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December 2009

Laptop Lunch Times: December2009
December 2009

In this issue, you'll find:

  • From Our Desk to Yours...
  • Favorite Photo
  • Salad Dressing and Dip Recipes
  • Green Opportunities
  • Laptop Lunches in the News
  • New Retailers
  • Lunchbox Ideas: by The Real Food Moms
  • What works...Success Stories
  • Featured Web site:

From Our Desk to Yours...

It’s hard to believe that yet another year has come and gone! We’d like to take a moment to thank you for all your support this past year and to let you know that we look forward to providing you with nutritious, waste-free lunch ideas, recipes, and menus in 2010.

Wishing you a very happy and healthy holiday season and a wonderful year ahead!

LUNCH JARS: Our small stainless steel lunch jars, great for soups, stews and salads, are finally back in stock! We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience. To place your order, please visit our Web store at Orders will be processed in the order they are received.

LUNCH DATES: Our Lunch Dates (Designer and Hemp) are now back in stock! We have extended our special price of $69.99 (regularly $124.99 and $114.99 respectively) through the holiday season. We do have a limited number, so we recommend orderinig early.

WISH LIST: Our Web store Wish List is an ideal way to let family and friends know that you’re hoping to receive Laptop Lunches this holiday season. Create your Laptop Lunches Wish List quickly and easily in just 3 simple steps. Step 1: Click Wish List on the right-hand side of the Online Store page and type in a few details. Step 2: Click on an item you’d like to add to your list and then click Add to Wish List. Step 3: Click to email the list to family and friends. It’s as easy as 1-2-3!

LAPTOP LUNCHES AFFILIATE PROGRAM: Our new affiliate program is officially up and running! Please email us at [email protected] if you’re interested in learning more about how you can benefit when you recommend Laptop Lunches to your blog readers, Web visitors, friends, family, and fans.

JOIN US ON FACEBOOK: With over 3200 Laptop Lunches Facebook fans, is a great place to share lunch ideas and photos, join in on lunch-packing discussions, and pick up some clever lunch-making tips and strategies.

PINK BENTO SETS: We still have some cases of overrun pink bento sets available for purchase online at This box of 24 bento sets is the best deal in town, whether you're purchasing for a school, an organization, a birthday party, or a group of friends!


SAN FRANCISCO GREEN FESTIVAL: A good time was had by all at this wonderful sustainability event! Thanks for all your support: for stopping by our booth, chatting, purchasing Laptop Lunches, and joining the Laptop Lunches family. Looking forward to seeing you again in 2010!

Amy and Tammy

Got a favorite photo to share?

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

  • Schnitzel
  • Fried Apples and Onions
  • Pineapple Chunks
  • Corn

"I love the Laptop Lunches, and I don't have kids. People at my work are very envious when I walk from the microwave with my cute homemade lunch. It is much, much easier to skip going out to eat when I have an adorable lunch!

I have actually been about to fall asleep and then had the horrifying thought, 'Oh no! I have nothing made for lunch tomorrow!' I have gotten out of bed and made a stir fry in 20 minutes, and packed my lunch. It's such a cute product, and it makes eating leftovers fun. As Stacy Julian (scrapbooking author and celebrity) says in her latest book (Photo Freedom): 'When you get things out of a cute container, you feel cute!' So thanks! I like it when I feel cute eating leftovers!"

                     -- Michelle, Illinois (a big fan)

Salad Dressing and Dip Recipes

These recipes were provided to us by the Real Food Moms, Jeannette Bessinger and Tracee Yablon-Brenner.

Barley Black Bean Salad with Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

This Barley Black Bean Salad makes a great warm weather dinner, and chills up nicely for a Laptop Lunch the next day.

  • 1 cup pearled barley*
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 can (15 oz) drained black beans, canned, no salt added
  • 1 cup corn, preferably organic (If using frozen, place in hot water for a few minutes to thaw.)

*You could replace the barley with 1½ - 2 cups leftover brown rice, if you have it handy.

Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup water

Yield: 6 (1-cup) servings

1. Rinse barley and cook as directed on the package.
2. Rinse black beans and add to a large bowl.
3. Add diced red peppers and corn to black beans.
4. In a small bowl add vinegar, lime juice, garlic powder, ginger and water, and whisk.
4. Slowly add oil to the small bowl, whisking to blend with the other ingredients.
4. Pour dressing over salad mixture and toss gently to combine.

Asian Dipping Sauce

This dipping sauce is designed to go with the Asian Style Lunchbox, which can be found in the Lunchbox Ideas Article below. It also goes well on lettuce wraps, with shredded chicken or baked tofu.

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil

Yield: 12 (1-tablespoon) servings
  In a bowl or measuring cup whisk all ingredients together.

Green Opportunities

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

  • THE 29 HEALTHIEST FOODS Want to find out what foods made the list of the 29 healthiest? Bellybytes has put together an information sheet of foods that will give you the biggest nutritional bang for your caloric buck. They also provide suggestions on how to incorporate these power-foods into your diet. You can check out the list at:

  • STUDENTS RETHINK NEW ORLEAN'S SCHOOL FOOD Find out what a student run organization, calling themselves The Rethinkers, is working on in New Orleans. ”Better, healthy, tasty food for every student” is their goal, with a mission to green their school cafeterias and educate students on the importance of a healthy diet. To learn more about The Rethinkers and what they're doing, visit:

  • THE MAN WHO PLANTED TREES – Here is an opportunity to become familiar with the Oscar-winning animated film short, The Man Who Planted Trees. "This timeless film tells the inspirational story of a solitary shepherd who patiently plants and nurtures a forest of thousands of trees..." To learn more about this book and DVD, and to view the film in four YouTube segments, go to:

Laptop Lunches in the News

The Miami Herald

Thinking Inside the (Lunch) Box

McClatchy News Service, August 20, 2009

Blogger Deborah Hamilton has a fresh idea for school-lunch packers: the bento box. She sends her son off every school day with her own version of the compartmentalized Japanese lunch container.

"I would like to say I have a master plan and my evil genius of bento kung fu tells me what to do, but really it's whatever I have in the house,'' said Hamilton, who blogs at

"I try not to spend more than 10 to 15 minutes on any one bento because I have a kid I'm getting ready in the morning.''

A bento box is simply a reusable container that encourages the packing of a variety of foods. A company called Laptop Lunches makes an Americanized version. Hamilton uses an assortment of inexpensive containers she's purchased for that purpose. [Read the full story at]


Better Homes and Gardens

Brain Food

September, 2009

Quick, Easy, and Healthy Ideas for Meals and Snacks.

It's an age-old problem. Kids are always hungry, yet there never seems to be enough time--especially during the school year--to make good food choices. Don't give in to the tyranny of fast food, says Melinda Johnson, spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association and owner of the company Nutrition for Slackers ( Instead, Johnson suggests these smart foods to satisfy them through the day.
[Read the full story on page 236 of the September issue of Better Homes and Gardens Magazine.]

Tonic Toronto

Think Outside the Lunchbox: Four Tips for Healthy School Meals

By Tracie Wagman, October, 2009

Making lunches for your children doesn't always have to be a frightening chore. Ensuring your kids are eating healthy and eating enough without too much waste can be easier.

There is nothing worse than your child's lunch box coming home completely full from school. Whether you're making one snack for a morning program or packing lunches for your kids, here are some tips to help...

Litterless lunch boxes are also all the rage these days. From BPA free sandwich holders to the whole lunch box kit, these lunch boxes help keep products fresh, keep waste to a minimum and still look really cool. Laptop Lunches (, are available at Indigo and Chapters... [Read the full story in the October issue of the Tonic Toronto Magazine.]

New Retailers

Juniper Tree House
Austin Waldorf School
8702 South View Road
Austin, TX 78737
(512) 288-5106

The Mint
4652 Scotts Valley Drive
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
(831) 438-5900

Fabric Dragon
Philadelphia, PA 19134
(267) 255-2771

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.

Lunchbox Ideas: by The Real Food Moms

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 Website designed to make cooking with real foods easy, tasty and fast.

Food is a vital, essential part of life. It’s not only your child’s main fuel, but also has the power to build his muscles for climbing and sharpen his brain for learning. Healthy food can have more protective power than medicines to strengthen young immune systems. One of the most important things you can do for the health of your child at every age is to support his growing body with healthy foods and drinks.

Here are some ideas for good, old-fashioned homemade lunches.

A sandwich along with a veggie and fruit make a satisfying and nutritionally rich staple lunch for kids. Try to include at least one fruit and one veggie to help them get enough produce servings into their daily diet. You can add a high quality “snack food” like Pirate’s Booty or whole grain pretzels for a salty treat. But “low density” fruits and veggies (high in fiber/water/nutrients and low in calories) are always superior to “high density” baked goods (often high in calories relative to their lower nutritional value).

By packing reasonable portions of food, children are more likely to be able to eat their lunch in the limited time that’s usually provided. Sandwiches that are neat and easy to eat are more appealing. Avoid wet or runny fillings ~ soggy bread: yuck! Kids are more likely to eat foods that are easy to handle. So cut sandwiches in half and cut fruits and veggies down to bite-sized pieces.

Whole grains are a great source of fiber, vitamins and antioxidants. Go for multi-grain breads, sprouted grain breads, whole grain wraps (including corn, like soft corn tortillas or taco shells), or whole grain crackers.

Spreads are a quick and easy sandwich choice. Nut butters (including peanut, almond, cashew, sunflower, etc) are great with cinnamon, sliced fruit (try peaches or bananas), apple sauce, raw honey or all-fruit jam. Hummus sandwiches can be made with tomatoes and other salad veggies. Red pepper spread goes well with lunch meats. And cheese spreads, like Boursin, are yummy alone, with veggies, or with other protein fillings.

White, unprocessed lunch meats, like turkey or chicken breast, are the healthiest deli choices, but homemade meats are almost always superior. Use leftover chicken, steak, meatloaf, veggie burgers, salmon, etc as a sandwich filling or combine it with veggies to make a salad. You can also use sliced cheeses, alone or with the meats. Try making a “salad” spread with diced egg or canned salmon or tuna with a little Vegenaise (or organic canola mayonnaise), mustard, yogurt or even cranberry sauce. (Chunk lite or skipjack are your best tuna choices because of their lower mercury content.)

There are lots of great veggies to choose and they are easy to add to any lunch. Here are some of the many veggies you might consider…baby carrots, cucumber slices, celery sticks, sliced peppers, edamame (cooked baby soy beans ~ yummy!), sliced fennel, olives, baby pickles, and sugar snap peas.

Kids enjoy fruit and they are more likely to eat them if they are sliced or cut into segments. A lunch that includes one of your child’s favorite fruits is likely to be greeted with a smile. Some of the many fruit choices are: banana, apple, pear, blueberries, strawberries, cherries, grapes, kiwi (cut in half and scooped out with a spoon), melon chunks, and pineapple rings.

For kids who don’t care for traditional sandwiches, how about a homemade lunchbox with high quality ingredients? Try this idea for an Asian Style Lunchbox:

  • Include 3-5 slices of chicken or turkey roll-ups (deli or leftovers)
  • Some raw sliced veggies (maybe cucumber, red pepper, carrots, celery, or endive)
  • An unpeeled apple or pear, sliced with a little lemon juice for freshness
    (or either sliced strawberries or watermelon)
  • Add  rice crackers: Lundberg rice chips, Eden Foods brown rice tamari crackers
    or Back to Nature Crispy Wheat Crackers are all good choices
  • And serve it with an Asian dipping sauce. (See recipe above.)

As the weather cools off, kids will naturally start to crave denser and warmer lunch offerings. Using leftovers is a key way to make the homemade lunch work well during winter months. It saves time, money and energy, and kids love “leftover lunches”! When organizing your dinner menu, consider foods that also work well for lunch the next day. Prepare extra servings to set aside for lunch, and when they are cool put them into containers and refrigerate so they’re ready to go.

While preparing your dinner salad, cut extra vegetables, like cucumber, peppers, carrots, celery or tomatoes and put them in a container with the dressing packed separately in a small dip container. And leftover grilled or roasted vegetables are great for adding flavor to any sandwich.

Chili or homemade soups are excellent the next day. Try combining it with a salad. Make extra brown rice, couscous, pasta or beans to be used as a lunch side dish. These can also be added to soups or salads.

You can prepare an extra serving of chicken or turkey breast, steak or pork loin, and slice it for tomorrow’s sandwiches. This is a much healthier alternative to deli meats. Thin slices of meatloaf, can be used in sandwiches as well.

Hard boiled eggs are easy to prepare in advance so they are readily available for sliced egg sandwiches, deviled eggs, and egg salad, or for slicing into salads. They make a great grab-and-go breakfast protein, too.

If you don’t think your child will eat something the day after they had it for dinner, just wait a day and try it then.

We know it’s a cliche, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true: breakfast is the most important meal of the day for growing kids. Sadly, though, 30-48% of American children skip breakfast every day. To us this is a crime. Getting your kids to eat that mighty little meal is about the simplest way we know to set them up for better grades, better health, and better energy.

Simple Food for Busy Families:
The Whole Life Nutrition Approach

Coauthors: Jeannette Bessinger and Tracee Yablon-Brenner, RD

Designed for parents of school-aged children, Simple Food for Busy Families, clearly and simply lays out how to nourish your family and create balance in your home life, while keeping up with your full and busy days.

With clear, practical lifestyle guidelines, the inside scoop on many nutrition issues, and endless simple meal options, this book is one-stop-shopping for getting your family's health on track.

This book may be ordered at:

For more information about Jeannette and Tracee,the Real Food Moms, visit them at

What Works...Success Stories

"Hello Laptop Lunches!! We have had our Laptop Lunch boxes for about a year now. We use them for everything, from playdates to packing lunches for school! The other day, I was excited that we found a new use! If we get lunch to-go, from our favorite local restaurant, we try our best to take some pyrex dishes to bring the food home. But, I saw our Laptop Lunch boxes in the pantry and thought."Perfect!" I took them to the restaurant and they loaded the sandwich in and put the applesauce into one of the little boxes!! It worked great, and we didn't have to lug home extra styrofoam containers. Thanks for a wonderful product that we just couldn't live without in our house!!"

        -- Michelle Bequeaith, Polk City, IA

"Apparently, my kindergartner is the envy of the cafeteria. A few of the para-educators have told me that they all roll by to see what she is having for lunch. One of them even suggested I run a class about feeding kids healthy lunch. As flattered as I was , I have to say that the compliments really belong to the ingenious Laptop Lunchbox. It is so easy to have a variety of colors of food, and the one lid which covers it all, makes it so much easier for my daughter to open. A few concerns I had before I bought the Laptop Lunchbox were, whether food would get mixed up, which it doesn’t, and whether the cost would be worthwhile. I have to say that retrospectively, I find it a very good deal. Now, I just need to order another one for my preschooler."

        -- Sara Green, Louisville, CO

"I ordered two Laptop Lunch kits for my son and I, when he was just 2 1/2 years old and we attended a Mother's Day out a couple days a week. He's almost 6 now and half way through kindergarten, and our Laptop Lunch kits are still going strong! He takes his lunch every day now, and I'm amazed at how durable these kits have been. Over the years I've gotten so many positive comments about his lunch kit and the food he brings. Every teacher he's ever had has commented on how healthy he eats and how neat the Laptop Lunch kit is. I've given out the Web address countless times. I'm so glad I found Laptop Lunches. Thanks so much for designing the perfect lunch kit to help us eat healthier and reduce trash production at the same time."

        -- Grace Howell, Austin, TX


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

Featured Web Site:

GoodGuide provides the world's largest and most reliable source of information on the health, environmental and social impacts of the products in your home. They provide detailed ratings on over 70,000 products. By making information about consumer products transparent, GoodGuide's goal is to help people shop smarter and motivate companies to offer even better products.

GoodGuide gives you the best information available, wherever and whenever you need it most. They will help you find better products that represent your values, avoid products that are harmful to your health, the environment, or society – and enable you to take actions to help improve the world.

To find out more, visit

On this site:

  • Product Ratings for Foods, Toys, Personal Care and Household Products
  • Expert Advice and Recommendations
  • A Personalized Favorites List
  • Articles on Environmental Issues
  • GoodGuide iPhone App - With Barcode Scanning

January Highlights

Beans, Meatless Mondays, Green Opportunities, and an Obentec Article


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© December 2009 Obentec, Inc.

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