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Lunch ideas for teens got you stumped? Healthy lunch meal prep is going to be made much easier when you are creating healthy cold lunch ideas your teens (and you!) will want to eat!
These 20 Unique School Lunch Ideas for Teens will have your teenager happy to eat healthy!
These 20 Unique Lunch Ideas for Teenagers are good for adults too!
Getting teens to try new things is one way to get them to make healthy food choices. It can be hard, especially if your teen is picky.
There is so much more that can be done with lunch aside from sandwiches or lettuce and a few other veggies! I’m sharing with you my top healthy lunches for work that can also double for some delicious lunch ideas for teens!
As we know, the plain old salad can get super boring! If we want to teach our kids to eat healthy, we need to teach them to make healthy food they like!
It was right around my teen years when I started to swap out sandwiches for salads and other lunchtime options. But after eating plain salads for way to long, I was ready to branch out and try new things!
If your teen is ready to start trying lunch ideas that aren’t sandwiches or plain salads, here are 20 Unique Lunch Ideas that are great for teens and adults!
Top Unique Lunch Ideas for Teens and Adults to Take for School or Work
Let’s face it, teens love taking photos of their food right? These healthy lunch ideas will have them actually excited to eat healthy and take a photo of it!
If you have a budding healthy foodie in your house, you can definitely begin to encourage them to try some unconventional lunch ideas!
I’m a huge believer in following whatever nutrition plan your doctor recommends. Especially with teenagers, be sure to discuss nutrition with your doctor before making any dietary changes.
Certain diets (i.e. the Keto diet) are not recommended for teens and children. I’m not a medical professional so please take these ideas as ideas and discuss any dietary changes with your doctor.
One great way to make a parent’s dietary choice doable for the whole family is to use it as a base recipe! For example, mom or dad may have zucchini and steak for lunch. To make this more family-friendly, add in some whole grain rice for teens or kids.
Switching and swapping between the meal ideas here leads to even more meal options. If you or your teenager do not have a specific dietary concern, creativity can lead to some delicious new healthy lunch ideas!
Healthy Lunch Ideas for Teenagers
Pizza, sandwiches and meatballs are huge for kids and teens! These simple lunch ideas are quick to make and will work well on regular rotation for teenagers.
Swapping out cauliflower crust for a whole grain crust or adding in some whole grain crackers to the un-wich are a few great adds for kids in these lunch ideas.
Plant Based Lunch Ideas
Whether participating in meatless Monday or just looking to increase your veggie intake, these plant based lunch ideas will help to pump up the plant power!
Plant based teens will love to create some of these plant based lunch ideas. Some plant based superfoods include protein and calcium which are great for growing teens:
- Leafy Greens
- Non-GMO soy products
- Quinoa, Lentil + Arugula Pesto Bowl
- Big Plant Based Bowl (lose the egg if you’re aren’t doing animal protein)
- Black Bean Burger Bowl
- Banza Pasta + Veggie Bowl
Cheap Keto Lunch Ideas – Parents only here 🙂
No I am not a doctor or a registered dietician. However, in my humble opinion, the Keto diet isn’t for kids or teens. Just my own personal opinion I wanted to throw that out there!
Children’s has a great resource that parents and teens alike should read if you’ve wondered about the Keto Diet and Teens.
That being said – I know a lot of parents are trying out the Keto diet and wondering, what can my family eat? There are many options for making mom or dad’s keto lunch suitable for a growing teen who needs carbohydrates.
Clean keto is a favorite lunch option for me and focuses on eating healthy fats, protein and veggies. I will feed my girls the base of a clean keto meal (lean protein, healthy fat and veggies) and add in a carbohydrate for them.
To make these cheap keto lunch ideas more suitable for teens, add in a healthy carb like a quinoa, whole grain bread or rice, sweet potato, etc! Carbs = energy and growing kids need that.
Paleo Leap has an awesome resource about the Paleo Diet for teens that is definitely worth a read if your teen has been asking about low carb, ketogenic or Paleo diets.
- Buffalo Chicken Meatball Zucchini Boats
- Chipotle Copycat Bowl
- Chaffle Sandwich
- Air Fryer Salmon Bowl
Healthy Lunch Meal Prep
Here are a few tips and tricks for involving your teen in healthy lunch meal prep! Many hands make light work and your teen will (hopefully!) be open in learning to make their own food.
Ideally by learning to prep simple meals, teens will take more independence as they get older in creating healthy food options.
It was in my teenage years that I began to take an interest in learning simple recipes and making some of my own meals. I also worked at a retirement village restaurant where I was able to learn how to make different recipes. Learning how to cook gave me pride in my food and I began to make healthier choices.
Time in the kitchen with your teen could be a great bonding experience and set up healthy habits for years to come.
Get teens involved in healthy lunch meal prep
Researching healthy foods and giving teens a choice in what whole foods they want to eat is huge! Everyone likes to have control over their choices so involving teens in menu planning and prepping is helpful.
Having your teen join your in grocery list making and shopping will help to provide a sense of ownership in the process. Researching the nutrition behind different healthy foods will also bring a different spin your teen may enjoy learning more about.
Find the right tools for healthy lunch meal prep
No one wants to spend a ton of time in the kitchen meal prepping. That being said, meal prepping can save tons of time during the week when you’ve done a few things beforehand.
Lunch is a meal I generally like to prep beforehand. I tend to make more healthy lunches when I prep them on Sunday for the week.
Finding the right tools to make your lunch meal prep faster will be key. These are the tools I use each week to get my meal prep done in less time:
My Favorite Lunch Meal Prep Tools
I use these tools each week to complete my meal prep quickly:
- Glass Meal Prep Containers
- Flexible Cutting Board
- Kitchen Shears
- Good Knives Set
- Air Fryer
- Instant Pot
- Silicone Baking cups
- Meat Thermometer
Need some more tips and tricks on how to meal prep quickly? Check out more of my favorite Meal Prep Tools by reading my Top 10 Kitchen Must-Haves to Meal Prep for the Week.
Scour Instagram or Pinterest for fresh inspiration
Social media time! Teens will love using social media to find new healthy lunch inspiration.
You will find a ton of new ideas that will keep you making new things for quite some time.
Try New Ingredients
Usually when I do some Instagram research I find a new ingredient that I want to try! Some of my favorite recipes that I’ve tried recently came from inspiration I’ve found while researching.
Don’t be afraid to try a new ingredient, you might end up loving it!
Keep A List of Old Favorites
Making a list of old favorites will definitely help you when the time comes to meal prep! Creating healthy lunches for teens can be made easier when you have a list of their favorites.
One of the ways I’ve catalogued all of our old favorites is to create a meal planning binder. This binder keeps all of our family’s favorite recipes organized so I can reference them quickly.