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Newsletter Archive


January 2010

Laptop Lunch Times:January 2010
January 2010

In this issue, you'll find:

  • From Our Desk to Yours...
  • Favorite Photo
  • Food for Thought: Beans
  • Recipes from
  • Green Opportunities
  • Laptop Lunches in the News
  • New Retailers
  • Junk Food Jealousy: from The Healthy Lunchbox
  • What works...Success Stories
  • Featured Web site:

From Our Desk to Yours...

Happy New Year! We hope 2010 brings you much joy, good health, and prosperity!

We’re looking forward to some exciting new changes in the year ahead. Our Web site will receive a fresh new look with enhanced functionality, we’ll be expanding our school programs, and we’ll be launching some cool, new products in 2010 as well. Finally, we’re introducing a brand new section to this newsletter called Food for Thought, featuring a nutritious monthly ingredient we think you might want to know more about.

Thanks for all your support and for being part of the Laptop Lunches family! Happy 2010!

NEW 2.0 INNER CONTAINER SETS: We're pleased to announce the launch of our NEW Laptop Lunches 2.0 inner container sets, designed to help streamline your lunchmaking routine. When the dirty containers come home, put them in the dishwasher and pack the next day's lunch in the clean set. It works! More information available at:

ORIGINAL BENTO SET PHASE-OUT: We are officially phasing out our original bento set line, though we plan to offer replacement parts for quite some time. We do have a number of black/red and pink sets left in stock. We are now offering them at an extraordinary discount of just $312 for a carton of 24—while supplies last.

NAVY CARRYING CASES: Our original neoprene carrying cases are now on sale for only $15.99 (regularly $17.99). We are discontinuing this item, so if you’ve had your eye on it, this is your chance to order.

Amy and Tammy

Got a favorite photo to share?

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



  • Littlest Petshop Animals
  • Littlest Petshop Accessories

"For years I enjoyed making my daughter lunches in her Laptop Lunch containers. I loved choosing the colors (inner containers) to use for each day's lunch and she loved bringing them to school. Now my daughter's in middle school and no longer uses her Laptop Lunch. So we are left with these wonderful containers that have outlasted their lunchtime use. We still pack them on other occasions, like when we travel, but we’ve also found other uses for them as well. They’re perfect for storing little toys like Littlest Petshop pieces. Thanks Laptop Lunches for making such a strong and enduring product."

                     -- Meg, Santa Cruz, CA

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

Food for Thought: Beans

Beans are a great food to incorporate into your diet. They are low in fat and calories, and high in protein and fiber. Known to be a heart healthy food, beans help lower cholesterol. They come in many varieties and are very versatile. It's easy to add beans to your diet in soups, salads, pastas, dips and casseroles. And they are low cost too!

For lots of recipes, using a variety of beans, visit


  • Great Source of Low Fat Protein
  • Helps Lower Cholesterol
  • Good Source of Dietary Fiber
  • A Heart Healthy Food

Bean Recipes from

These recipes were provided by Meatless Monday, this month's Featured Web site. Scroll down to learn more about them.

Garbanzo Bean Burgers

These hearty burgers are a yummy alternative to meat and will help you cut back on saturated fat.

  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained and mashed
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped *
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped *
  • 1/4 cup small onion, peeled and finely chopped *
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil

*You may choose to saute the veggies first.
It adds a wonderful blend of flavors.

Yield: 6 burger patties

NOTE: Canned beans will also work well if you’re short on time. Just be sure to rinse well to remove excess salt.

1. Mix all ingredients (except the cooking oil) together in a large bowl.
2. Divide to form 6 burger-shaped patties.
3. Fry in a lightly-oiled skillet over medium-high heat until golden brown on one side.
4. Turn and brown the other side.
5. Serve on whole wheat rolls with lettuce and tomato or your favorite condiments.

Great Northern White Chili

Great Northern beans are large and white – and native to North America. They’re most often used in soups and cassoulets.

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained*
  • 1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained*
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles, drained
  • 1 (14-ounce) can white sweet corn, drained

Yield: 8 servings

*Of course, cooked beans work just as well. Allow more time for preparation.

1. Coat a large pot with nonstick cooking spray, then sauté the onion and garlic over medium heat for 3-5 minutes, until tender.
2. Stir frequently so vegetables don’t stick.
3. Empty one can of the Great Northern beans into a food processor blender and process with one cup of the vegetable broth until smooth.
4. Add everything to the pot: the pureed bean mixture, the second can of Great Northern beans, the garbanzo beans, the remaining 3 cups of vegetable broth, chili powder, cumin, oregano, green chiles, and corn. 
5. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cook for 20 minutes.
6. Garnish with a dollop of tomato salsa.

Green Opportunities

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

  • WINTERIZE YOUR HOME FOR MAXIMUM ENERGY SAVINGS Looking for eco-friendly ways of keeping your house warm and weatherproofed? GreenTips 365 has gathered 7 tips to help you go green by saving energy. These will also help lower your heating bills and save you money. Check it out at:

  • TOP 10 FREE GREEN IPHONE APPLICATIONS Did you know that you could use your iPhone to download green apps? has compiled a list of 10 applications that can help you help the environment. Search for green restaurants, find healthy recipes, get green travel tips, and more. To find out what each of the apps has to offer, visit:

  • A GREAT RESOURCE PAGE Here's a place to find yummy vegetarian recipes and also learn more about the main ingredients. has been posting their weekly newsletter for the past five years. Their archives page is a great resource for finding articles on the health benefits of specific foods, and learning about new products.They also provide information on a variety of organizations and actions you can take to make a difference. Check it out at:


  • THE VEGETARIAN FOOD PYRAMID The American Dietetic Association has established a new food pyramid, providing guidelines for vegetarians and vegans. You can find the chart, along with nutritional information from the Loma Linda University, School of Public Health. Check it out at:

Laptop Lunches in the News

Self Magazine

31 Ways to Eat and Slim

January 2010

#19 Bento Box It: Practice portion control by toting your midday meal in a bento box, a Japanese-style food tray. The size reminds you to stick to sane servings: “You can’t fit a giant hero in there, but you can put half of a small sandwich or cut-up turkey and lowfat cheese, some grapes, a salad and a small dessert,” Fernstrom says. Order one at [Read the full story on pages 92-102 in the January issue of Self Magazine.]


The Daily Table

Meatless Monday: Pack a Healthy Lunch

October 2009

Food products created just for kids are a relatively new phenomenon; back in the day, children ate the same foods that grown-ups did, only in smaller quantities.

In recent decades, however, we’ve witnessed the rise of ‘fun’, kid-centric cuisine–i.e., those processed foods plastered with cartoon characters that enthrall tots and appall their mothers, turning the center aisles of the supermarket into a minefield (or, more accurately, a whinefield). Weary parents routinely cave in and buy the real-life equivalent of Calvin and Hobbe’s chocolate frosted sugar bombs to defuse an exploding toddler in the breakfast cereal aisle.

Of course, during this same period, we’ve also seen a dramatic increase in childhood obesity and Type 2 diabetes, a disease once seen only in adults. [Read the full story at:]

Best Health Magazine

Let's Do Lunch

November/December 2009

Busy Moms will thank you for this kids' bento box: no more squished sandwiches or soggy salads. It's free of phthalates, BPA and lead. ($38, 19x29x6 cm,

New Retailers

Orange Tree Imports
1721 Monroe Street
Madison, WI 53711
(608) 255-8211

Earth Fare Chattanooga 420
1814 Gunbarrel Road, Suite 100
Chattanooga, TN 37421
(423) 855-2511

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.

The Healthy Lunchbox:

How to Plan, Prepare & Pack Stress-Free Meals Kids Will Love
by Marie McClendon and Christy Shauck

Excerpts from their chapter on "Junk Food Jealousy"

The Healthy Lunchbox is loaded with flavorful recipes, menus and tips to help you give your children healthy lunch-on-the-go alternatives. This upbeat guide is full of healthy alternatives to junk food-laden lunches. It is a resource designed to rescue you from the mundane and stressful task of figuring out how to pack a healthy lunch that your kids will actually eat.

Marie McClendon has an M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education and 12 years of experience teaching in public and private schools. She is the mother of four and has packed thousands of lunches and seen thousands of children's lunchroom antics.

Cristy Shauck is a journalist for the Denver Metro publication "Kids' Pages," a long-time freelance writer/editor focused on nutrition and education.


Remember wanting a classmate's Hershey chocolate bar and having to catch the drool on the way down? Guess what? Things haven't changed. Junk food jealousy may be the biggest obstacle to healthy lunches, especially if eating healthy is a new lunchtime trend. Staring across the table at another kid's Snickers, chips, and soda may instigate some of these silent, and not so silent, thoughts from your kids:

• "She gets more desserts than I do."
• "When did my parents decide they won't go within 10 feet of a Twinkie?"
• "Boy; that snack looks cool."
• "I feel left out."
• "Wonder if she'd notice if I took a little bite out of that."

Before listing numerous ways to make food more appealing, we want to say that usually what the child misses is the social experience of eating what peers are eating rather than the actual taste experience. Kids don't like to be left out of the experiences of their peers (see the bazillion two-month fads you've probably already gone through). On the flip side, kids love to be trendsetters. If you can whip up meals that other kids drool over, just try and stop your kids from eating them. It's your job, and it's a doozie, to help your kids first understand that eating healthier is here to stay (think seatbelts), and second, help bridge the gap so the jealousy bug doesn't bite quite as often.


1. Get your child involved in the lunch-making process.
Kids are way more likely to eat food that they've prepared themselves. If they feel a sense of ownership, they have a tangible attachment to the healthier option.

2. Offer healthier substitutions that maintain the spirit of the original.

3. Find acceptable ways to trade.
Kids trade lunches just to trade. It's fun. It's a friendship thing. It's getting away from eating the same ol' things. Marie's daughter trades jerky for Jell-O, Must be a “J” thing! Ask your child what they like to trade and then you'll know what to pack for a high-quality food transaction. The thing to stress is "healthy food for healthy food." Let your kids know that if that homemade fruit leather is going for a candy bar, they got a bum deal. Nobody likes to he on the wrong end of a trade, or, shall we say; no body likes to be on the wrong end of a trade.

Kids who have special dietary concerns, like kids with diabetes or celiac disease, can trade, too. You just need to make sure the trades fit in nicely with their meal plans.

4. You can catch more kids with flavor than with fiber.
If you only buy whole grain macaroni and nobody eats it, you've won the battle and lost the war. Instead, buy what they want and sprinkle in fiber, such as oat bran, rice bran, or wheat germ.

  • Ask them to smell jars of spices and herbs then pick their favorites.
  • Go back and look at your interview sheets for favorite flavors or offer a taste test for sauces and dips like salsa, hummus, or yogurt.

5. Cool looks--it's a fun thing.
You can get a lot of mileage out of this tip. Kids respond to visual cues from their food. A cucumber can sit on a plate forever, but a cucumber-radish-asparagus man gets gobbled up in seconds. Ways to spiff it up:

  • Dip fruit in orange, lemon, or pineapple juice. This keeps them looking fresh and tasty all day long.
  • For young children, cut food in bite-size pieces. Julienne style is a fancy term for very thinly sliced veggies like carrots.
  • Offer nori or California rolls to introduce kids to the Japanese art of food presentation.
  • Send lunch wrapped like a present, with card and a fun note in tow.
  • Use snazzy paper muffin cups.
  • Employ some lunchbox feng shui. Make the vegetable or fruit the centerpiece, using plenty of eye-appealing arrangement and flavor.
  • Add a dash of sprinkles to a treat. Those little guys are kid magnets.
  • Use a large glass or cookie cutters to cut out circles or make age appropriate appealing shapes for sandwiches.
  • There are all kinds of shapes for pasta, and the sillier the better. Keep an eye out for something a little more interesting than elbow macaroni.
  • Pack straws, the sillier the better.
  • Arrange fruit or vegetables in rainbow order on nonfat cream cheese or hummus in a container: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple.
  • Dazzle them with a flash of color by snazzing up bags and containers with stickers or magic marker art (tricks of the advertising trade).

6. Educate to motivate.
Knowledge is a powerful tool. We underestimate our kids sometimes and forget that they operate on reason just like adults (sometimes, much more often than adults). Kids need to understand that eating healthy is not just some arbitrary decision designed to punish. Plus, you can use experience to get your point across. Even very young children can connect the outcome of'overeating junk food versus good food-good feeling. Ask your child to notice how they feel after eating certain foods from each side. They may not even notice this until you point it out. This puts more responsibility on them and helps take the nagging out of the picture.

Ask your librarian for children's books on healthy eating. There are tons of interesting stories that stress the importance of a healthy diet. We've also listed some kid-friendly books and educational websites in the resources section in the back of the book.

The Healthy Lunchbox is available for purchase at Visit
for details.

What Works...Success Stories

"Just wanted you to know I was looking for some ideas for my 85 year old mother who has recently come to live with us. She doesn't want to eat much and has been on her own so preparing healthy meals was not something she could do alone. Your lunches are just the thing for me to fix and give her for lunch each day. It doesn't need to be a lot of food, but I have been at a loss for what things to offer and how to make it appealing for her. Thanks for your great site. I sent your site to my daughter who has 2 boys, 3 1/2 and 18 months. The older is a picky eater and she is very excited to try some of your ideas. Thanks again. "

        -- Gayle, Rancho Cordova, CA

"I just wanted to write to tell you how much we enjoy our lunch boxes. I feel so proud of how beautiful and healthy my boys' lunches are - and a little envious that no one is fixing me such a well balanced, aesthetically pleasing, and delicious lunch to discover at lunchtime. The compartments make it easy to balance colors, food groups, and textures. Today's menu was curried chicken with rice, sliced strawberries, steamed broccoli, carrot "pennies", and bunny grahams. Tomorrow is baked potato, cheddar cheese, broccoli, apple slices, and a cookie. Yum! Thank you for a great product. "

        -- Lisa, Ed, Theo, and Toby Katz-Seidel, Damariscotta, ME

"Greetings from the Midwest! I am writing to thank you for creating such a perfect lunch case. I have been using my kit (purchased at Whole Foods in Naperville, IL) for the past month and aside from my regular yoga and mild running, I have finally begun to lose weight. Sad but true, my lunches in the past were costing me an average of $30+ week and hundreds of extra calories. Thank you soooo much for creating such an awesome and rewarding product. BTW, I get tons of compliments on the product!"

        -- Julia J. Vazquez, Aurora IL


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

Featured Web Site:

There's a growing movement of people and organizations who commit every Monday to the behaviors and actions that will help end preventable disease in the U.S.

Meatless Monday is one of those initiatives. Their goal is to help reduce meat consumption in order to improve personal health and the health of our planet. They provide the information and recipes needed to start each week with healthy, environmentally friendly meat-free alternatives.

Going meatless once a week may reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. It can also help reduce your carbon footprint and save precious resources like fresh water and fossil fuel.

Meatless Monday is a non-profit initiative of The Monday Campaigns, in association with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

To find out more, visit

On this site:

  • Articles on a Wide Variety of Topics
  • Large Selection of Recipes
  • Interviews with Experts
  • Seasonal Food Picks
  • Recipe Videos
  • Recommendations and Reviews on Books, Films and Web sites

February Highlights

Recipes with Oats, Green Opportunities, and an Obentec Article


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

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© January 2010 Obentec, Inc.

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


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