Broccoli + Cauliflower Bites are baked in a mini muffin tin. Serve all of them with ketchup, honey mustard, or another favorite dip.

  • School-friendly? Yes, cold or microwaved
Egg in a Hole: Lunch Ideas for Teens

17. Egg in a Hole

Make an Egg in a Hole or just whip up a batch of scrambled eggs.

  • School-friendly? No
Easy Meatball Subs: Lunch Ideas for Teens

18. Meatball Subs

Prep a batch of the meatballs–traditional or vegetarian–and have sub or hoagie buns plus cheese on hand. Here’s my easy Meatball Sub recipe.

  • School-friendly? No
Homemade Pepperoni Rolls: Lunch Ideas for Teens

19. Pepperoni Rolls

Those frozen pizza rolls that teens gobble up? These are a homemade version that’s way better. Customize the fillings your kid likes best and serve them warm with pizza sauce for dipping or cold in a lunchbox.

  • School-friendly? Yes, cold or microwaved

Cold Lunch Ideas For Teens

When your teenager needs to pack a healthy lunch to go, here are the best healthy lunches for teens. These lunch ideas are perfect for packed boxes.

Snack Board: Lunch Ideas for Teens

20. Snack Plate

One of the best ways to get your teen eating more fruits and veggies is to pair them with protein on a snack platter. Here are my three favorite kid-friendly snack platter options. Transform a snack plate to a packed lunch with a divided lunch container like Easy Lunch boxes or Lunchbots divided containers.

  • School-friendly? Yes, packed in a divided container.

21. Sandwich or Wrap

Build your own sandwich or wrap with deli meat, veggies, cheese, and condiments. Some combo ideas:

  • Turkey, provolone, and pesto
  • Roasted veggies and hummus
  • Grilled chicken, romaine, and Caesar dressing
  • School-friendly? Yes
Hummus: Lunch Ideas for Teens

22. Hummus + Pita + Vegetables

Make my homemade hummus here, then pair it with pita bread and dipping veggies like carrots and cucumbers.

  • School-friendly? Yes

23. Tuna Salad or Chicken Salad

Your teen can make a sandwich or just eat it straight.

  • School-friendly? Yes
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cereal Smoothie Bowl: Lunch Ideas for Teens

24. Smoothie Bowl

Make this Chocolate Peanut Butter Cereal Smoothie Bowl for a delicious lunch packed with protein and a serving of fruit.

  • School-friendly? Yes, packed in a thermos. Pack toppings separately.

25. PB&J (or SB&J)

The peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich (or SunButter-and-jelly sandwich) is a classic for a reason. Kids and teens love this go-to lunch idea!

  • School-friendly? Yes
Cucumber Sushi Rolls: Lunch Ideas for Teens

26. Sushi

Grab some from the grocery or make your own with this simple recipe. Add a side of edamame for extra protein and staying power.

  • School-friendly? Yes

27. Green Salad

Top a healthy lunch salad with protein-rich items like chickpeas, canned tuna, or a hard-boiled egg.

  • School-friendly? Yes
Ham and Cheese Pinwheels: Lunch Ideas for Teens

28. Pinwheels

If your kid doesn’t like traditional sandwiches, put their favorite fillings on a tortilla, roll up, then cut into slices. Try these Ham & Cheese Pinwheels, which my kids love hot or cold.

  • School-friendly? Yes

29. Pasta or Quinoa Salad

Add veggies to pasta or quinoa for a quick and healthy lunch for teens. Toss with a bit of olive oil and lemon juice, a vinaigrette dressing, or your teen’s favorite bottled dressing.

  • School-friendly? Yes

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