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May 2009

Laptop Lunch Times: May 2009
May 2009


In this issue, you'll find:

  • From Our Desk to Yours...
  • Favorite Photo
  • On-the-go Quick Fix Meals
  • Green Opportunities
  • Laptop Lunches in the News
  • New Retailers
  • Simple Food for Busy Families: The Benefits of Eating Seasonally
  • What works...Success Stories
  • Featured Web site: www.dividetheride.com

From Our Desk to Yours...

Happy spring! Now that the weather's warming up, we hope you're able to spend more time outdoors, moving around and enjoying the fresh air.

LUNCH JARS: All stainless items are back in stock! We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience. To place your order, please visit our Web store at www.laptoplunches.com.

pink bento box


PINK BENTO SETS: We still have some cases of overrun pink bento sets available for purchase online at www.laptoplunches.com. Stay tuned for more exciting new products in the coming months!

BENTO SLEEVE SPECIAL: We've got a handful of discontinued bento sleeves on sale for only $8 -- while supplies last. More information can be found at www.laptoplunches.com. Click on "On Sale this Month" for more information.
bento sleeve
lunchboxes

Need to replace a lost or damaged container or lid? They're available in select colors online at www.laptoplunches.com -- while supplies last.

Amy and Tammy

Got a favorite photo to share?

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

"My friend, a distributor for Laptop Lunches, encouraged me to send you this photo of my daughter enjoying her bento box on the beach. She didn't like the ocean or the sand but kept busy with her snacks in the beach chair. It's also a lifesaver on airplanes and when we're driving on day trips. She's eating from it right now, actually! We love it!!!!"

                     -- Faye Holland, Austin, TX

  • Cheerios
  • Annie's cheddar bunnies
  • Graham crackers
  • Green grapes


On-the-go Quick Fix Meals

Looking for some easy menus that can be made on short order? Try these!

Fresh Vegetable Roll-ups



  • Sliced Pear
  • Fresh Vegetable Roll-ups
  • Carrot Chips
  • Cashews
Roll-ups
1. Slice a pear and place it in the lidded container.
2. Add some carrot chips to one of the medium containers.
3. Place a handful of cashews (or other nuts) into the other medium container.
4. Prepare the fresh vegetable roll-ups:
 
  • Lay a sheet of whole wheat lavash on the counter. (A whole wheat tortilla can also be used.)
  • Spread thinly sliced avocado across the surface.
  • Layer on top of that: baby spinach leaves, shredded carrots, shredded cucumbers, and chopped scallions.
  • Sprinkle with a few drops of balsamic vinegar, roll it up, and slice it into manageable pieces. Feel free to experiement with other vegetables you have on hand.

Avocado and Mango



  • Sliced Mango
  • Cubed Firm Tofu
  • 1/2 Avocado
  • Whole Grain Crackers
  • Wasabi Ginger Dressing
Avocado and Mango
1. Peel and cube a mango and place it in the large lidded container.
2. Cut an avocado in half and add it to the large square container.
3. Cube the firm tofu and place it in one of the medium containers.
4. Pack a handful of whole grain crackers in the other medium container.
5. Pour some wasabi ginger (or another) dressing into the little dip container.


Green Opportunities

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

fruits and vegetables
  • MIDDLE SCHOOLER SOLVES OBESITY CRISIS – Willie was surprised by one of his middle school homework assignments, which was designed to teach him how to maintain a normal body weight. Watch the video to see what Willie discovers. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCT1NjFpjrE.
plastic bag bans
Hummus Pinwheels



Laptop Lunches in the News

Family Fun Magazine - April 2009

Let's Go Green

By Alicia Potter

April 2009

Family Fun Magazine

"What can a family do to protect the environment? Plenty, say the grand-prize winners of the FamilyFun Volunteers Contest: Green Edition. And whether they are collecting recyclables or creating an elementary-school garden, these families have discovered that working on behalf of the planet pays off in personal ways as well."

Says Heather CanMarten of Manahawkin, New Jersey, "I got my son, Raymond, a bento lunch box from Laptop Lunches. It has five containers as well as a water bottle, fork, and spoon, so it's really helped us cut down on waste. It's made making lunches more fun, as I've become creative with the foods I put in the containers..."

[Read the rest of the article at: http://familyfun.go.com/arts-and-crafts/organizing-ideas/feature/ff0409-green-volunteering/ff0409-green-volunteering.html.]

The Oregonian

Your climate-friendly kitchen

By Leslie Cole

April 21, 2009

Take some simple steps toward a low-carbon diet

It's nearly Earth Day, and Mother is calling. More than ever, she needs our help.

Remember that little global warming problem? Turns out that the food sector is responsible for about one-third of those greenhouse gases.

Thanks to a new tool called Life Cycle Analysis, scientists can pinpoint much more precisely what foods produce those climate-warming gases, and what stage in their "life cycle" is most carbon-intensive. Hint: There's more to it than transportation, or food miles traveled.

The results show some clear steps all of us can take to a more climate-friendly diet.

[Read the rest of the article: www.oregonlive.com/foodday/index.ssf/2009/04/your_climatefriendly_kitchen.html.]


New Retailers

Whole Foods Market
151 Rice Lake Square
Wheaton, IL 60189
(630) 588-1500


Cramptons Market
1765 Waverly Street
Winnipeg, MB R3T 4T7
(204) 269-3355


Pangaea 
1435 Grandview Avenue
Columbus, OH 43212
(614) 486-2611


Eco Baby & Kids
3938 South Peoria Avenue
Tulsa, OK 74105
(918) 398-8575


Learning Express Toys
197 Damonte Ranch Parkway, Suite D
Reno, NV 89521
(775) 853-7884

Oceana Natural Foods
159 S.E. 2nd Street
New Port, OR 97365
(541) 265-8285


Visit www.laptoplunches.com/retail.html 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.



Simple Food for Busy Families: The Benefits of Eating Seasonally

By Jeannette Bessinger and Tracee Yablon Brenner

Adapted from Whole Life Nutrition: A Simple Approach to Nourishing Busy Families, March, 2009 Ten Speed Press / Random House Publishing

"Eating seasonally” means consuming foods that grow naturally in our local environment in each season. Prior to the turn of the century, people had no choice but to eat this way.

Simple Food

But with the advent of electric refrigeration, commercial food preservation and mass agricultural transport came liberation from the constraints of the local climate: people could keep food for longer periods and have access to foods that were grown in other areas. A more recent development in food availability was the birth of the supermarket chain, which provides continual year-round access to all kinds of foods from all over the world. But with unlimited access to world produce comes a dissociation from the local environment—the land and the climate, and the food it produces.

Most people aren’t even aware that an organic synchronicity exists between the plants that grow in the ground and the animals (including us!) that eat them. The human body must adapt in a variety of ways to the challenges presented by each season. And here’s one of nature’s secrets: the foods from a particular season can help the body meet those challenges, such as combating colds, allergies, and weight gain. Thus, being separated from this system and eating out-of-season foods from elsewhere in the world can upset the delicate natural balance of our bodies, creating a variety of health issues.

How does this apply to us as parents?

Adding some local and seasonal foods to the regular family diet helps us tolerate the changes of each season. We become more resilient to winter infections and spring allergies, and our digestion gradually strengthens and improves. In short, we can paddle downstream with the current of physiological changes that occur in nature and in our bodies each season, not fighting against it.

Each season generates certain conditions, such as extra heat or moisture, and those conditions have an effect on our bodies. In turn, eating certain foods can generate similar or complementary bodily “conditions," such as cooling or drying. By understanding the specific qualities of each season, we can choose certain foods to balance out that season’s impact on our bodies.

Much of our information here about the seasonal properties of foods is drawn from two excellent books on the subject: Staying Healthy with the Seasons by Dr. Elson Haas and The 3-Season Diet by Dr. John Douillard. We recommend that you read these books for a more thorough exploration of these concepts.

Easy Ways to Add Local, Seasonal Foods to Your Diet

Support your local growers: Look for farm stands or farmers’ markets in your area. They grow plants and raise animals on your region’s native soil. As an added bonus, those foods will likely be of high quality, as they will be sold closer to their harvest, and therefore will be fresher. Many farmers’ markets participate in state programs for low-income families, such as WIC, so you can even use food assistance checks. Not all farms that participate in farmers’ markets are organic farms, so remember to seek out the organic farms first! Buying local produce has an additional environmental benefit: the food does not have to be mass-transported, so it has a lesser impact on climate change.

Look for seasonal produce in your grocery stores: If you have no access to local growers, pay attention to the most plentiful produce in your grocery store. The most prominent bins may contain fresh seasonal items.

Grow it yourself: It’s actually quite easy to cultivate a small vegetable garden. If you have no yard, check to see whether there are any community gardens in your area. If you don’t have access to any land, you can still grow vegetables indoors or on a small patio in growing tubs called EarthBoxes (www.earthbox.com). Gardening has many added benefits for children. It’s fun, and it teaches them about the connection between nature and food. It seems miraculous to them, and they are usually eager to try the foods they have grown themselves. It’s also a creative and effective way to introduce them to new fruits and vegetables.

Spring: Wet Weather and Your Body

In the spring, everything begins to thaw. With the thaw and the spring rains, the earth becomes saturated with moisture. Unsurprisingly, so does your body! It too tends to carry extra “moisture” in the spring, often in the form of leftover winter mucus and extra fat. To counteract this, you can eat some gently drying foods and engage in activities that help rid your body of the excess moisture.

As the weather begins to warm and the earth begins to freshen, it’s an excellent time to get outside in the gentle sun and enjoy some moderate regular exercise, such as family walks. Spring is nature’s time of renewal, and the green shoots that are the hallmark of this season are packed with nutrients. These early greens also have a bitter, drying quality that is an excellent antidote to the excess fat and mucus in the body.

Lighten up your diet after the winter: let go of heavier, fattier foods and begin to eat more seasonal vegetables, especially leafy greens. If you spend more time outside, increase your physical activity, and feast on the spring greens, you will trigger your body’s natural seasonal fat metabolism, and the extra winter weight will begin to come off on its own with very little effort.

Drying foods include:

  • Clean, fresh water to help flush out the excess mucus and fats
  • Bitter spring greens--like collards and turnip greens--to stimulate digestion.
  • Young salad vegetables--such as baby turnips and radishes--for their tonifying effect on the body
  • Sprouts of all kinds for texture and rich nutrients such as chlorophyll, a power pack of vital energy
  • Beans of all kinds, especially lentils and limas, for their cleansing effects
  • Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and hazelnuts for their nutrients and lighter fats
  • Turmeric for its anti-inflammatory benefits




Jeannette Bessinger, CHHC and Tracee Yablon Brenner, RD, CHHC are both passionate nutrition educators and whole food cooks. Together they are the Real Food Moms™. Their common experiences as mothers and nutrition professionals, and shared vision for healthier families, have inspired them to write a series of books: Whole Life Nutrition: A Simple Approach to Nourishing Busy Families (for families with school-aged kids) and Great Expectations: Your Baby’s Best Food (for families with babies and toddlers).

Their newest enterprise is a Web site, www.realfoodmoms.com, designed to make cooking with real foods easy, tasty and fast. Look for their launch in mid May 2009. As The Real Food Moms, they deeply believe in the power of American families to heal themselves, and have committed their professional lives to supporting that effort.



What Works...Success Stories

"Thanks! my 3 year old is the picky eater of the family, if it's green or belongs to the veggie family, he won't eat it. I just wanted to say the lunch baggies still full of food have stopped coming home. For a 3-year-old getting the food out of those baggies is a hassle. Now he opens his lunch and digs in. It's our ritual now that when we get in the car to go home, we open the lunch to see what is left, and he eats that on the way home for snack. One day I packed cucumbers which he says he doesn't like. They were the only thing he had left, but he ate every single one on the ride home!!!! I can lay the box open on the passenger seat, see what he wants at a glance, and I'm not fumbling with baggies to pass him the food. My hands stay clean, and his diet has so improved!"

        -- Renae A.

"Hello Obentec team! Many thank-you's from my daughter and I! We both love our new Laptop Lunchboxes. I ordered from your Web site, and the order was quick and arrived in perfect condition. I get compliments from colleagues at work, and I send them the info with a link to your site. My daughter and I have started a new routine in the evenings where we prepare our lunches. She likes to chop up the vegetables, 'all by herself'! I have subscribed to your newsletter, and I am looking forward to discovering new lunch ideas. Thank you so much for a great product!"

        -- Natalie, Ottawa, Canada

"When my son started preschool four years ago, we bought a cheap vinyl lunchbox for him. After reading of a recall regarding his lunchbox, we were looking for something better. I ran across an article about Laptop Lunches, and I was hooked! My sons (ages 7 and 8) have been using your lunchboxes for 3 and 4 years, respectively. These lunchboxes take A LOT of abuse -- these two rough and tumble boys take lunch 4 out of 5 school days, and we are still using all of the original components. Only now, after four years, am I starting to see some parts that could use replacing. I just ordered a Bento set for "parts" along with a new one for my husband and myself. Thank you for an incredible and dependable product that helps me pack creative and nutrious meals in an earth-friendly way!"

        -- Gwen Schroeder, La Crescent, MN


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


Featured Web Site: http://www.DivideTheRide.com

Divide the Ride

Carpooling is a great way to Go Green while saving time and gas.

With Divide The Ride you can easily create a kids' carpool with families you know and trust. Best of all, kids love carpooling too!.

For more information, visit http://www.DivideTheRide.com.




On this site:

  • Start a Carpool
  • Help Families
  • Use the CarLine Manager
  • Become a Team Leader
  • Use the Mapping Feature
  • Tell a Friend


June Highlights

Summer Fun, Green Opportunities, and an Obentec Article


Obentec

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

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© May 2009 Obentec, Inc.

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