Healthy Lunch Ideas for Teenage Athletes

Healthy Lunch Ideas for Teenage Athletes


Everyone knows teenagers have a big appetite. When your teen is into sports, that appetite gets even bigger! In this article, we’re talking about how to pack a healthy meal for a young athlete. We’ll start by telling you how to incorporate healthy eating for your busy athlete, and then we’ll jump into several examples of great packed lunch ideas.

How to Pack a Lunch for An Athlete

First thing’s first, what are the special considerations you need to be making when it comes to feeding your young athlete? Simply put, sports take a lot of energy. Therefore, athletes need a special diet which fuels this energy consumption. Here are the main areas you need to focus on when it comes to choosing a healthy lunch for athletes:


The first area of consideration is nutrition. 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.

Big Portions

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 the importance of hydration, be sure that they are eating and drinking enough to support their active lifestyle!

Meal Ideas

Now that we’ve covered the basics of constructing a diet for a teenage athlete, let’s jump right into some inspiration. Here are several healthy lunch ideas that you can pack for your teen. Not only are these meals delicious, they are nutritious and quite filling as well!

Chicken and Veggies

Meal Ideas

Let’s start with the basics. A chicken breast and veggies are a well-rounded, balanced lunch that is high in protein and nutrients. It is quite filling, and you can season the chicken and veggies to make it a delicious lunch! Leftovers often make for a solid lunch. Pack in some microwave safe containers and they can heat it up come lunch time.

Almond Butter and Apple Wraps

Here’s a healthy alternative to a classic PB & J. Try some almond butter and apple wraps for lunch. These are super easy to make, and quite delicious as well! Almond butter is full of protein and healthy fats, and is very filling and calorically dense. It is perfect fuel for your teenage athlete.


How about some leftover chili? Chili is high in protein from the beans and meat, and can be loaded with veggies as well. Chili is great because you can make a pot and have lunches for the whole week. Some will tell you chili is even better as leftovers, because it has the chance to soak up all the flavors.

Burrito Bowls

Burrito bowls have all the taste and nutrition of a burrito without the wrap (although feel free to use a wrap if you want!) Making a burrito bowl is easy. Throw in your protein of choice, some rice, beans, corn, lettuce, salsa, and guacamole. Of course, you can prepare all of this yourself, but it’s just as easy to buy all the ingredients from a grocery store! Burrito bowls are super filling, and packed with all the nutrients that a student athlete needs.

Pasta with Meat Sauce

Leftover pasta makes for a great lunch! Try to make it with a meat sauce that is packed with veggies. This way, you get the carbs, protein, and vegetables that your growing teen needs. Pasta with meat sauce keeps well, and your teen can throw it in the microwave at lunch time. Just be sure to pack a hefty portion.

Turkey Sandwich, Veggies, and Granola Bar


Sometimes you can’t go wrong with the classics. A turkey sandwich is a popular lunch item for a reason. It’s full of protein, it’s filling, and tastes great. You can’t go wrong with a turkey sandwich with some cheddar cheese, tomato, lettuce, and mustard! Cut up some raw veggies for a side, and throw in a granola bar, and you’ve got a well-rounded, healthy lunch.

Stir Fry with Pork on Rice

Leftover stir fry makes an awesome lunch. Stir fry some chicken breast with all sorts of veggies, and make enough to have leftovers. Pack it in a Tupperware over rice, and all your teen has to do is throw it in the microwave. Stir fry is very healthy, containing almost no bad ingredients, and will keep your teen full all afternoon.

Hummus and Veggie Wrap

For a healthy vegetarian option, hummus is often your best friend. Hummus is high in protein, and quite filling as well. It is a delicious additive to any sandwich, whether or not you want to add meat. A hummus and veggie wrap is a delicious lunch. We recommend adding cucumber, lettuce, and tomato. Cheese also works great if it fits into your vegetarian diet!To make this a lunch fit for an athlete, trying adding a side of some almonds or other mixed nuts.

PB & J

Let’s finish with the most classic lunch staple of all. There’s nothing wrong with a classic PB & J. If you opt for the all-natural peanut butter that is 100% peanuts, then you will have a sandwich that is high in protein and healthy fats. To make it even healthier, find a jam that isn’t too full of added sugars.


Just remember when making lunch for your teen athlete, an active athlete needs a lot of fuel to feed that active lifestyle. And since teens tend to have a pretty big appetite anyway, it never hurts to pack a bit more than you might think is needed.

Vegetarian Lunch Ideas for Teenagers

Vegetarian Lunch Ideas for Teenagers


Packing lunches for a teen can be pretty difficult! You never know exactly what their new favorite food is, and then there’s the issue of how much to pack. Sometimes it seems like a growing teen is hungry no matter how much you feed them! In this article, we’re focusing on this issue, but we’re giving you vegetable-based recipe options for your vegetarian teenager.

What’s a Good Vegetarian Lunch for Teenagers?

Before we get started, let’s examine the main question – what makes a good vegetarian lunch for a teen?

First, you want to focus on nutrition, without neglecting taste. Teens need to eat healthy, because they need to fuel their growth and their active lifestyles. Focus on lunches that are dense and filling, without relying on added sugars. This means protein, healthy fats, and even carbs!

Additionally, don’t be afraid of big portions. Teens have big appetites, and they need a big lunch to fuel the rest of their day. So long as they are eating healthy, you shouldn’t have to worry about your teen eating more than you. Try not to overdo it, but pack a big, hearty lunch for your teen.

And of course, don’t forget taste! A lunch is only a good one if your teen actually enjoys it!

We have kept these tips in mind with all of our vegetarian options below. Let’s check out some hearty vegetarian lunch options for teens.

Tasty Vegetarian Lunches

Hummus and Tofu Wrap

Let’s start with a classic vegetarian lunch, the hummus and tofu wrap! Tofu is a great source of protein (about 8 grams per 100 gram serving), and is so easy to throw on sandwiches and wraps as a meat substitute. Hummus also contains about 8 grams of protein per 100 gram serving. This means that this is a delicious wrap, and also quite filling! Try adding some cucumber slices, tomato, and alfalfa sprouts.

Almond Butter and Apple Wrap

Almond Butter

Almond butter is a very versatile tool for any vegetarian diet. It is very calorically dense which means it’s very filling. It is high in protein and healthy fats. This makes it the perfect lunch to satisfy even the most active teens, not to mention it’s delicious! Almond butter and apple slices are a healthy take on the classic PB & J.

Bean Chili

Chili is such a great lunch option, and vegetarian chili packs all the taste of a traditional chili. Chili is great because you can make a big pot and have lunches for the whole week. Try adding some vegan sour cream to really top if off!

Bean Burrito

It doesn’t get much more hearty and filling than a burrito at lunch! Burritos are full of ingredients that fill you up and keep you full. Wrap up some rice, black beans, pinto beans, cheese (if your diet allows), salsa, vegan sour cream, lettuce, and tomato. You’re left with a well-rounded lunch that has all the carbs and protein needed to satisfy a hungry teen.

Pesto Pasta

Pesto pasta is super delicious, and it works just as well as leftovers the next day. The great thing about pesto pasta is that you don’t even need to heat it up! It works just fine at room temperature as a pasta salad. You can make your own pesto, or use a store-bought jar of pesto. Top it off by chopping up some high protein almonds and sprinkling them on top.

Hummus and Avocado Sandwich

A hummus and avocado sandwich is a great option, and quite filling! Avocados are a super food, they are very healthy and high in good fats. Mix some avocados, hummus, lettuce, mayo, and tomatoes and you’re left with a great lunch! If you want to make it even more filling, add some slices of tofu as a meat substitute.


Sushi is a great lunch. Depending if your teen’s vegetarian diet allows fish, this can be a pretty easy choice. You can learn to make sushi yourself, but it’s probably easier to buy it pre-made. Sushi is full of veggies, and fish contains lots of healthy fat and protein. Additionally, the rice makes it deceptively filling!

Chickpea Salad

Chickpea SaladA chickpea salad is a simple lunch that is quite filling. Try using a basic olive oil and lemon dressing. Just mix the olive oil with a splash of lemon juice and some salt and pepper. In the salad itself, add chickpeas, red onion, avocado, fresh parsley, tomatoes, and bell pepper. An extremely healthy lunch, and the protein-rich chickpeas will keep your teen full for their busy afternoon.

Bean Salad

Similar to the chickpea salad, a bean salad is another way to turn a salad into a filling lunch. All you need is a basic vinaigrette dressing that you can find at any grocery store. Use a mix of pinto beans, black beans, and kidney beans, and add red onion, parsley, tomatoes, and bell peppers. Simple to make, and it keeps well in the fridge. Beans are quite filling due to their high protein and fibre content (about 20 grams of protein per 100 gram serving!).

Veggie Burger

Burgers are typically thought of as a dinner food, but there’s no reason they can’t be eaten for lunch as well! There are so many veggie burger options in any grocery store. You can cook them ahead of time and pack them in your teen’s lunch as you would any sandwich. Many veggie burger patties are high in protein and healthy fat, which will provide adequate fuel to any hungry teen. Dress up your burger with tomato, lettuce, cheese, and mustard!

Peanut Butter and Jam!

How about the classic PB & J sandwich for lunch? A great option here is to buy all natural peanut butter that is made 100% from just peanuts. It has the benefit of no added sugar, but is also much higher in protein and healthy fats. It’s much more filling than regular peanut butter, and better for you, too! Aim for a jelly with low added sugar if you really want to turn it into a healthy lunch. Sometimes the classics are popular for a reason!

20 Healthy Lunches for Teens

20 Healthy Lunches for Teens

Let’s face it, 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 with this article.

In this article, we’re giving you twenty 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.

Chicken Burrito

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!

Pasta Leftovers

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 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.

Quinoa Salad

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.

Chickpea Salad

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.

Chicken Chili

If you have a thermos, why not pack some chicken chili for lunch? Chili is loaded with healthy and filling ingredients, and loaded with flavour 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 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 in lettuce so the bread doesn’t get soggy! 

Turkey Burger

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 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, it tastes great and keeps quite well. You could have lunches for the whole week with a big batch of this.

Bean Salad

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 fully rounded meal.

Cauliflower Pizza

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, it’s 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.