School lunch with a yellow back pack and some blue books. 6 healthy meal and snack tips for teens
School lunch with a yellow back pack and some blue books. 6 healthy meal and snack tips for teens

6 Healthy Meals & Snack Tips for Teens


1. Eat healthy to look and feel better!

Eating healthy foods will…

  • Help keep your weight in check.
  • Keep you awake and focused in school.
  • Help you do your best at sports.
Two male teens playing soccer. One male teen is slide tackling the other male teen

2. Take it easy on pizza, sweets, and sodas!

A display of unhealthy, fatty foods

They have lots of sugar, salt, and fat.

  • Limit cakes, cookies, and other foods made with shortening, butter, and margarine.
  • Choose water or fat-free or low-fat milk instead of sugary soda or juice drinks.
  • Eat more foods like bananas, beans, and yogurt for potassium to help build strong bones.

3. Give your body the right fuel!

  • Make half of your plate fruits and vegetables.
  • Power up with lean meats, chicken, seafood, eggs, beans, nuts, tofu, and other protein-rich foods.
A display of healthy foods including meat, fruits, eggs, nuts, and seeds
  • Build strong bones with fat-free or low-fat milk products for calcium and vitamin D.
  • Choose whole grains, like whole-wheat bread, brown rice, and oatmeal, for half of your grain servings.

4. Snack smart on these!

A display of fruits, vegetables, and nuts spelling out the words eat healthy
  • Fresh apples, berries, or grapes
  • A handful of walnuts or almonds
  • A small bag of mini-carrots
  • Low-fat or fat-free yogurt
  • String cheese
  • Peanut butter on whole-wheat crackers

5. Take control!

One fast food meal can have more calories, fat, and sugar than you need for the whole day.

A display of fatty, unhealthy foods
  • Avoid “value-sized” or “super-sized meals.”
  • Share your meal or take half home when eating out.
  • Choose whole-wheat bread, lean meats, and fresh fruit at the school cafeteria

6. Start strong and plan ahead!

School lunch with a yellow back pack and some blue books. 6 healthy meal and snack tips for teens

Busy schedules can make it hard to eat smart. Planning ahead can help.

  • Jump-start your day with breakfast. It will help you do better in school.
  • Bagit! Pack a healthy lunch, like a lean turkey sandwich on whole-grain bread and an apple.
  • Snack smart by packing your own high-power nibbles for school or time with friends.

Article Provided by: The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. 2011. “Healthy Meals & Snacks for Teens”.The NIDDK would like to thank:
Carla Miller, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Ohio State University for reviewing this fact sheet.


This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclaimer for more info.

  • Kate says:

    Super unhelpful! All the info we know and how many schools allow “nuts” and “peanut butter?”

    • Susan Manning says:

      Thanks for your input, Kate. Good to hear that this is information you already know. Hopefully, it will help someone who may not know. Most schools are peanut/nut-free, so this could be an option for ‘at home’.

  • Go Personal Best Logo

    Make This Year Your Personal Best!

    Never miss another article from us plus get some tips on how to get/stay fit while on a busy schedule!

    The registry of fitness professionals logo
    Ace approved fitness logo
    Graphic of the ACSM logo for certified group exercise instructors
    IDEA Health & Fitness Association
    Scroll to Top