Healthy Lunch Ideas for Teenage Athletes

Healthy Lunch Ideas for Teenage Athletes

Intro

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:

Nutrition

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.

Chili

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

Veggies

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.

Conclusion

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.

15 High Protein Snacks for Kids

When it comes to seeking out snacks for your kids, any parent knows that it can be an uphill battle. Because, let’s face it, the snacks that your kids want aren’t necessarily going to be the healthiest options for them! As a parent, finding a snack idea that any picky eater can enjoyandis also healthy can seem like an impossible task.

Try Protein

One of the best ways to find a nutritious snack that your child will enjoy is to focus on snacks that are high in protein. Protein is great for feeding an active lifestyle, and protein keeps kids full longer than snacks, which are full of sugars and processed ingredients. Not to mention that many high-protein snacks simply taste great.

The key is finding a balance between a snack that is high in protein and one that is packed with sugars and unnecessary calories. This is where our list comes into play. Try one of these healthy high-protein snacks instead when meal planning.

Beef Jerky

Beef jerky is a great place to start when it comes to a high protein snack. There’s not a lot bad things about beef jerky besides the high salt content. Beef jerky is a tasty snack, and surprisingly low in calories.

Beef jerky is very high in protein, with about 33 grams per 100 gram serving.

Yogurt and Fruit

Yogurt and fruit go together perfectly. It’s a healthy, sweet snack, and yogurt is a great source of protein. Pick your favorite fruits and pair with your favorite brand of yogurt.

Yogurt has about 10 grams of protein per 100 grams, but it depends on the variety of yogurt you buy. Greek yogurt makes for an especially high protein snack.

Hard Boiled Eggs

Hard boiled eggs are a snack-time staple. One of the best things about hard boiled eggs is you can prepare a whole bunch of them at once. Have them plain, salt them, or throw a bit of hot sauce on top!

Hard boiled eggs contain about 13 grams of protein per 100 gram serving.

Natural Peanut Butter Crackers

“Natural” peanut butter refers to the peanut butter which is made with 100% peanuts. No additives like sugar and salt.

Peanuts are high in protein, and contain about 25 grams per 100 gram serving.

Almonds

Almonds

Almonds are a great snack just on their own! You can buy many flavored almonds, but we think that plain, unsalted almonds are just as delicious.

Almonds contain about 20 grams of protein per 100 gram serving.

Protein Shake

Of course, a protein shake is a great source of protein! The great thing about these shakes is they can be made in so many different ways. Typically, the protein comes from the whey protein powder that is added to the shake. You can throw in a whole bunch of other healthy ingredients like fruit, vegetables, yogurt, peanut butter, and more!

Protein powder typically contains about 25 grams of protein per 100 gram serving, but it really depends on the variety that you buy.

Hummus and Veggies

Hummus is a high protein spread that tastes great. The versatile nature of hummus lends itself to many different snacks. Whether you have it with veggies, on crackers, or in a sandwich, getting your kid hooked on hummus can make snack time easy!

Hummus has approximately 8 grams of protein per 100 gram serving.

Protein Bites or Snacks

“Protein bites” online, can pack a delicious mixture of high-protein ingredients into little portable packages. You can find a few recipes that work for bites on our list of high-protein bar recipes. Typically, they use various granola, whole grain, dried fruit peanut butter, and honey to form a delicious protein “bite” which has a texture similar to cookie dough. This is a great school snack because it contains no added sugar and can be tweaked with ingredients like chia seeds, nut butter, or pumpkin seeds, to name a few.

The amount of protein in these snacks depends on the specific recipe you follow.

Turkey Slices and Crackers

Many parents try to avoid cold cuts altogether, but turkey slices can be a pretty solid high protein snack. They are less fatty than many other processed meats, but still high in protein. They taste great too, whether eaten plain or even on some crackers.

Turkey slices have approximately 29 grams of protein per 100 gram serving, a great source of protein!

Chocolate Milk

A drink for a snack? Why not? Kids love chocolate milk, and it’s a great source of protein as far as beverages go. And when it comes to snacks, you likely won’t have any troubles convincing your kids to have this one!

Chocolate milk has 3.2 grams of protein per 100 gram serving. Whole milk is also a great option if your kid enjoys it.

Quinoa Salad

Quinoa salad is a solid source of protein, and is very easy to make. We recommend a basic balsamic vinaigrette dressing, as well as some cherry tomatoes, onions, chickpeas, and cucumber. A tasty, refreshing salad.

Quinoa contains about 8 grams of protein per cup.

Sushi

SushiSushi is often more of a meal, but it makes a great snack idea as well. Depending on the variety of sushi you choose, any fish sushi recipe can be a great source of protein. Not to mention that sushi is absolutely delicious, and quite healthy as well!

The level of protein in sushi will typically depend on the kind of sushi that you make or buy, but try to aim for a sushi with more fresh fish.

Chicken Salad

Chicken salad is great as a snack, or even in a sandwich or wrap. Another bonus with chicken salad is you can chop up some of your favorite veggies and throw them into the mix. We recommend celery, cucumbers, green onions, and sunflower seeds for an extra crunch.

Chicken salad has about 8 grams of protein per 100 gram serving.

Almond Butter and Apples

If you can, try to get 100% almond butter. This means that it was made with only blended almonds. None of the unhealthy filler ingredients like sugar. Cut up some apple slices and dip away!

Almonds are very high in protein, at about 22 grams per 100 gram serving. 

Cheese and Crackers

To round out the list, a kid-favorite snack, cheese and crackers! Cheese is a great source of protein, just avoid processed cheese if you can. Serve on some multigrain crackers and it’s quite the healthy snack.

The amount of protein does depend on the cheese you buy. Cheddar cheese has about 25 grams of protein per 100 gram serving. If your kid follows a vegan diet, sprinkle nutritional yeast on crackers for a cheesy-tasting snack