How to Pack a Lunch for a Teenager

Two Methods:Finding the Right LunchboxPacking Great Meals

Packing a lunch for your teen can seem daunting and frustrating, especially if your teen is a picky eater, short on time for lunch, and you don’t have all the time in the world to pack them the perfect meal every day. Ultimately, you want to pack a lunch for your teen that they will like, that contains the necessary nutrients and calories to give them energy for the rest of their school day, and that is easy and quick to prepare.

Part 1
Finding the Right Lunchbox

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    Look for a lunchbox that is the right size for their age. Your teen may want a lunch box that is not too big or hard to carry, but the most important aspect of the lunch box will be its size. You want to make sure the lunchbox can carry a lunch with the right amount of calories according to your teen’s gender, age, and height. The capacity of the lunchbox can be calculated in relation to the amount of calories per a meal your teen should be eating.[1]
    • Teenage boys, ages 13-19 years old, who are 160-171 cm (63-67 in) tall should have lunches that are 885-920 calories per a meal. So they should have a lunch box that can hold 900 ml.
    • Teenage girls, ages 13-19 years old, who are 155-158 cm (61-62 in) tall should have lunches that are 685-770 calories per a meal. So they should have lunch box that can hold 600-700 ml.
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    Let your teen pick their own lunch box or bag. Now that you know how large and how much weight the lunchbox should be able to carry, let your teen choose a lunch box based on their preferences, or what they consider stylish or cool looking.[2]
    • Teenage boys may go for plainer, more neutral colors, and teenage girls may go for lunch boxes with bright colors and patterns or designs. Your teen may also just prefer a simple brown bag, which is fine, as long as it is the right size.[3]
    • Go shopping together at Bed Bath and Beyond[4] or Walmart[5] to find a lunchbox.
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    Get leak proof containers. Look for containers that have rubber seals as these prevent the food from spilling or leaking.[6]

Part 2
Packing Great Meals

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    Prioritize healthy food. Packing a healthy lunch for your teen will ensure they get the right nutrition every day. If your teen does not have a packed lunch, they will likely buy fast food, which generally is not very nutritious.[7]
    • Prepare lunches that are rich in vitamins and minerals. Include foods that are rich in nutrients like: iron to prevent exhaustion, found in lean meat, leafy vegetables, etc.; zinc to prevent sickness, found in lean beef, eggs, etc.; and omega-3 to prevent heart disease, found in salmon, tuna, etc.[8]
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    Try to combine your teen’s favorite food with something healthy. This will serve as motivation for them to eat and enjoy their lunch.
    • Say your teen’s favorite protein is chicken. Instead of packing just fried chicken, make chicken wraps using pita bread filled with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, and cheese.
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    Pack dips to go along with vegetables or fruits. As some teens can be picky-eaters, make lunch fun for your teen by preparing fruits and vegetables like steamed carrot, potato, and broccoli with sour cream dip or strawberry, apple, and grapes with yogurt dip.[9]
    • You should also try including other dips based on what your teen likes, such as spinach dip, caramel dip, cheddar dip, etc.
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    Always include healthy snacks. Snacks are a great way to make sure your teen has something to eat throughout the day when they are hungry. Pack healthy snacks like whole-grain breads, cereals, granola bars, rice cakes, etc.[10]
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    Bake or cook with your teen. This way you can both collaborate on recipes or new lunch ideas together, and your teen gets a chance to be help you cook or bake something they enjoy eating. Baking and cooking are also great ways to spend quality time with your teen.
    • Make sure you incorporate healthier options into your own recipes. For example, if you and your teen are making pizza, use ingredients like broccoli, tomato, and spinach.
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    Try to include a water tumbler or thermos in your teen’s lunch. Depending on your teen and the size of their lunch box, try to include a tumbler for drinks.
    • The tumbler doesn’t necessarily have to contain just water. You may opt to fill it with fresh fruit juices for added nutrients and their detoxifying effects on the body.[11]
    • Experiment with juice combinations made from fruits and vegetables. Let your teen try these combinations first before you pack it for them as you want to make sure they will enjoy them and not waste them or throw them away.
    • Some juice combinations you may want to try include: apple + pear + pineapple, celery + spinach + tomato + dill, pineapple + watermelon + mango + orange bell pepper, etc.[12]

Article Info

Categories: School Food