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June 2008

Laptop Lunch Times: June 2008

June 2008

In this issue, you'll find:

  • From Our Desk to Yours...
  • Favorite Photo
  • Summer Pastas
  • Green Opportunities
  • Laptop Lunches in the News
  • New Retailers
  • Healthy Highways: An Interview with Nikki Goldbeck
  • What works...Success Stories
  • Featured Web site:

From Our Desk to Yours...

Another school year draws to a close, and we find ourselves looking forward to the long and less hurried days of summer and the precious time spent with our families. For many, summer is a time of travel, visiting family and friends, experiencing new places, or simply getting away from it all. One of the biggest on-the-road challenges is finding nutritious meals that nourish the body and soul. We may find ourselves in unfamiliar places, searching for a restaurant, cafe, or market with wholesome offerings, only to find “industrial cuisine.” This month, we spoke with Nikki Goldbeck, coauthor of Healthy Highways, a guide to healthful eating on the road. In the interview, printed below, she provides tips and strategies for traveling with children. It is said that a successful trip is the result of good planning, so be sure to plan ahead and take with you the tools and knowledge you need to eat healthfully on the road this summer.

NEW RED CARRYING CASES: Our new red carrying cases will be available for purchase on our Web site beginning Monday, June 23th 2008. They'll be sold separately and as a a complete system with the black and red bento set and water bottle inside. Great for children and adults!
Laptop Lunches Red Carrying Case
Laptop Lunches Bento Sleeve

NEW INSULATED BENTO SLEEVES: We're pleased to announce the launch of our new insulated bento sleeves--just in time for the hot summer months! They're in stock and ready for shipping. Check them out on our Web site at

WELCOME ANNA: We are very happy to welcome Anna Dietze as the newest member of our Obentec team. She's been with us two weeks now, and as you can see from her smile, she's a joy to have around. She's busy learning all there is to know about Obentec and Laptop Lunches, and she's catching on very quickly. If she responds to your email or answers the phone when you call, please welcome her aboard!

EXTRA MISC CONTAINERS AVAILABLE: We still have some loose medium, large unlidded, and dip containers available for purchase. For more information, visit or call us at 831-457-0301. Available in a limited number of colors while supplies last. PLEASE NOTE THAT WE DO NOT HAVE ANY INDIVIDUAL LARGE LIDDED CONTAINERS AT THIS TIME.

Amy and Tammy

Got a favorite photo to share?

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

  • TURKEY WRAP: Tofurky Slices, Spicy Mustard, Cheddar Cheese, Morning Star Farms Bacon
  • BOLOGNA WRAP: Tofurky Bologna Slices, Mayonnaise, Cheddar Cheese
  • POTATO AND CHEDDAR PIEROGIES: Garnished With Parmesan Cheese
  • GARLIC PRIMAVERA RISOTTO: Garnished With Parmesan Cheese

Submitted by Candice Chenoweth, Roy, WA

Summer Pastas

Cool down on hot summer days with these great tasting summer pasta dishes.

Cold Japanese-style Somen


  • 2 bundles cooked somen noodles, chilled
  • 1/3 cucumber, julienned
  • 1 egg, prepared as an omelette and sliced
  • 1/2 raw or steamed carrot, julienned
  • wakame seaweed
  • medium tofu, cubed
  • chuka sauce (see below)


1. Place the chilled noodles in a bowl.
2. Top with the carrot, cucumber, wakame, omelette, and tofu.
3. Just before eating, pour the sauce over the top.

Chuka Sauce

  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3 Tbs. rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbs. soy sauce or tamari
  • 1/4 tsp. sesame oil

Japanese Somen

Japanese-style somen, with toppings, sauce, and tart apples on the side.

Tangy Apricot Pecan Penne Pasta


  • 4 cups cooked whole wheat pasta, cooled
  • 3 fresh apricots, sliced
  • 4 Tbs. chopped red onion
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/3 cup unsalted pecans
  • 3 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, cubed (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Saute the pecans in the olive oil until just pungent.
In a large bowl, combine the pasta, apricots, onion, basil and feta cheese and stir to mix evenly.
Add the sauteed pecans and olive oil and stir again.
4. Sprinkle with the balsamic vinegar, season with salt and pepper, and serve at room temperature.

Summer Pasta

Tangy apricot pecan pasta, deviled eggs, grapes, and sugar snap peas.

Green Opportunities

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

  • REDUCE TAKE-OUT PACKAGING – ECO TO GO™ is a grassroots education program dedicated to reducing packaging waste and eliminating tons of paper and plastic each year. This translates into saving the Earth's rainforests and helping businesses save hard-earned cash. To learn more, visit their Web site at
tennis ball recycling
  • RECYCLE YOUR TENNIS BALLS – Ever wonder what you can do with your old tennis balls? Check out the Rebounces answer at The goal of their Replay, Reuse, Recycle Initiative is two-fold: keeping balls in use and out of landfills and growing the game of tennis by making bulk tennis balls more readily available. To donate your quality used tennis balls, send them an email, and they'll pick them up anywhere in the U.S. at no expense to you.
  • RECYCLE YOUR BATTERIES – If you're not sure what to do with your used batteries, check out Whether you have a AAA, AA, C, D, watch, hearing aid or car battery, there is a solution!
  • STOP JUNK MAIL – The average adult receives 41 pounds of junk mail each year. promises to stop 80-95% of unwanted catalogs and junk mail by contacting dozens of companies on your behalf. ProQuo at will help you remove your name and personal information from thousands of marketing lists, data brokers and other organizations that send unsolicited mail.

eliminate junk mail

Laptop Lunches in the News

Latino University Magazine

April 2008

First Job Survival Kit

"Say goodbye to overpriced lunches and prepare your own at home. This American-style version of the classic Japanese lunch box helps you keep bucks in your wallet and it's environmentally friendly. And forget about getting bored with lunch! These reusable, lead-free, dishwasher-safe containers also come with a book of lunch ideas and recipes to try. LAPTOPLUNCHES.COM"

Laptop Lunch Bento Set (Red & Black)

The Daily Green

May 2008

4 Ways to Green Your Kids' Lunch Box

"So, you've gone the distance of preparing your own food, now its time to consider your lunch box of choice to put it in. Laptop Lunch Boxes were created by two eco-conscious moms about seven years ago when the savvy pair realized that the best way to help parents pack wholesome, low-waste lunches was to "provide them with a lunch system that was not only convenient and economical, but also appealing to kids." Thus, the Laptop Lunch Box was born. Made of lead-free plastic, it's unique design, reminiscent of a bento box; features single-serve individual containers, reusable utensils, a water or juice bottle and a handy carrying case. If lunch sacks made from organic cotton or recycled plastic soda bottles are more your children's bag, offers a cool selection too — some even come with nontoxic reusable freezer packs." [Read the rest of the story at]

Vegetarian Times

June 2008

Smart Lunches

"Nicknamed the "Renegade Lunch Lady," Ann Cooper serves as the director of Nutrition Services for the Berkeley Unified School District in California and is coauthor of Lunch Lessons: Changing the Way We Feed Our Children. In plenty of time for parents to plan a healthful lunch curriculum for their kids, we asked Cooper for her scoop on school lunches...

Lunch Lessons
Q: Could you offer a tip for packing healthful, vegetarian lunches for kids?
A: I recommend Laptop Lunch boxes. [American-style bento boxes, available at]. Kids need to eat a variety of whole grains and plant-based foods, and they like to have choices and small tastes of numerous things."

[Read the rest of the story in the June 2008 issue of Vegetarian Times.]

New Retailers

New Leaf Market
150 San Mateo Rd.
Half Moon Bay, CA 94019
(650) 726-3110
Sundance Natural Foods
748 E. 24th Ave.
Eugene, OR 97405
(541) 343-9142
Whole Foods
7111 E. Mayo Blvd.
Phoenix, AZ 85054
(480) 515-3777
Whole Foods
760 South Sepulveda Blvd.
El Segundo, CA 90245
(310) 333-1900

Capitol Kids
8 South Carroll St.
Madison, WI 53703
(608) 280-0744

Whole Foods
7133 Oracle Rd.
Tucson, AZ 85704
(520) 297-5394

Cambridge Naturals
23 White St.
Cambridge, MA 02140
(617) 492-4452

Whole Foods
1026 NE 64th St.
Seattle, WA 98115
(206) 985-1500
Sacramento Natural Foods
Coop 1900 Alhambra Blvd.
Sacramento, CA 95816
(916) 455-2667
Whole Foods
1250 Jefferson Ave.
Redwood City, CA 94062
(650) 367-1400

Whole Foods
3682 Bel Aire Plaza
Napa, CA 94558
(707) 224-6300

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.

Healthy Highways: An Interview with Nikki Goldbeck

Nikki Goldbeck and her husband, David, have authored 10 books, including
Healthy Highways: The Traveler's Guide to Healthy Eating and their classic vegetarian cookbook, American Wholefoods Cuisine. She has also worked as a food publicist, participated in new product development, and created recipes for major food companies. In addition to writing and lecturing, Nikki is a New York State Certified Dietitian-Nutritionist with an active private nutrition counseling practice.
Healthy Highways
Amy: Hi Nikki. Thanks for taking the time to talk with us about your book, Healthy Highways, and your commitment to educating families about the benefits of eating well. Can you tell us a bit about the books you've written and your career as an author? How did you get started?


In 1970 my husband, David, and I started doing everything we could to promote healthy eating, natural foods, and purchasing from local farms. In 1973 we published The Supermarket Handbook, and in 1984 we published American Wholefoods Cuisine, which was reissued in 2006. Healthy Highways came out in 2004. We have also co-authored The Healthiest Diet in the World, Eat Well The YoChee Way, Enemy of the Steak, The Dieters Companion, The Good Breakfast Book, Choose to Reuse, and The Goldbeck's Guide to Good Food.

Amy: What influence do you think your books have had on readers?


With a million and a half books in print, we have had the privilege of reaching a broad audience. We've received hundreds and hundreds of letters from people telling us how our books have changed their lives. In our books we encourage people to eat more whole foods and to know where their food comes from. Many readers tell us that they've switched to a more vegetarian diet. Most have added a variety of whole foods to their everyday eating, and they're feeling the benefits of this important dietary change.

Amy: What changes in the perception of “vegetarianism” have you seen over the last few decades?

Nikki: Twenty years ago vegetarianism was the joke at the party. Now even people who aren't vegetarian have started calling themselves vegetarian because it's seen as a healthy and eco-friendly way to live. There are far more vegetarian restaurants around now, and many non-vegetarian restaurants offer a wider selection of vegetarian options, not just pasta.

Amy: Do any vegetarian trends surprise you?


I'm surprised by the growing interest in raw foods. I hear people say that they don't eat salads because making them is so time consuming. But some of these same people spend a significant amount of time preparing raw foods. More young people are becoming vegan and vegetarian, which is not just about eating fruits and vegetables (everyone should be eating lots of fruits and vegetables), but rather about what type of protein you eat. I'm surprised that many people view vegetarianism as eliminating meat from the diet. But it's really a question of whether you get your protein from meat or from other sources like legumes, nuts, and dairy products.

Amy: Summer is the season for family travel, but finding nutritious food on the road can be a real challenge. Can you tell me a bit about Healthy Highways? What’s your aim, and what type of information do you provide?

Nikki: We believe that children learn by example, so we encourage families to eat together and spend more time together. When we don't take the time to sit down and eat together, we lose some of the pleasure that we get from the experience of eating food. We lose our connection to one another. Kids who don't eat with the family become pickier, and they eat too fast. Eating becomes a rushed necessity, not something that is enjoyed and associated with community. In Healthy Highways we provide information on where to find health food stores, vegetarian and vegetarian-friendly restaurants, and other resources for eating healthfully on the road. We include the name of each restaurant, its location and phone number, and directions from the nearest highway. We also list the type of food and the type of establishment, for example, sit-down restaurant, cafe, natural foods store, etc. We also provide updates and corrections on our Web site.

Amy: What advice or suggestions can you offer families when traveling on the road with their kids?

  • Bring a cooler for water and perishable nutritious foods.
  • Pack a variety of nutritious snacks. Nuts, whole grain crackers, vegetables, fruits, peanut butter, and almond butter all work well.
  • Look for nutritious places to stop for meals.
  • Shop at farm stands and farmers' markets.
  • Stop at local farms for fruit picking or a farm tour.
  • Make nutritious picnics so you can eat outdoors and enjoy the scenery.
  • When you go to restaurants, ask lots of questions and make requests that will improve the nutrition of the food you order. For example, ask for your meal broiled instead of fried and request that the salad dressing be served on the side.
  • Load your sandwiches with lots of veggies, not just a piece of lettuce and a thin slice of tomato.
  • Restaurant portions tend to be large. Consider sharing a meal or as soon as the meal arrives, put half of it away in a reusable container to enjoy later.
  • Be sure to bring reusable containers to restaurants and pack the leftovers in your cooler for later.
  • Look at Healthy Highways to find good places to stop for food.
  • Try ethnic restaurants, which tend to have more vegetarian options. Italian, Indian, Mexican, and Chinese restaurants all tend to be vegetarian friendly.

Amy: What strategies do you offer parents wishing to reduce the amount of meat in the family diet?

Nikki: A lot of children's favorite foods are already vegetarian, and kids seem naturally concerned about the care and well-being of animals, so they're good candidates already.
  • Offer more alternatives.
  • Put out lots of veggies for them to snack on.
  • Have kids help out in the kitchen, not just baking desserts, but also cooking the family meals as well.
  • Teach them about where their food comes from.
  • Offer new foods repeatedly and in different ways.


What’s your favorite lunch?

Nikki: I don't really have a favorite lunch. I thrive on variety. I like to eat each day as if I were living in a different foreign country: Greece, Italy, India. I like to eat what I'm in the mood for. When I can't think of anything in particular, I go for peanut butter and chick peas. Sometimes "lunch" means grabbing different foods throughout the day.

Please visit (or call 888-804-8848) to learn more about the Goldbecks' best-selling vegetarian and environmental books. And be sure to check out their 21 reasons to eat like a vegetarian at

What Works...Success Stories

"My son is a very picky eater ~ he likes about 4 different foods and that is ALL he will eat.  For Christmas we bought him a primary lunch system to prepare him for kindergarten (where he’ll have to eat or go hungry AND eat in a limited amount of time) and to get him excited about different foods.  I am thrilled to report that he was not only intrigued by his lunch, which contained new and healthy items, but he ate nearly every bit of it!  He told me that he wants to help me fill his box every day!  Thank you for a product that helps me make feeding him fun, healthy and exciting!"

        -- M. Ferber, NY

Laptop Lunch Bliss

"I just have to tell you how thrilled I am with the Laptop Lunchboxes that I ordered. My kids are very excited too! I normally allow my kids to choose up to 2 school lunches per week and then they take a packed lunch the other days. My 7-year-old son had picked tomorrow for his school lunch. (It is pizza day, after all!) When he saw his Laptop Lunchbox, he asked me if he could please take his lunch tomorrow instead of getting the school's pizza. Coming from this particular child, that is the highest of praise. Thanks so much!"

        -- Cindy R., St. Joseph, IL

"Thanks for your newsletter; I might be one of few adult using your product. I work at a park and appreciate having a reusable lunch box."

        -- Angie Anderson, Redwood Shores, CA

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

Featured Web Site:

Carpet Recycling

Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE) is a joint industry-government effort to increase the amount of recycling and reuse of post-consumer carpet and to reduce the amount of waste carpet going to landfills.

CARE was established as a result of a Memorandum of Understanding for Carpet Stewardship (MOU), a national agreement signed by members of the carpet industry, representatives of government agencies, and non-governmental organizations.

To accomplish its mission, CARE facilitates, advises, provide resources, and serves as a forum for the many different participants.

On this site:

  • Carpet Reclamation Partner Finder
  • Landfill Diversion Initiatives
  • Reading Room
  • Great Ideas
  • Links
  • Entrepreneurial Resources
Carpet Recycling
CARE aims to:
  • Enhance the collection infrastructure for post-consumer carpet.
  • Serve as a resource for technical, economic and market development opportunities for recovered carpet.
  • Develop and perform quantitative measurement and reporting on progress toward the national goals for carpet recovery.
  • Work collectively to seek and provide funding opportunities for activities to support the national goals for carpet recovery.

For more information, visit

July Highlights

Summer Travel Menus, Green Opportunities, and the Garbage Revolution


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

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© June 2008 Obentec, Inc.

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


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."