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September 2008

Laptop Lunch Times: September 2008

September 2008

In this issue, you'll find:

  • From Our Desk to Yours...
  • Favorite Photo
  • Quick Lunches to Launch the School Year
  • Green Opportunities
  • Laptop Lunches in the News
  • New Retailers
  • Raising the Lights: An Interview with Yolanda Bergman
  • What works...Success Stories
  • Featured Web site:

From Our Desk to Yours...

We hope you're off to an exciting new school year! In this newsletter, you'll learn about some great new (free!) tools designed to provide you with a regular infusion of fresh lunch ideas. Read on to learn more about our new lunch menu RSS feed and our cool, new photo link. And don't forget to check out the thousands of varied and creative lunch photos at posted by Laptop Lunch users from all over the world.

Remember to get your kids involved in the lunchmaking routine! Sit with your child and view these great flickr photos. Together, create your own stack of menu cards to use throughout the year. You can easily come up with 20 different lunch menus or more. Sort your cards into four groups of five, one for each day of the month--for a month’s worth of lunches. You can then take it a step further and write a list of all the items you’ll need to create each week's lunches. Take a list with you to the market so you'll have what you need on hand. With just a little bit of up-front planning, you will surely avoid falling into a lunchmaking rut. For additional lunch ideas and menus, be sure to visit our photo gallery at

BACK IN STOCK: We have been slammed this back to school season! In addition to the fabulous national and regional press coverage, so many wonderful Laptop Lunch users have been writing, blogging, and chatting to their friends about Laptop Lunches. We are so thrilled to welcome these many lunchpackers into the Laptop Lunch family fold, and we're very happy to report that we are nearly fully stocked once again.

Laptop Lunch Containers
The Laptop Lunch Bento Sets in all colors and the Laptop Lunch Systems in whimsical and red are back in stock. The primary, periwinkle, and pink Laptop Lunch Systems will be available around September 25, 2008. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience and we thank you for your patience. If you wish to be notified when the Laptop Lunch Systems are back in stock, please contact us at

Vegan Lunch Box

VEGAN LUNCH BOX: The revised edition of the Vegan Lunch Box has finally arrived and is now available through our Web site at Create inspirational lunches for your family with these great recipes and lunch ideas. The photographs are worth a thousand words. Not just for vegans!

INSPIRATIONAL WEB PHOTOS: Whether you're a school, a Web store, a blogger, a non-profit organization or just your average lunchmaker, we now offer a simple and free way for you to include a weekly lunch photo on your Web site! Add just one snippet of code, and you're all set to go. The photo will change weekly without you having to do a thing. Lunch Photos for Your Web Site
More information can be found at

Laptop Lunches RSS feed RSS FEED: We're excited to announce the new Laptop Lunches RSS feed, featuring a weekly Laptop Lunch photo and menu. Click HERE to subscribe.

Amy and Tammy

Got a favorite photo to share?

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

  • turkey, ham, and cheese sandwich on a homemade baguette with mayonnaise and baby spinach
  • fresh 3/4 pear
  • carrots, green beans, and red pepper strips
  • ranch dressing for dipping
  • 3 Oreo cookies

I ordered two Laptop Lunches a while back and at first found myself a little too intimidated to use them. I thought to myself, "How am I ever going to find things to pack, and how will I make them fit in such a tiny compartment?" When my husband started medical school a few months ago, I pulled the sets out and I am continuously amazed at the fun and exciting lunches I've been able to make with very little effort! My husband says that all of his classmates are very impressed and jealous. This is one of my favorite lunches so far. I love the bistro feeling of this lunch. I don't think I would have come up with lunches that are this creative and visually interesting if I didn't have the challenge of using the lunch set. Thanks for developing such a great product!

                     -- Bree Chapman, Sarasota, FL

Quick Lunches to Launch the School Year

Easing back into the school routine can be a challenge for everyone. Packing simple, wholesome lunches during this time can greatly ease the transition.

Pasta and Pancakes

Veggie pancakes and fresh tomato & basil pasta make great leftovers. Toss in some walnuts and a couple of plums and you've got a simple meal to go.

  • Veggie Pancakes
  • Fresh Tomato Pasta
  • Walnuts
  • Plums


Pasta and Pancakes

Pistachios and Melon

Change it up a bit by cutting your melon with a melon baller instead of a knife. Jicama sticks are juicy and crunchy and hold up well.

  • melon balls and blueberries
  • pistachios
  • sliced jicama
  • whole wheat oatmeal raisin cookies
Pistachios, Melon Balls and Blueberries, Jicama, Whole Wheat Oatmeal Cookies

Green Opportunities

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

  • RECYCLING YOUR CFLs – While increasingly more retailers are selling compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs), options for recycling spent bulbs have been few and far between. But the number of drop-off sites jumped by nearly 2,000 this past summer. Recycling CFLs prevents mercury from being released into the environment. Each bulb contains about 5 milligrams or less of mercury, or about 1 percent of the amount in an old-fashioned thermometer. Visit to find a CFL drop-off site near you.
  • SAY NO TO PLASTIC BAGS – According to Jared Blumenfeld, Director of San Francisco's Department of the Environment, it costs $4,000 to process and recycle 1 ton of plastic bags, which can then be sold on the commodities market for $32. To learn more about the negative effects of disposable plastic bags, visit

Laptop Lunches in the News

Parents Magazine

Lunch Is Served: Healthy School Lunches & Snacks

September 2008

The simplest and healthiest foods look extra-yummy when they're tucked inside colorful little compartments. That's the idea behind Laptop Lunches, the company that sells these cute plastic sets (starting at $21; We filled the containers with a protein, some fruit, a vegetable, and a small treat -- all in perfect-size portions for kids 5 to 8. [Read the rest of the story and view some amazing photographs at]

The Baltimore Sun

Lunch Lessons

Liven up a child's meal at school with nibbles in small containers

By Karen Nitkin | Special to the Baltimore Sun September 3, 2008

Laptop Lunches in the Baltimore Sun

Both kids and parents tend to start each school year with resolutions. Kids vow to do their homework on time, keep their backpacks neat and never oversleep. Parents say this is the year they'll master the art of providing healthful and interesting lunches.

Concerns about childhood nutrition, food allergies and cost are shaking up the packed school lunch. Even the bag it often came in is becoming outdated. "Waste-free" lunches, packed in reusable containers and served with cloth napkins instead of paper, are becoming popular alternatives, thanks to efforts from a California group called [Read the rest of the store at,0,6076775.story.]

Monterey County Herald

July 15, 2008


Students at Marshall Elementary reduced their lunch waste by half in the Waste Free Schools program

By Kathryn NcKenzie Nichols

Parents are used to fixing a bag lunch for their youngsters when school starts, but have they ever considered a box lunch? One way to cut down on waste from school lunches is to purchase a lunch box, either the traditional type or a Japanese-style set similar to a bento box. By using refillable containers that don't have to be thrown away, much or all of school lunch waste can be eliminated. And there you have it: the zero-waste lunch. [Read the rest of the story at]

Laptop Lunches in Monterey

August 2008

Unique Gear for the New School Year

A Quirky Lunchbox: Laptop Lunch System

Still spooked by the "Lunchbox Lead Scare" from a few years back? A brown paper bag may work just fine, but if you're looking for something a little bit more spiffy for your kid to cart to school, we suggest the Laptop Lunch system. Like a bento box for the elementary kid set, this kit comes with an insulated carrying case, a reusable water bottle, a set of metal utensils, and a bright rectangular box with five smaller boxes nestled inside of it. The thing is cute-- plus, for kids who don't like their applesauce mixing with their PB&J, it's practical-- picky eaters don't usually want their food touching, and the

Lapto Lunch System

kit keeps each lunch component in its place. While the bento containers are plastic, every part is BPA, phthalate, and lead-free, and you can squeeze in a small metal SIGG or Klean Kanteen thermos if you'd rather. Having so many little boxes to open adds an element of Christmas to lunchtime. Plus, there's a paperback book packed full of lunch inspiration for mom or dad, perfect for those nights when the meal muse refuses to make an appearance... (Laptop Lunch System, $34.99;

Knack Parenting

Laptop Lunches Make Sense

"With the focus on litter-less lunches, products that encourage less packaging for shipping your food away from home are in high demand. There are lunch bags that contain a section for heated foods, sections for dry goods, sections for desserts. But until I saw a Laptop Lunch kit, I had not found my lunchbox extraordinaire.

Laptop Lunchboxes were the brainchild of two moms (Tammy Pelstring and Amy Hemmert) doing what parents often do: hanging out at the park while their children played. Over time, they became running partners, and when their children entered school, they started sharing their concerns and experiences. They bemoaned the poor health quality of school lunches, grew frustrated with over packaged foods and the cost incurred by their schools to take garbage away. Their solution to the problem was the Laptop Lunchbox. "

[Read the rest of the story at]

New Retailers

2309 W. 51st Terrace
Westwood, KS 66205
(913) 262-2353
O! babybaby
1885 Solano Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94707
(510) 559-9909
Bloomingfoods Market & Deli
3220 East Third St.
Bloomington, IN 47401
(812) 336-5400
Sevananda Natural Foods
467 Moreland Ave.
Atlanta, GA 30307
(404) 681-2831

Whole Foods Market
95 East Houston St.
New York, NY 10002
(212) 420-1320

Whole Foods Market
2 Somerset St.
Portland, ME 04101
(207) 774-7711

Whole Foods Market
2955 West Ray Rd.
Chandler, AZ 85224
(480) 821-9447

Nina Avrith
Newton, MA 02461
[email protected]
Whole Foods Market
19440 NW Cornell Rd.
Hillsboro, OR 97124
(503) 645-9200
Silver Spoon Children's Boutique
5A 1306 Bow Valley Trail
Canmore, AB T1W 1N6
(403) 678-6777

542 Danforth Av
Toronto, ON M4K 1P8
(416) 466-2727

Whole Foods Market
500 E. Ogden Ave.
Hinsdale, IL 60521
(630) 986

Whole Foods Market
55 Welles St.
Glastonbury, CT 06033
(860) 652-9800

Chefmakers Cooking Academy
865 Swarthmore Ave.
Pacific Palisades, CA 90272
(310) 459-9444

Greenlife Grocery Chattanooga
301 Manufacturers Rd.
Chattanooga, TN 37405
(423) 702-7300
New Pioneer Co-op
22 S. Van Buren St.
Iowa City, IA 52240
(319) 338-0635

New Pioneer Co-op
City Center Square, Hwy. 6W
Coralville, IA 52241
(319) 358-5513

Whole Foods Market
465 South Arroyo Parkway
Pasadena, CA 91105
(626) 204-2266

NonEssentials Alaska
550 S. Alaska St.
Palmer, AK 99645
(907) 745-2258

Wheatsfield Coop
413 Douglas Ave.
Ames, IA 50010
(515) 232-4094
Topanga Eco Mail
120 N. Topanga Canyon. Blvd. #105
Topanga, CA 90290
(310) 455-1437
Bootyland Kids
1317 E. Pine St.
Seattle, WA 98122
(206) 328-0636

Baby Coo
140 W. Main St.
Los Gatos, CA 95030
(408) 310-5030

Linden Hills Natural Home
2822 W. 43rd St.
Minneapolis, MN 55410
(612) 279-2479

The Tattered Suitcase
2590 Calder St.
Beaumont, TX 77701
(409) 832-2581

Whole Foods Market
399 4th St.
San Francisco, CA 94107
(415) 618-0066

Whole Foods Market
500 Wilshire Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 395-4510

1 World Trading Co.
111 Main St.
Nashua, NH 03060
(603) 881-9111

Whole Foods Market
2305 N. Prospect Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53211
(414) 223-1500

Whole Foods Market
6020 N Cicero Ave.
Chicago, IL 60646
(773) 205-1100

Whole Foods Market
1111 Chicago Ave.
Evanston, IL 60202
(847) 475-9492

Whole Foods Market
10020 Regency Circle
Omaha, NE 68114
(402) 393-1200

Whole Foods Market
1640 Chicago Ave.
Evanston, IL 60201
(847) 733-1600

Downtown Farm Stand
125 E. Main St.
Muncie, IN 47305
(765) 288-3775

Common Ground Coop
300 S. Broadway Ave. Ste 166
Urbana, IL 61801
(217) 352-3347

Whole Foods Market
2880 West Maple Rd.
Troy, MI 48084
(248) 649-9600

Purific Health
40347 US 19 N. Suite 202
Tarpon Springs, FL 34689
(727) 939-0300

Community Food Co-op
908 W. Main St.
Bozeman, MT 59715
(406) 587-4039

14 Glen Ave.
Oakland, CA 94611
(510) 654-8844

Whole Foods Market
6139 S. Virginia St.
Reno, NV 89502
(775) 852-8023

Whole Foods Market
647 Washington St.
Newton, MA 02458
(617) 965-2070

Whole Foods Market
235 Prospect Ave.
West Orange, NJ 07052
(973) 669-3196

102 Metcalfe St.
Elora, ON N0B 1S0
(519) 846-9977

Whole Foods Market
181 Cambridge St.
Boston, MA 02114
(617) 723-0004

KidsWork Children’s Museum
11 S. White St.
Frankfort, IL 60423
(815) 469-1199

Mothers Market
19770 Beach Blvd.
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
(714) 963-6667

Whole Foods Market
151 Sockanosset Cross Rd.
Cranston, RI 02920
(401) 942-7600

Whole Foods Market
760 Waukegan Rd.
Deerfield, IL 60015
(847) 444-1900

Ozark Natural Foods
Evelyn Hills Shopping Center
1554 North College Ave.
Fayetteville, AR 72703
(479) 521-7558

Violet Sprout
13609 SW 220th St.
Vashon, WA 98070
(206) 567-0044

Generation Green
6375 Sawmill Rd.
Dublin, OH 43017
(614) 392-0883

Copper Pig
407 North Arkansas
Russellville, AR 72801
(479) 968-5550

Whole Foods Market
100 S. Green Valley Pkwy.
Henderson, NV 89052
(702) 361-8183

Whole Foods Market
1331 North Rand Rd.
Palatine, Illinois 60074
(847) 776-8080

Shelburne Supermarket
20 Shelburne Shopping Plaza
Shelburne, VT 05482
(802) 985-8520

Whole Foods Market
400 Cambridge Rd.
Woburn, MA 01801
(781) 376-9600

Treasure Island Toys, Ltd.
581 Danforth Ave.
Toronto, ON, M4K 1P9
(416) 778-4913

Whole Foods Market
840 Willow Rd., Suite M
Northbrook, IL 60062
(847) 205-5353

Amped on Nutrition
#4-673 Plaza Rd.
Q. Cove, BC V0P 1N0
(250) 285-3142

252 Main St.
Great Barrington, MA 01230
(413) 528-6911

The Store on Main
1028 Main St.
Corvallis, MT 59828
(406) 961-5332

Green Goods for the Home
Des Moines, IA
(515) 309-2196

Whole Foods Market
331 Paradise Rd.
Swampscott, MA 01907
(781) 592-2200

Whole Foods Market
24130 Valencia Blvd.
Santa Clarita, CA 91355
(661) 260-2377

Finishing Touch
9-26 Main St. North
Callander, ON P0H 1H0
(705) 752-5055

Whole Foods Market
1000 West North Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622
(312) 587-0648

ShopEco Environmental Products
13300 Tecumseh Rd.
Tecumseh, ON N8N 4R8
(519) 735-7997

The Green Bean Organic Market
11020 Northcliffe Blvd.
Spring Hill, FL 34608
(352) 688-7979

Mothers Market
225 East 17th St.
Costa Mesa, CA 92627
(949) 548-4232

Dejouer les allergies alimentaires
Outsmarting Food Allergies
2024 Chemin Saint-Louis
Quebec, Quebec G1T 1P1   
(418) 683-3507

Funky Monkey
515 Richmond St.
London, ON N6A 5N4
 (519) 913-0314

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.

Raising the Lights: An Interview with Yolanda Bergman

After her six-year retirement from her more than two decades as a nutrition expert, Yolanda decided that she could no longer sit back and watch the movement against global warming go by. As a natural entrepreneur she saw an opportunity to combine the business of fundraising with the sales of energy-saving, earth-friendly products. In 2007 she created the business, Raising the Lights™ - The Global Warming Fund-Raiser for Education. ( Yolanda is dedicated to finding unique products that help fight global warming in meaningful ways.

Raising the Lights
Laurel: Hi Yolonda. Tell me about your organization, Raising the Lights.


Raising the Lights™ is a fundraiser that is dedicated to giving 40% of sales to education (or your non-profit) through the sales of energy saving/earth friendly products, but we have a third mission as well. We are partnered with EnergyStar, the government program, to institute K-12 lesson programs and events for schools, such as Change a Light, Change the World, and Earth Day to inspire the students to save energy. We launched the program with [email protected] Video which teaches children how to save energy at home in every room of the house. We give this video away free with every order. The children then inspire their parents to purchase the products from the fundraiser (saving the parents money on power bills), and the money raised goes back to the schools. Everybody’s happy, including our planet.

Laurel: What inspired you to start Raising the Lights?


I have two children who are eleven years apart. This is wonderful, except I feel like I’ve been a school parent forever, and raising money for schools forever. My son is fifteen, and I thought if I did one more silent auction I would cry. It also became clear to me that the average fundraiser, although it was making money for the school, was still leaving the school somewhat empty. We weren’t utilizing the children’s energy to recycle what was available, and we weren't teaching them about saving money, time, energy, and helping the environment.

Laurel: What is the significance behind the name Raising the Lights?

Yolanda: A few words put together. ‘raising money” – CFL light bulbs – A light bulb goes off in your head as an idea – raising the bar – or standard of something. Titles were never my specialty. I did not want to be known just as a “green” company – as there are many. I want people to know that we are green, but we are also primarily dedicated to “energy saving.”

Laurel: How would you suggest someone become involved in the fight to end global warming?


CARE!. There are billions of ways to do it. If you care enough, it’s in front of your face.

Laurel: You have a background in public speaking. How is this helping you get the word out about your organization?

Yolanda: Laurel, I’m glad you asked this. When I am at conventions and schools presenting RTL and the spectacular products that we represent, I am able to describe, display, and exhibit these items in such as way that is professional and attention grabbing. When we had our booth at the National PTA Convention in San Diego, everyone thought I was giving seminars because we had crowds around our booth.

Laurel: As a former fitness and nutrition counselor, what steps do you recommend people take to incorporate green living into their daily routine?

Yolanda: It starts with a consciousness about your lifestyle. If you're a person who doesn't eat processed junk food, exercises, and takes care of the body that you inhabit, then you will be more likely to be aware of the environment you inhabit and not trash that either. There's nothing more simple than changing your light bulbs to CFLs. Recycling has become a mandatory part of life, and if you simply can’t give up your car, then at least try to carpool. It’s very similar to dieting. If you just start making one change a week, it adds up, and the next thing you know, all of those changes add up to the achievement of a larger goal. Through that we can all see success.

Laurel: How can a school or organization benefit from Raising the Lights?

Yolanda: First of all, like all other fundraisers, they will make 40% of all proceeds to fund their educational programs. They'll have access to lesson plans through companies like Energy Star and the SCiFi Channel's Visions for Tomorrow program. As role models, we have a unique opportunity to influence the way our children impact the environment and envision their future in it. By offering Raising the Lights-approved products, our children can feel personally responsible for a making a difference. Simultaneously, children develop a sense of community, entrepreneurship and responsibility by participating in the fundraiser. Small changes ultimately add up to very large-scale environmental savings, and also alter the opinions and actions of our community at large. Educating our children about minor household modifications that can make a major environmental impact will influence their families and friends to do so as well. All of the products available in the Raising the Lights fundraiser program are earth-friendly and/or aid in the fight against global warming.


What is your dream for Raising the Lights?

Yolanda: My dream is big. I would like Raising the Lights to be implemented in every school across the US. I would like to see two goals come together: creating a fundraiser that answers more of the school's financial needs through community involvement, not just raising funds to band-aid a bleeding budget, and secondly, using the power of our youth to save energy, fight global warming, and recycle what we need to make our schools thrive.


What’s your favorite lunch?

Yolanda: My favorite lunch will always be picnic style, and outdoors. I love a spread of whole grain breads, fruits, assorted cheeses, a roasted chicken, (or roasted game hens), salad, figs, nuts, honey, and fresh berries.

Bento Set For more information on Raising the Lights, visit

Yolanda can be reached by phone at
(310) 344-7560 or by email at [email protected]
Raising The Lights

What Works...Success Stories

"Good Morning! Just an e-mail from Nova Scotia, Canada, to tell you my delight of the bento box. My son enjoys it so much, and he is eager to eat his meals in a relatively short amount of time. Much thanks to you and what a great service this is. The book is also wonderful. I am a most satisfied customer."

        -- Francine Aubrecht, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia

Boy with his Laptop Lunch

"We have been using our Laptop Lunches for months now, and my kids like them so much that I’m planning to order extra sets of inserts so they always have one on hand! I was hesitant to spend this much on a lunchbox, but I think they are well worth the money. I find that my kids eat very well when I pack them these lunches and 90% of the time the box comes back almost empty. My daughter used to waste most of her lunch before and would get very cranky right after school as she was hungry!

They like the fact that Laptop Lunch food isn’t “mixed up” as they prefer that different foods don’t touch. The different compartments force me to get creative, so they end up eating very healthy, varied lunches consisting of items like tofu, carrot sticks, pasta, peas, snow peas, cherry tomatoes, cheese, quesadillas, trail mix, sandwiches, fruits, leftovers--you name it!!! I’ve gotten used to it, so it hardly takes any time to do this. Sometimes I put toast in one compartment, baked beans in another, and some cheese in yet another. Then my daughter assembles “beans on toast.” I usually put two M & Ms into the smallest container, or sometimes a bit of a cookie – it’s a tiny bit, but it’s quite exciting as it comes in a little box. At first I was concerned that they might lose the boxes, but it’s actually easier to keep track of them since they fit together like a puzzle, and you can see what’s missing. So far they haven’t lost anything! Two thumbs up from us!"

        -- Krithiga Bothra, Fremont, CA

"I heard about Laptop Lunches last year by word of mouth from the message boards. I ordered 3 boxes last summer and have been extremely pleased with them since. I decided all of my kids, as well as my husband and I, needed our own Laptop Lunch. I get asked about them all the time. They are fabulous!!! Thanks for such an awesome product."