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February 2010

Laptop Lunch Times:February 2010
February 2010

In this issue, you'll find:

  • From Our Desk to Yours...
  • Favorite Photo
  • Food for Thought: Oats
  • Toasty Oat Recipes
  • Green Opportunities
  • Laptop Lunches in the News
  • New Retailers
  • Ten Do's for Dealing With a Picky Eater
  • What works...Success Stories
  • Featured Web site:

From Our Desk to Yours...



Happy Valentines Day!

Hope your year is off to a good start and that you're able to find some quality time with loved ones this Valentine Season.


VALENTINE PINK AND RED BENTO SETS: If you’re looking for a heart-felt, heart-healthy gift that will be loved and appreciated the whole year and beyond, check out our limited edition Laptop Lunches Valentine’s Day bento sets. They’re on sale for only $20.99—while supplies last.

CREATIVE USES FOR LAPTOP LUNCHBOXES: What other uses do you have for your Laptop Lunch containers? Send us your images and we'll include them on our Web site. Deadline: March 15th. Email images to us at [email protected].

Amy and Tammy

Got a favorite photo to share?

Email it to us at [email protected], and we'll publish it here!


  • Vegetable Sushi
  • Nectarine and Red Pepper Salad with Feta Cheese
  • Green Apple Hearts and Raspberries
  • Carrots
  • Homemade Triple Chocolate Brownie

"I've had my Laptop Lunchbox for almost a year now and I still use it pretty much every day! I love it. I love making colorful lunches full of fruit and vegetables. I always try to include a little treat of cookies or candy, for instance, so I can control the amount and so I don't get tempted to buy something at the store."

                     -- Erin Smith, Toronto

Food for Thought: Oats

Oats are a hearty grain, chock full of fiber and nutrients, and low in calories. A diet high in oats is known to help lower cholesterol, therefore reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke. This nutrient rich food is high in protein as well, with two times the protein of brown rice. Oats are an excellent source of complex carbohydrates, with a low glycemic index, beneficial for those with diabetes. Oatmeal is not the only way to add oats to your diet. They are yummy in cookies, muffins, breads and even veggie burgers. Try using oat flour when you bake.

For more information on the health benefits of oats, visit


  • High in Dietary Fiber
  • Lowers Blood Cholesterol
  • A Heart Healthy Food
  • Excellent Source of Complex Carbohydrates
  • High in Protein and Nutrients

Toasty Oat Recipes


Try this granola either with milk, on yogurt, or by itself as a snack.

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
  • 3 Tbs. oil
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup or honey
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon (optional)
  • 3/4 cup chopped apricots (or other dried fruit)


Yield: approximately 5 cups

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Mix the oats, coconut, pecans and sunflower seeds together in a large bowl.
3. Spread the oat mixture onto 2 large pans or baking sheets with edges. Place in oven to toast for 15 minutes till it begins to get golden brown.
4. While oats are toasting, combine oil, maple syrup (or honey), and vanilla in a large bowl. (Cinnamon may be added to this mix.)
5. Remove pans from oven and add mixture to other ingredients, in the large bowl. Mix until the oats are evenly coated.
7. Spread the granola mix onto the two pans and place back in oven to roast for another 20 minutes. Stir every 5 to 10 minutes so it browns evenly.
8. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Add the chopped apricots. Mix.
9. Store in an airtight container or jar.

Baked Oats and Fruit

This recipe is a variation on an Apple Crisp, without the fat and sugars included in many recipes.

  • 5 medium apples, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 2 cups sliced pears
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries (or raisins)
  • 1-1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 3/4 cup fruit juice (apple, pear etc.)
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Yield: 6 one cup servings
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Slice apples and pears.
3. Mix all ingredients in large bowl. Stir well.
4. Grease a 13"x 9"x 2" pan and fill it with the mixture.
5. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour.
6. Serve hot or cold, for breakfast, snack or dessert.

Green Opportunities

Some earth-friendly tidbits that have landed in our office in recent weeks...

  • PEOPLE TOWELS Ever think of bringing your own towel to a public restroom? PeopleTowels are a green alternative to paper towels in public facilities and are small enough to carry anywhere. These quick-drying, lightweight towels are made of 100% organic, Fair Trade Cotton. Find out more at:

Photo by Laura Kutner

  • MICHAEL POLLAN'S FOOD RULES Ever wish you had a guide to help you make wise choices in the foods you eat? Michael Pollan has written a set of simple, sensible and easy to use Food Rules for eating wisely. This Eater's Manual offers healthy advice and helps navigate the world of highly advertised foods on the market. To find out more about the book along with examples of some of Pollan's "Rules," visit:

Laptop Lunches in the News

Wellness E-Zine

Lunch Box

November 2009
by Brenda Layman

Lunch on the go can be as tasty and nutritious as a home-cooked and served meal. Busy students and employees don’t have to depend on fast-food and cafeteria fare. With a bit of planning, lunches brought from home can make that midday break something special.

Entrepreneurs Tammy Pelstring and Amy Hemmert have developed a company called Laptop Lunches. The two women met in a new mothers group in 1995 and became friends and jogging partners. In 2001, they realized that there was a need to provide convenient alternatives to the commercially packaged foods that children were bringing to school. They imagined convenient, economical food containers that would be appealing to kids. After conducting a nationwide survey and finding strong support for their idea, they developed Bento-ware. Bento-ware is manufactured in California from plastics that are FDA-approved for food use. The outer containers are fitted with smaller containers to hold different foods. A website and newsletter compliments the containers by providing recipes, menu ideas, an online store, and a wealth of other information to keep Bento-ware users happily packing attractive, tasty, nutritious, and nearly waste-free lunches. For more information about Bento-ware, visit their website at The site is also a great source of lunch suggestions that anyone can use, whether or not they decide to purchase Bento-ware. What makes a bento box differ from a plastic tub of leftovers is presentation, not the container. [Read the full story at]


Front Range Family
A Guide for Colorado Parents and Kids

Nutrition 101 - Not Your Ordinary Lunchbox

August/September 2009

Now you know what to pack your kids for lunch--so what should you pack it in? Obentec, Inc. has created Laptop Lunches, a cool line of lunchboxes and accessories that help eliminate waste and save you money. The bento box-inspired design offers several lidded and unlidded containers to display food in a fun and attractive manner. Varied sizes allow you to pack sandwiches, soups, veggies, fruit and even dip without anything getting smushed or soggy--and eliminating the need for wasteful plastic baggies. The containers are reusable, recycleable and dishwasher safe, and are phthalate, BPA and lead-free, giving you peace of mind. And as an added bonus, they come with a recipe quide packed with fun, healthy lunch ideas. Bento boxes starting at $22.99 each: or 831/457-0301 for more information. [Read the full story on page 33.]


Mothering Magazine

Beautiful Obento Boxes

July/August 2009
by Sarah Francis Fujimara

The little compartments of Japanese-style lunches bring order and charm to a traditional brown-bag affair.

Itadakemasu!--literally, "Humbly I receive"--my children, Katie (11) and Andy (9), and I were taught to say this before enjoying a meal in Japan. Each summer, my family spends a month in Japan with my in-laws, trying to connect our children to their Japanese roots. I'm the American half of our Japanese-American family, and one way I like to learn about my husband's language and culture is through food. Though I plead guilty to bringing along a small suitcase full of American comfort foods--instant oatmeal, macaroni and cheese, etc.--I do spend a lot of quality time in the kitchen with my mother-in-law and several of my Japanese mommy friends. It was while in the kitchen with my friend Minako that I learned the art of making obento (boxed meal). [Read the full story on pages 69-71 of the July/August 2009 issue.]


New Retailers

Ellie's Eco Home Store
2525 Arapahoe Avenue
Boulder, CO 80302
(303) 952-1004

Healthy Living Natural Food
222 Dorset Street
South Burlington, VT 05403
(802) 863-2569

Green to Go
3168 Toopal Drive
Oceanside, CA 92058
(818) 335-2338

Half Price Kid Stuff
2675 South Kinnickinnick Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53207
(414) 212-5439

Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum
Washington University
1 Brookings Drive, CB 1214
Saint Louis, MO
(314) 935-9670

Health Foods Unlimited
2250 Miamisburg-Centerville Road
Centerville, OH 45459
(937) 433-5100

Visit for a complete list of retailers.

Want to see Laptop Lunches at a store in your neighborhood? Email us at [email protected], and we'll give them a call.

Ten Do's for Dealing With a Picky Eater

Courtesy of The American Heart Association Web site.

When you get home from a long day at work, the last thing you want to do is wage war over broccoli at the dinner table. That’s why it’s so easy to fall into the trap of making mac-n-cheese or ordering pizza. It keeps you out of an “eat your vegetables” fight. The good news is, getting a picky eater to eat a nutritious meal doesn’t have to be a battle. Here are some tips for dealing with a picky eater.

1. Start by introducing healthier elements into foods that your child already likes. For example, offer blueberry pancakes, carrot muffins, fruit slices over a favorite cereal, chunks of bell pepper in a potato salad, or shredded veggies over rice.

2. Include your kids in the prep work. By being involved in grocery shopping and food preparation, your kids will have more ‘buy-in.’ If they feel some ownership over the meal, they may be more likely to eat it.

3. Don’t buy unhealthy foods. Out of sight, out of mind. If the chips and cookies aren’t around, your kids can’t eat them. They may resist at first, but when they get hungry, they’ll start munching the carrot sticks. Keep healthy foods on hand — 100 percent juice instead of colas or sugary drinks, and a bag of apples instead of a bag of chips.

4. Schedule snack time and stick to it. Most kids like routine. If your kids know they will only get food at certain times, they’ll eat what they get when they get it. Try to have snacks incorporate two food groups. For example, offer cheese and whole-grain crackers or apple slices with low-fat yogurt or cottage cheese.

5. Have healthy finger foods available. Kids like to pick up foods, so give them foods they can handle. Fruit and veggie chunks (raw or cooked) are great finger-food options.

6. Repeal the “clean your plate” rule. Kids know when they’re full, so let them stop. Overeating is one of the major reasons we get too many calories.

7. Encourage kids to “eat their colors.” This game works well with younger kids. Food that’s bland in color often also lacks nutrients. Eating a variety of brightly colored foods provides more nutrients in greater variety.

8. Don’t cut out treats altogether. Think moderation. A scoop of ice cream or a serving of Oreos is all right occasionally. If you cut out all the goodies, your kids will be more likely to overeat when they do get them. Make sure to moderate the treat consumption.

9. Veg out at the dinner table, not the TV. Eating in front of the TV is distracting, and kids may not notice that they’re full because they’re wrapped up in the show. Eating as a family is a great time to catch up.

10. Be a good role model. The best way to influence kids is by example. Don’t expect them to eat spinach if you won’t touch it.

This article was originally posted at the Web site of The American Heart Association. Visit for more information and additional articles.

What Works...Success Stories

"I love your products! I am trying to eat healthier, but it was so hard to keep track of all the different tupperware containers for my food. I found your site by accident and bought my first Laptop Lunch. I just bought another one and two cases today! These make packing my lunch so much easier! I'm down 5 lbs already! Thanks!!! "

        -- Rebecca Cobb, Parlin, NJ

"I just wanted to say how much easier life is with a couple of extra sets of inner containers for the bento box! If I am going to take my lunch to work, the best time for me to prepare it is right when I come home from work. With extra containers, I can pop the containers from today's lunch into the dishwasher, and fill a new set with tomorrow's fare. Thanks again for such a fantastic product!"

        -- Ann Miner, Roslyn, WA

"I just wanted to send a note to let you know how much my family has enjoyed their bento boxes. Not only are they great containers in general, but it is nice to know that I am doing one little thing to reduce my footprint on the planet. Bye bye wasting ziplocs! Thanks for a great product! !"

        -- DF


Do you have a success story or photo to share? Email it to us at [email protected].

Featured Web Site:

the consumer's guide
to the green revolution is designed for people who are interested in being more environmentally-responsible. They feature daily news, tips, recipes and more to help regular people make good earth-friendly choices.

This site has all things green: articles that range from "healthy skin" foods and how to green your diet, to green mortgages, cleansers and green home labels. Find out how to take a great green vacation, how to make your own nontoxic cleansers or learn how to save energy.

Their Ecopedia and search function make it easy to find the information you are looking for.

Also included on the site is The Weird Weather Watch, a climate change photoblog, featuring daily images submitted by the Daily Green community of cell-phone photojournalists. Submit photos and view the galleries.

Enter your city or zip code to locate farms, farmers' markets and other local green food venues and recycling resources near you. Local temperature and air quality reports are also available.

To find out more, visit

On this site:

  • Feature Articles on Nutrition, Gardening, Food Safety, Energy and Much More.
  • Green Tips and Advice
  • News Items
  • Green Home Information
  • Recipes and Safe Food Watch
  • Weird Weather Watch
  • Ecopedia: A to Z of Everything Green

March Highlights

Hearty Whole Grain Recipes, Green Opportunities, and an Obentec Article


Comments, questions, concerns? Please email us at [email protected].

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© February 2010 Obentec, Inc.

849 Almar Ave., Suite C-323
Santa Cruz, CA 95060


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