Background: This study aimed to examine what reasons motivated urban high school students to choose certain foods, and to identify factors associated with food choice motivations.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted from April to May 2020 in Depok, Indonesia. A total of 433 high school students in grades 10–12 were recruited. Food choice motivations were identified using a questionnaire, and defined using exploratory factor analysis. Possible factors associated with motivations were evaluated using multiple linear regression. Results: Five food choice motivations were identified and classed as: F1, health and religion; F2, price and convenience; F3, comfort; F4, weight control; and F5, familiarity. Being physically active was positively associated with F1 (β = 0.234, P < 0.001) and F4 (β = 0.284, P < 0.001). Negative associations were observed between F4 and wishing to be fatter (β = −0.202, P = 0.05) as well as between F5 and having less knowledge about nutrition (β = −0.006, P = 0.04). F2 (β = 0.042, P = 0.004) and F3 (β = 0.040, P = 0.02) were positively associated with frequent access to media. F3 was positively associated with students receiving a higher stipend (β = 0.014, P = 0.003).

Conclusions: Our findings highlighted five motivations influencing the daily food selections of high school students. These motivations were associated with physical activity, body image, nutrition knowledge, media access, and stipend. School personnel, family, and health professionals share the responsibility of supporting healthy food choices among adolescents.