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35 School Lunch Ideas for Teens

These easy school lunch ideas for teens will keep them full and focused all afternoon. (Psst: Did you notice we said "easy"?)

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California Roll in a Jar

I’m a big sushi fan, but I don’t always have time to make those intricate rolls at home. This jar is layered with my favorite California roll ingredients, so I can get the flavor I love without the fuss. —James Schend, Deputy Editor, Taste of Home Magazine

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Spicy Peanut Butter And Pork Sandwich Exps Tohas19 239332 C04 18 4b 3

Spicy Peanut Butter and Pork Sandwich

A little spicy, a little sweet, with just a hint of curry, this flavor combo is something you just have to try. —James Schend, Taste of Home Deputy Editor
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Spinach And Turkey Pinwheels Exps Thso18 166355 D01 18 10b 3

Spinach and Turkey Pinwheels

Need an awesome snack for game day? My kids love these easy four-ingredient turkey pinwheels. Go ahead and make them the day before—they won’t get soggy! —Amy Van Hemert, Ottumwa, Iowa
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Greek Brown And Wild Rice Bowls Exps Sdas18 204870 C03 28  10b 3

Greek Brown and Wild Rice Bowls

This fresh rice dish tastes like the Mediterranean in a bowl! It's short on ingredients, but packs in so much flavor. For a hand-held version, leave out the rice and tuck the rest of the ingredients in a pita pocket. —Darla Andrews, Schertz, Texas
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Deli Turkey Lettuce Wraps Exps Sdam19 147427 C12 07 6b 4

Deli Turkey Lettuce Wraps

I used to make these during my training days when I worked at a restaurant in Hawaii. They're low-fat, low-carb, high-protein, quick and delicious—a great choice before or after a workout. —Duncan Omarzu, Astoria, New York
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Greek Grilled Chicken Pitas Exps Mtcbbz18 86339 B02 28 8b 2

Greek Grilled Chicken Pitas

I switched up my mom’s recipe to create this tasty pita pocket variation. It’s delicious and perfect for warm days, with a creamy cucumber sauce that goes great with fresh, crunchy veggies. —Blair Lonergan, Rochelle, Virginia
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Farmers Market Orzo Salad

Orzo is a tiny pasta shaped like rice. We use it as a base for veggies, lemony vinaigrette and cheeses such as mozzarella, feta or smoked Gouda. —Heather Dezzutto, Raleigh, North Carolina
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Blue Cheese Chicken Salad Sandwiches

I'm a big fan of blue cheese dressing, so I decided to go the "no mayo" route and replace it in this chicken salad. So tangy! Serve the chicken mixture on a bed of lettuce if you're in the mood for salad instead. —Giovanna Kranenberg, Cambridge, Minnesota
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Smoky Gouda Chicken Sandwiches Exps175654 Th143192d02 12 6bc Rms

Smoky Gouda & Chicken Sandwiches

My whole family loves this, but especially my husband and I for the deep smoke and garlic flavors. The cheese combined with the savory garlic-herb mayo is simply mouthwatering. —Nancy Mock, Colchester, Vermont
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Cranberry Pecan Wheat Berry Salad Exps Thfm17 134896 B09 22 3b 1

Cranberry-Pecan Wheat Berry Salad

I love to experiment with different grains and wanted to give wheat berries a try. My whole family goes nuts for this salad, especially my mom. —Kristen Heigl, Staten Island, New York
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Crunchy Tuna Wraps

Packed with protein-rich tuna and fresh, crunchy veggies, these colorful wraps have sensational flavor—and they're good for you, too. —Edie Farm, Farmington, New Mexico
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Apple & Sweet Potato Quinoa

When feeding three hungry boys, I rely on quick, filling and tasty meals. The guys aren’t big quinoa fans, but the sweet potatoes and apples won them over. —Cheryl Beadle, Plymouth, Michigan
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Turkey Gyros

Greek seasoning, feta cheese and dill-cucumber sauce give this gyro an authentic taste. It was my family's introduction to how really good pita bread can be. Instead of feta cheese, we'll sprinkle on cheddar or Monterey Jack if we have it. —Donna Garvin, Glens Falls, New York
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Yellow Squash Turkey Salad Exps Sdas18 28399 D03 30  4b

Yellow Squash Turkey Salad

With a wonderful mix of flavors, colors and textures, this impressive salad can be made in minutes for lunch with a friend or for a light dinner with your sweetie. It’s my favorite fast recipe! —Mildred Sherrer, Fort Worth, Texas
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Turkey Lunch-Box Wraps

These wraps taste wonderful cold or warmed in the microwave. They make a great brown-bag treat. —Denise Marshall, Jacksonville, Florida
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Chicken Ranch Mac Cheese Exps Hpbz18 151889 C06 27 2b

Chicken Ranch Mac & Cheese

Prep once and feed the family twice when you double this chicken mac and cheese and freeze half of it. I created it for the people I love most, using ingredients they love most. —Angela Spengler, Tampa, Florida
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Turkey Florentine Sandwiches Exps131751 Thhc2377559b01 09 4bc Rms

Turkey Florentine Sandwiches

Upgrade a lunchtime classic into a dinnertime feast with a few fancy yet simple tweaks. —Karel Reynolds, Rutherfordton, North Carolina
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Mexican Roasted Potato Salad

My husband is the No. 1 fan of this south-of-the-border potato salad. The leftovers make an awesome late-night snack, straight from the fridge. —Elisabeth Larsen, Pleasant Grove, Utah
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Chickpea Fritters With Sweet Spicy Sauce Exps Cimz19 57994 B08 31 4b

Chickpea Fritters with Sweet-Spicy Sauce

Chickpeas are a common ingredient in many dishes in Pakistan where I grew up. I have combined the light spice of Pakistani foods with the love of deep-fried finger foods that many Americans, including my daughters, enjoy. To eat, dip this chickpea recipe in chilled yogurt. —Shahrin Hasan, York, Pennsylvania
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Turkey & Apricot Wraps

For these everyday wraps, I combined the traditional southern appetizer of jam and cream cheese on crackers with the turkey, apple and Brie sandwiches we ate at my bridal luncheon. I like to sneak fresh spinach into all sorts of recipes because it has such a mild flavor. —Kim Beavers, North August, South Carolina
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Tomato Garlic Lentil Bowls Exps Sdon16 136664 D06 09 6b 2

Tomato-Garlic Lentil Bowls

An Ethiopian recipe inspired this feel-good dinner that's tangy, creamy and packed with hearty comfort. —Rachael Cushing, Portland, Oregon
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Berry Turkey Sandwich

Sliced fresh strawberries, Swiss cheese and a nutty cream cheese spread make this turkey sandwich different. Try it on whole wheat, oatmeal or sunflower seed bread. It's tasty and easy to put together. —Edward Meyer of Arnold, Missouri
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Potato Salad with Kalamata-Hazelnut Vinaigrette

Potato salad tossed with vinaigrette has a lighter taste than traditional mayo versions. I add velvety avocado and hazelnuts for cool texture and crunch. —Laurie Bock, Lynden, Washington
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Salmon Bean Wraps

Here’s a healthy wrap low in saturated fat and full of the wonderful nutrients in avocado, black beans and smoked salmon. It’s super easy and perfect for a quick lunch. —Jess Apfe, Berkeley, California
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Almond Apricot Chicken Salad Exps Tham18 5040 D11 09 6b

Almond-Apricot Chicken Salad

Here's a one-of-a-kind pasta salad that combines tender chicken, sweet apricots and crunchy vegetables. Plus, the lemony dressing can't be beat. —Susan Voigt, Plymouth, Minnesota
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Cajun Shrimp & Cucumber Wraps

Balance the heat of spicy Cajun shrimp by wrapping them up with lettuce, cucumbers and parsley. This hand-held dinner is perfect for dining alfresco. — Chantel Beauregard, Lake Arrowhead, California
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Great Grain Salad

I can't think of a better dish to round out a meal. My grain salad features all my favorite nuts, seeds and fruits. Try adding grilled chicken to make it a meal on its own. —Rachel Dueker, Gervais, Oregon
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Sweet Potato Panzanella Exps Hca18 89192 D09 29 4b 1

Sweet Potato Panzanella

This is my favorite lunch dish during the fall season. Every bite is filled with flavor and texture, but it isn't too high in calories. —Mary M. Leverette, Columbia, South Carolina
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Greek Sandwich Bites Exps106756 Ugg143377a01 23 3bc Rms 2

Greek Sandwich Bites

Here’s an appetizer that tastes just like traditional spanakopita, but it’s much less work to make. —Lynn Scully, Rancho Santa Fe, California
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Sweet Potato & Chickpea Salad

Take this colorful dish to the buffet at a family gathering, or enjoy it as a great meal all by itself. —Brenda Gleason, Hartland, Wisconsin
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Spicy Turkey Lettuce Wraps

My go-to meal after an evening run is this satisfying turkey wrap with jicama, a potato-like root veggie used in Mexican cooking. —Christie Arp, Blue Ridge, Georgia
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Wheat Berry Salad

This hearty salad is bursting with harvest flavors and healthful omega-3s. The chewy wheat berries, sweet-tart dried cherries and crunchy walnuts make a winning combination.—Nancy Lange, Phoenix, Arizona
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Bruschetta Chicken Wraps

As an Italian American, I love, love, love garlic, tomatoes and basil, all of which are musts for good bruschetta. This recipe was created in celebration of the first tomatoes to come out of our home garden this year. —Gina Rine, Canfield, Ohio
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Fajitas in Pitas

For a weekend lunch with company, we grill chicken and peppers to stuff inside pita pockets. The dressing doubles as a grilling sauce and a sandwich spread. —Clara Coulson Minney, Washington Court House, Ohio
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Grilled Cheese Pepper Sandwiches Exps Sdfm17 42407 B10 07 4b 2

Grilled Cheese & Pepper Sandwiches

This is a tasty and wholesome sandwich to make for one or two. It’s a nice twist on a grilled cheese, very tasty and filling and especially good with rye bread. —Arline Hofland, Deer Lodge, Montana

Jacqueline Weiss
Jacqueline is a blogger and writer, passionate about sharing the latest in helpful tips and trends in food and cooking. In her spare time, you’ll find her trying new restaurants and experimenting in the kitchen.
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