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September 2004

Laptop Lunch Times: September 2004

September 2004

Back to School...

A big thanks to everyone who sent in Oprah contacts, near contacts, and information about other media opportunities. We're moving forward on all your leads and will continue to keep you posted.

We hope you all had a wonderful summer and are ready to begin a new school year. Make this the year that you avoid the lunchmaking rut. Sit down with your children and a copy of the Quick Reference Lunch Guide (page 87 of the User's Guide) and ask them to circle the items they would like to have for lunch. Giving them the choice will increase the likelihood that they will eat and enjoy the food you prepare. Take your Quick Lunch Reference Guide to the market. Laminate it and keep it in your purse for inspiration while shopping. Take advantage of the start of the new school year to incorporate some of those nutrition changes you’ve wanted to make.

New colors a big hit!!!

Our staff has been working at full speed to keep up with the overwhelming number of orders for our new colors! We had no idea they would be this popular. Thanks for your support and for letting your friends and relatives know about the health, environmental, and financial benefits of packing Laptop Lunches for school, work, and travel.


In this issue, you'll find:

  • Back to School Snacks
  • Green Opportunities
  • Laptop Lunches in the News
  • Featured Web site:
  • What works...Success Stories

Back to School Snacks

Looking for some fresh snack ideas? Read on...

School Snacks

  • Popcorn sprinkled with parmesan cheese

  • Sesame bread sticks dipped in marinara sauce

  • Homemade string cheese--Cut a block of mozzarella into cubed strips.

  • Steamed edamame (whole soy beans in the pod, available in the freezer section of most natural foods stores or Asian specialty stores)

  • Sourdough pretzels dipped in mustard

  • Baked tortilla chips and fresh chunky tomato salsa

  • Pita triangles dipped in Ranch-Cottage Cheese dip--Blend nonfat cottage cheese with a small amount of Ranch dressing.

  • Trail mix

After-school Snacks

  • Frozen banana rolled in chopped nuts-- Roll a ripe (or over-ripe) banana in chopped nuts of your choice and freeze.

  • Fruit Smoothie--Blend your choice of fruit, ice, a dollop of nonfat yogurt (or soy yogurt) and a splash of nonfat milk (or soy milk).

  • Berry Parfait--Alternate layers of berries and nonfat vanilla yogurt. Sprinkle top with granola.

  • Frozen Grapes (Might pose a choking hazard to younger children. Do not serve to children under 5 years of age.)

  • Hummus on endive or romaine--Fill a leaf of endive or romaine lettuce with hummus.

  • Pistachios--Shelling slows the kids down long enough to talk about their day!

  • Whole wheat crackers with peanut butter

  • Lavash crackers with lowfat goat cheese, pesto, and sun-dried tomatoes

Green Opportunities

We thought we'd take a minute to pass on a few earth-friendly tidbits that have landed in our office in recent weeks.

  • Some long distance phone companies like Working Assets and Red Jellyfish donate a portion of profits to environmental organizations. Consider making the switch.

  • Want to support the environment? Vote for candidates with a strong environmental record. Visit the League of Conservation Voters at to view the environmental score cards of candidates on your ballot. If you're not currently registered to vote, or if you need to update your registration, visit for a voter registration form.

  • Purchase recycled content toilet paper, paper towels, facial tissue and napkins. Seventh Generation, manufacturer of recycled paper products, estimates that if every household in the United States replaced just one roll of 500-sheet virgin fiber toilet paper with a roll of 100 percent recycled tissue, we would save 1 million cubic feet of landfill space (equal to 1,600 full garbage trucks), 153 million gallons of water, and prevent 423,900 trees from being flushed down the toilet. Start with just one roll. You never know where it might lead.

  • Find out what a truly green economy would look like at Green Festival 2004 (September 18-19 in Washington, DC and November 6-7 in San Francisco), featuring fair trade retailers, organic food sellers, renewable energy innovators, inspiring speakers, and much more. Visit for more information. If you do attend the San Francisco festival, please stop by the Laptop Lunches booth and introduce yourself!

  • The Frugal Environmentalist newsletter features practical advice on topics such as making your own cleaning products and insect repellent, reducing the amount of junk mail your receive, and tips for low-impact computing. Visit their Web site at

  • Non-profit E Magazine contains valuable information and in-depth stories on all aspects related to the environment. For a free trial , click here.

  • Many landfills and recycling facilities across North America conduct educational tours, a wonderful way to find out exactly where your trash goes and what your local recycling requirements are. For contact information, visit your local government Web site and click on the link to the landfill. Please be advised that not all landfills are open to visitors, so call ahead. On August 4th we took a field trip to the Buena Vista landfill in Santa Cruz County. It was educational, informative, and fun--a special thanks to Mari Segura, Kasey Kolassa, and Albert Eslit!

Laptop Lunches in the News


For more information, contact:

Amy Hemmert
Obentec, Inc.
(831) 457-0301 (phone)
(831) 430-0302 (fax)
[email protected]

Hot New Containers Make Home-packed Lunches Cool

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. - August 19, 2004 - Obentec, Inc. (, makers of the Laptop Lunch System, has launched two new back-to-school colors. With homemade lunches making a comeback, it's no surprise that more and more families are packing Laptop Lunches. They're good for the body, good for the planet, and good for the pocketbook.

Laptop Lunches--a cool alternative to disposable lunches and school lunches high in fat, sugar, and sodium--provide relief to families in their battle against childhood obesity. "Laptop Lunches make fresh fruits and vegetables fun," says Lisa Mansfield, mother of two. "My kids love the colorful compartments, especially the little dip container for ranch dressing."

Laptop Lunches provide a waste-free alternative to costly disposable packaging that schools must haul off to the nation's landfills. In fact, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation estimates that packing a waste-free lunch will eliminate approximately 67 pounds of garbage per student from the waste stream annually. Finally, families that pack Laptop Lunches instead of disposable lunches can save about $230 per person per school year.

Inspired by the Japanese bento box, the Laptop Lunch container features a hinged outer container, four inner food containers, a dip container, and a set of utensils. The insulated carrying case resembles a laptop bag with a handle, shoulder strap, ID tag, water bottle, and mesh pocket for an ice pack (not included). The Laptop Lunch User's Guide packs 96 pages of fresh ideas for making wholesome lunches that kids (and adults) love. It features strategies for improving lunchtime nutrition and reducing waste, tips for picky eaters, lunch menus, and creative recipes.

Laptop Lunches are now available in three colors: PRIMARY--a blue outer container with inner containers in red, green, yellow, purple, and teal, WHIMSICAL--a purple outer container with inner containers in bright green, orange, teal, and periwinkle, and PERIWINKLE--a blue outer container with all inner containers in periwinkle.

Obentec, Inc. was founded by two Santa Cruz, California moms, Amy Hemmert and Tammy Pelstring, whose mission is to improve the health of our children and the environment. Laptop Lunches are available at and through select retailers nationwide.

What Works...Success Stories

  • "I managed to schedule two summer activities for my daughter, leaving only half an hour to get from one to the next and eat lunch. On the first day of this craziness, I packed laptop lunches for my 5 and 3 year old to eat in the car. On the second day, I told them we would just pick up McDonald's, thinking they would think this was a huge treat. My daughter said, 'No, I want my peanut butter and jelly.' In fact, what she wanted was her Laptop Lunch! She now insists that I do this each day so she can have her carrots and dip."

       --Ann Bieneman, Bloomfield, MI


  • "We got our first Laptop Lunch a year and a half ago at Rainbow Grocery in San Francisco and have been avid fans ever since. We're trying to convert all our friends! "

       -- Karen Wiederholt, San Francisco, CA

  • "I ordered two Laptop Lunches last year for my kids – I saw your article in either Parents or Working Mother magazine in 2003. I have a 2 ½ year old and a 3 ½ year old – so they bring them to preschool with them! I think they are great – and all the teachers love them! I am able to control the portions better and I think it is great that they can see their whole lunch – and the spaces allow for a variety of fruits, crackers, vegetables, etc. I decided that washing them at night is not all that much fun, so I ordered two extra sets of inner containers – plus I like the new colors you have."

       -- Becky Lowe, Newton, MA

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

Featured Web Site:

  Visit to download a handy wallet card called The Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce. It contains two lists: 12 fresh fruits and vegetables that are consistently the most contaminated with pesticides and 12 fruits and vegetables that have the lowest pesticide residue levels. Click here to download pesticide guide.  

Tips from the Environmental Working Group:

  • For the most contaminated items, substitute organically grown produce whenever possible. When this is not an option, continue to eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, but use this guide to buy produce with lower pesticide residues.

  • Adjusting your eating habits can lower your intake of pesticides -- sometimes dramatically so. Substitute organic for conventional produce that is consistently contaminated with pesticides. When organic is not available, eat fruits and vegetables with consistently low pesticide loads.

"An EWG simulation of thousands of consumers eating high and low pesticide diets shows that people can lower their pesticide exposure by 90 percent by avoiding the top twelve most contaminated fruits and vegetables and eating the least contaminated instead. Eating the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables will expose a person to nearly 20 pesticides per day, on average. Eating the 12 least contaminated will expose a person to a fraction over 2 pesticides per day. Less dramatic comparisons will produce less dramatic reductions, but without doubt using the Guide provides people with a way to make choices that lower pesticide exposure in the diet."

October Highlights

Maximizing leftovers, stylish eco-friendly designs, and innovative shopping alternatives!

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

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© September 2004, by Obentec, Inc.


Feel free to reprint or forward this newsletter with the following acknowledgment and contact information clearly visible: "Thank you to Obentec, Inc. for permission to use this copyrighted material. For more information, contact Obentec, Inc. by email at [email protected] or by phone at 831-457-0301, or visit their Web site at Reprint permission granted with this full notice included."