Hungry Teenagers? School Lunches for Teens to Keep them Full All Day

It can be tricky to pack school lunches for teens. Yes, they are STARVING, but they probably are past the cutesy lunch box stage and won’t be too impressed when you cut their sandwich into hearts. Well, this is the case with my 14-year-old son, at least.

My son hates it when I make it look like I put any effort into his lunch box (seriously, mum), so I’ve improvised by choosing foods that I know he’ll eat and that he won’t roll his eyes at when he opens his lunch box.

While I can still cut my daughters’ fruits into shapes and add funny faces to their bento boxes, with my son, the ‘love’ ingredient that comes with packing school lunches has to be a bit more subtle.

School lunches for teens
Source: Adobe Stock

Here are a few ideas on school lunches for teens that will keep them full all day long, all of which were approved by my son and his friends.

School lunches for teens: Main Meals

Leftover Pizza

Who doesn’t love a yummy piece of leftover pizza? If you’re making pizza for dinner, make an extra one to save for the kids the next day.

Sausage Rolls

My go-to for my son, homemade sausage rolls are “da bomb” and are really easy to make. You can also buy them pre-made, heat them up in the morning and they are good to go. You can opt for veggie sausage rolls too, if you’d prefer.

sausage roll recipe

Meat pies 

Another easy lunch box option, meat pies or party pies are always a winner.

Mini Quiche

Simply combine eggs, puff pastry and whatever ingredients you’ve got in the fridge and you’ve got bite-sized quiche to add to their lunch box. Teens will gobble these up in one bite so be sure to pack a few!

thermos lunch ideas - mini quiche
Source: Supplied


We love a good pinwheel and have a few savoury and sweet options to test out. The Nutella pinwheels are a huge hit with my son and his friends.

Nutella pinwheels
Source: The Classy Baker


This is such an easy one to make and one that goes the distance. Our staple is a pizza quesadilla with pizza sauce, ham, salami and cheese. Place the ingredients on one wrap, then add the other wrap to the top and fry it for a few minutes. Chop into four parts and you’ve got an epic lunch!

Chicken Tenders

Okay so chicken tenders aren’t the healthiest of options, but they are a good one when you’re running out of ideas. Simply heat them in the oven before school and pop three or four tenders into a container. Don’t forget a bit of sauce on the side!

Turkish Sub

If you’ve got an air fryer, these Turkish Pizza Subs are next-level awesome. Seriously who needs tuck shop when you can make these at home?  You could even make them and freeze them in advance, pulling them out to defrost the night before.

Turkish bread pizza subs
Source: Supplied

Cold Rolls

For something a little bit fancy and fresh, try a cold roll. They do take a bit of time to make but if your teen loves them, it’s worth the effort! Just avoid making them look too cute.

cold rolls recipe
Source: Supplied


You can’t go wrong with a perfectly made wrap. Chicken wraps are a good one using chicken tenders, lettuce and mayo. Yum!

And, of course, the popular sandwich

We have HEAPS of sandwich filing ideas to test out, many of which are tween and teen-approved and go beyond the standard vegemite and cheese.

mum centralTIP: For anything that needs to remain hot, consider a thermos. Or, if your teen is far too cool to bring a thermos to school, then wrap in baking paper then in Alfoil.

School lunches for teens: Simple yet filling snacks

Boiled Eggs (x 2) 

There’s nothing cute or fancy about two boiled eggs packed into a lunch box but they certainly pack a punch of protein to get them through that after-lunch maths lesson.

Mini Red Sausages (Cheerios) 

Boil a few in the morning to pop into a container.

Pasta Salad

Hot or cold, pasta salad is an easy one to add to a container and let them devour the lot. I always stick to cold pasta salad, served in a boring container with no fancy sticker. Don’t forget the fork.

Pasta salad school lunches
Source: Adobe Stock

Chips and Dip

Nachoes and salsa are a favourite for my son but you can use any chip/dip combo.

Cheesy Bacon and Egg Muffins

Easy to whip up on a weekend and freeze for the week, cheesy bacon and egg muffins are a winner for most hungry teens!

Cheesy bacon and egg muffins
Source: Supplied

Homemade Lunchables 

Make your lunchables with crackers, cheese and meat. Kabana and ham are my son’s top picks. Avoid Pepperoni Sticks as they can cause bad breath.

Other add ons

  • A piece of fruit. Served whole. Don’t even think about cutting it into hearts!
  • A serving of veggies. Which may or may not return home with them in the afternoon. Add some dip on the side to increase your odds of them being eaten.
  • Pretzels, popcorn or crackers. 
  • A muesli bar. This is a stable for my son and although I should make my own, I don’t. I buy them.
  • A Drink. Up and Go drinks can be good as they contain a lot of protein. I sometimes also buy fruit/veg drinks that contain a serve of fruit and veg.
  • A bit of money  (on occasion). Because every teen loves a good tuck shop snack!

Looking for more school lunches for teens, tweens or younger kids? We have tons of great ideas!

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Avatar of Jenna Galley

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.

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