For high schoolers, it is imperative to eat nourishing foods that will keep you full all day, while simultaneously giving you the energy to excel in class. With a busy teenager’s life, from sports to friends to school work, who has time to prepare a delicious and nutritious lunch every morning? Practically no one… but don’t fear.
Here are plenty of fun, healthy, and protein-packed lunches that are easy and timely to make. I assure you your body will be fueled and ready to go for the entire day.
1. Hummus and Veggies
Hummus is sure to keep you feeling full and energized throughout the school day due to its abundance of protein, essential vitamins and heart-healthy benefits. Sabra makes mini, “snacker pack” containers that are perfectly-sized portions to transport to school. Pair your hummus with any raw veggies: baby carrots, bell pepper, cucumbers, celery, snap peas. You can even throw in a handful of raw almonds that will be sure to hold you over until school’s out.
Sabra Hummus Single: 150 calories
10 baby carrots: 40 calories
1 medium bell pepper: 24 calories
2 mini cucumbers: 20 calories
Celery (6 calories a stalk for 3 pieces): 18 calories
1 cup of snap peas: 35 calories
Almonds (7 calories each for 15 pieces): 105 calories
Total Calories: 392
2. Fresh Lettuce Wraps
Replace your old, traditional whole wheat wraps for hearty slivers of romaine lettuce. Using romaine will even give you the extra “crunch” flimsy tortilla wraps fail to provide, while simultaneously providing health benefits such as dietary fibers. The best part of lettuce wraps is that you have the freedom to create your own. Feel free to add a scoop of hummus, guacamole, or any other sauce for some extra flare. It’s like a little Chipotle or Subway right in your hands.
3 pieces of romaine lettuce leaf: 15 calories
Chopped veggies = 100 calories
4 ounces grilled chicken: 140 calories
Guacamole or hummus (one golf-ball sized scoop): approximately 50 calories
Total Calories: 305 calories (400 with fruit)
#SpoonTip: Add a piece of fruit. 1 apple is only 95 calories.
Remember, the total amount of calories will vary depending on what YOU choose to put inside your wrap.
3. Nutella or Nut Butter Delight
Whether it be Nutella, peanut butter, almond butter, or any other nut butter, eating one of these delicious spreads has a plethora of health benefits. A serving of nut butter is a great source of valuable nutrients and is proven to improve cholesterol levels.
Nuts are also jam-packed with protein, so you never have to worry about your belly rumbling in your next class. Juicy berries like strawberries or raspberries (and even bananas, too) pair extremely well with nut butters, so you can add the fruit component to your balanced meal. You can also add in a mini Baby Bell cheese wheel to complement these flavors, as well as some gluten-free pretzels.
Nutella “mini cup”: 160 calories
3 tablespoons of peanut butter: 282 calories
3 tablespoons of almond butter: 294 calories
1 cup of mixed berries (50 calories of blackberries, 26 calories of raspberries, 18 calories of strawberries): approximately 94 calories
Gluten-free pretzel sticks (about 20 sticks): 55 calories
1 Baby Bell cheese wheel: 60 calories
Total calories: 340-500 calories
4. “The Classic” PB +J AirPop Sandwich
Try this twist on the classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich. From opening your tin lunch pail in Kindergarten to your brown paper bag in the high school cafeteria, PB+J is a lunchtime staple that will never loses its appeal.
Now, gets healthier by replacing the bread with Magic Pop Rice Cakes, an all-natural, vegan, and fat-free popped grain snack. And the best part of all is that they are only 15 calories per piece. Be sure to use all-natural fruit preserves, the healthier alternative to Jelly.
2 Magic Pop Rice Cakes: 30 calories
1 tablespoon of all-natural peanut butter: 80 calories
1 tablespoon of strawberry fruit preserves: 50 calories
1 Baby Bel Cheese: 60 calories
1 apple: 95 calories
Total Calories: 315
#SpoonTip: Add in some Baby Bell cheese or some fresh fruit if you’re still hungry.
5. Deli Pinwheels
I ate this lunch years ago in grade school and still enjoy it to this day. Stack sliced deli meat and a slice of cheese and then wrap it around and around to form a “pinwheel” type shape. The protein from the meats will give you the energy needed to perform well in school, while the cheese provides the much-needed calcium that most teenagers lack. (C’mon, how often is it that you see a teenager drinking a glass of milk?)
Fresh fruit salad would complement this lunch perfectly, along with a handful of almonds. The best part about this meal aside from the delicious taste is how fun it is to roll up these little guys.
3 slices of turkey breast: 66 calories
2 slices of low-fat American cheese (96 calories for 1 slice and 2 slices): 192 calories
Almonds (15 pieces at 7 calories each): 105 calories
1 cup of fruit salad: 124 calories