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Healthy Lunches For Teens

What is a healthy lunch?


Dietary requirements

Fussy eaters, bad eaters, don’t eaters, and big eaters.

What is a healthy lunch? We hear so much about Healthy eating and so much information is bandied about by different groups that it’s easy to get confused.

When nutritionists talk about Healthy, they mean any food that gives your body the nutritional requirement that it needs and keeps you in good health. The other big thing we talk about is calories. Really that’s just how much energy is in the food. Your body needs the energy to live and keep going, if you get too much energy from the food your body stores it away for you to use later, but it stores it as fat.  A teenager need between 1600 to 2200 k every day depending on their age and size and other factors. But again it’s not something you should be worrying about on a daily basis.  Everybody needs Protein, Carbohydrates and Fats; you should not cut out any one of them. Fad diets are all very well but in the long run a proper diet is the best way to go.

We are talking today specifically about Teenagers, 13_19 year olds who we are sending out to school where we cannot see what they are eating. The school has a good healthy eating policy. It was agreed upon by the students, staff, and parents and supported by the canteen staff. What parents want (if they send them in with a lunch) is to know “am I giving my child a good meal.”  I hope to show you some ideas.

First let’s look at an un-healthy lunch pack and see why. (Can of coke, mars bar packet of crisps)

This contains carbo hydrates, protein and fats, so what makes it bad.

In simple terms, when a young body gets to lunch time he or she has probably burnt up a lot of calories through, either nervous energy of physical activities. So they (for the most part) will be hungry.  what this lunch box does is quickly satisfy that hunger by giving them an energy boost. But nearly all the calories are in the form of simple sugars, they go quickly in raise the heart rate, raise the blood sugar levels, blood pressure, it’s like revving an engine in a car. Then as soon as that is used up there is a marked slump in activity and the body wants to rest, so the brain slows everything down, including itself. So nothing gets done in the afternoon in school. A constant diet like this makes the body store as much energy as it can, because it doesn’t like the sharp rise and fall, and kids get fat.

I have purposely not done a calorie count on all the sandwiches because you are not experts and shouldn’t have to worry about the calories if you keep to some simple basics. Make sure the lunchbox contains some starchy foods, Bread, wraps, rolls Bagels pasta, Make sure it has some Protein, , turkey, ham , chicken,  tuna, beef, avocado, beans, nuts, and a little fats, olive oil light spreads, mayo, it should also contain some dairy if possible, yoghurt cheese, milk. And of course some fruit or veg. this seems like a lot, but you will be surprised with how much all of these things come naturally when putting a lunch box together. 

But of course not all kids are the same. Some won’t eat any breakfast; others won’t eat lunch at all or eat what someone else would find horrible. You as parents will know what is best for your particular child all we are trying to do is give you some suggestion that you can adjust to suit your own children’s needs.

The Healthy eating policy here in the school is great, and the canteen has tried very hard to make sure that they conform to that policy they have reasonably priced nutritious food on sale every day and that may be the only way you can get your child to eat something at school, and if that’s what you have to do fine, but for most of us we should be able to get our kids to take a lunch.

Here is another example of a sandwich (white bread, bad ham and sliced cheese).

Many of my school days were spent eating these. If you give your kids these they may not come home in the lunch box but I doubt they are getting eaten.

Healthy doesn’t have to mean boring.

A very basic idea is to vary the bread; here is a selection of different types. You can vary the fillings and the bread everyday so that the kids look forward to their lunch. Or you can find the one food that they will eat and just keep giving them that, whichever works.

Recipe Ideas

Wraps; Rolls; Pitta, Breads

Caesar salad

1 tortilla wrap

Pieces of cooked chicken

Shredded cos lettuce

Parmesan cheese

A little garlic and lemon mayo

Greek wrap

1 wholemeal wrap/ Tortilla


Sundried tomato


Cucumber slices



Mediterranean wrap

1 wholemeal wrap

Red and green peppers Roasted

¼ courgettes

Baby spinach leaf

Hummus (homemade or shop bought)

Pizza wrap

2tbs pasta sauce

Grated mozzarella cheese

Pepperoni slices

(Or favourite topping)

The ham and cheese

Slice of Gouda Cheese

Slice of good ham

Thinly sliced tomatoes

Lettuce leaf

Tuna & sweet corn

1 tbl tuna drained

½ tbl sweet corn





Glenamaddy Community School, Church Street, Glenamaddy, Via Castlerea, Co. Galway, F45KF50 


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RCN: 20149543