Dear American Girl,

I'm bored with the lunches I pack for school. I want to put together something more creative than my usual bologna sandwich and chips. Does anyone have any interesting ideas for easy, healthy lunches?
-Brown-Bag Blahs

Here's your advice:

Ask a parent if you can go to the grocery store with him or her. Find a lunch meat you haven't tried before, pick up some pieces of your favorite fruit, or get ingredients to make your own trail mix. Going to the grocery store might give you lots of lunch ideas.
-Zoe, age 9, Illinois

For a crunchy snack instead of chips, pack sliced bell peppers, celery sticks, or baby carrots in your lunch.
-Emily, age 12, New York

My favorite sandwich combines low-fat cream cheese with strawberry jelly. It's a surprisingly yummy flavor combination, and I love to have it in my lunch along with a side of fruit.
-Elena, age 11, North Carolina

Make a peanut butter and banana wrap. Spread a thin layer of peanut butter on a tortilla wrap, distribute banana slices evenly on the tortilla, and wrap it up. You'll have a tasty treat for lunch. If you want to make your wrap a little sweeter, drizzle honey on the bananas.
-Katie, age 13, New York

Every week for my school lunches, I like to add a new food. One week, I might have Clementine oranges in my lunches, and the next, I'll bring cherries. I look forward to picking a different food for my lunch each week.
-Olivia, age 11, California

I love making "wagon wheels" for my school lunches. I spread some cheese on a wheat tortilla and add a few slices of lunch meat. Then I roll it up and cut it into slices so that they look like little wheels. They're fun to make and eat.
-An American Girl fan, age 12, Iowa

I like to wrap pieces of cheese around apple slices for my lunches. Delish!
-Holly, age 13, California

A sandwich doesn't always have to be bread and lunch meat. You can put pizza toppings on an English muffin, or put a little cheese and meat between crackers. Think beyond basic bread.
-Lena, age 9, Oregon

If you like to eat tortilla chips with your lunch, try dipping them in salsa, low-fat cheese dip, or dark chocolate.
-Molly, age 10, Washington

When I want to make a simple lunch that tastes great, I make a mozzarella salad. With my mom's help, I cut up slices of fresh mozzarella and tomatoes and put them in a plastic container. We sprinkle basil on top, and we finish it with a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I think that this is the opposite of a boring lunch.
-Adele, age 11, California

I'm a vegetarian, so I like to have veggie wraps for lunch. I wrap spinach and tomato slices in lettuce leaves, and for an added pop of flavor, I drizzle on a little hot sauce. It's an easy, flavorful way to eat vegetables.
-Logan, age 11, South Carolina

Make your lunch as colorful as possible. When you include lots of colorful fruits and veggies, you'll eat a lot more nutrients. Add a "rainbow" fruit salad to your lunch; include raspberries, orange slices, bananas, grapes, blueberries, and blackberries. It'll be good for you and pretty to look at, too!
-Delaney, age 13, Florida

If your family has spaghetti for dinner, ask a parent if he or she can save some noodles for your lunch. You can add lots of things to the pasta. For example, I like mixing ham and cheese with noodles, and then I put it in an insulated container to keep it warm. I love eating a hot lunch.
-Elizabeth, age 10, New York

I like eating salads for lunch. I put the lettuce, tomatoes, and carrots together in one container, and then I put the salad dressing and the croutons in separate containers (salad dressing can make the veggies and croutons soggy). It's fun to mix up my own salad at lunch, and it tastes really good, too.
-An American Girl fan, age 12, Delaware

Add a little sweetness to an ordinary fruit salad. Top your fruit with vanilla yogurt and crumbled graham crackers.
-Allison, age 13, Georgia

If you're feeling bored with your lunches, talk to your lunch buddies and organize a potluck. Each girl can bring a food (fruit, veggies, mini sandwiches, etc.), and you all can try a little bit of everything. I did this with my friends, and it was fun. Just be sure to ask a parent first.
-Katie, age 13, Massachusetts

I like coming up with new "twists" for my peanut butter sandwiches. One of my favorites is peanut butter, apple slices, and raspberries on wheat bread.
-Caroline, age 11, California

Ask a parent if you can look through your refrigerator for leftovers. Is there some leftover chicken from last night's dinner? Turn it into a chicken sandwich for your lunch. Get creative with leftovers, and you might not be bored with your lunches anymore.
-Priya, age 12, Massachusetts

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