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August 2010

Laptop Lunch Times:August 2010
August 2010

In this issue, you'll find:

  • From Our Desk to Yours...
  • Favorite Photo
  • Food for Thought: Tomatoes
  • Back to School Bentos
  • Green Opportunities
  • Laptop Lunches in the News
  • New Retailers
  • Fast & Easy Everyday Bento Lunches
  • What works...Success Stories
  • Featured Web site:

From Our Desk to Yours...

Well it’s hard to believe that the back to school season is once again in full force. We’ve just launched our exciting new 2010 styles, and our retailers are actively stocking up. Sales have been very strong, so we encourage you to place your orders early for the best selection and to ensure that you receive your bento boxes, carriers, and accessories in time for the start of school. If any of your components were lost or misplaced last year, visit our Web site for replacements. And finally, if you’re looking for some creative lunch ideas this school year, visit our menu library at


NEW 2010 STYLES: We launched our new 2010 styles and patterns on July 23rd, and they’re already moving fast! Be sure to check them out at .

DRINK BOTTLES: Our drink bottles are finally back in stock—in all five colors: blue, red, purple, pink, and lime. Thanks so much for your patience. We know that many of you have been waiting several months for their return. You’ll find them online at Thanks for waiting!

NEW TEAM MEMBER: Please welcome Jessie Storm, the newest member of the Laptop Lunches sales team, and a real pleasure to work with. When she’s not at work, Jessie loves to spend as much time as she can outdoors and plays soccer whenever possible. In her free time you’re likely to find her reading a good book or catching up with her family and friends in Thousand Oaks, CA. If you happen to catch her on the phone, please extend a warm welcome!

Amy and Tammy

Got a favorite photo to share?

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

  • Black Walnut Mozzarella Crackers - cut into child's initials
  • Raw Cheese Animals and Scalloped Shaped Carrots
  • Fresh Guacamole (for crackers)
  • Flower Sandwich Made with Buckwheat Pancakes - stuffed with fresh, raw pumpkin seed butter, strawberry conserve, and sliced bananas
  • Fruit Cup
  • Almond Thumbprint Cookies

"My two toddlers and I are celiacs. On top of that, my husband and I are committed to providing our family with organic, whole, nutritious foods. These two issues rule out running through drive-thrus when we are out and about, so we pack food pretty much everywhere we go. The Laptop Lunchboxes make that so easy. In addition, with the colorful boxes and containers filled with special foods, my toddlers don't even mind not being able to eat what others are eating at special occasions such as picnics."

(About the lunch pictured above.) "The food is homemade, organic, and gluten free. The crackers were made with coconut flour. The buckwheat for the pancakes was purchased in whole grain form and milled at home, thus reducing the risk of gluten cross-contamination."

                     -- Lisa Sommers, Berkeley Springs, WV

Food for Thought: Tomatoes

Photo Credit: Melissa Braun

Tomatoes are loaded with lycopene. Lycopene, which gives the tomato it's bright color, supports the immune system. Cooked tomatoes, as in salsa, sauce and tomato paste, enhance the absorption of the lycopene. High levels of lycopene have been shown to lower the risk of colon cancer. Studies have shown that a tomato rich diet helps reduce the risk of prostate and pancreatic cancers.

Of course tomatoes are great on sandwiches, in salads and sauces or just on their own. They also add color and flavor to quiches, casseroles, omelets and soups.

For information on growing, harvesting and eating tomatoes, visit:


  • Rich in Antioxidants
  • Reduces the Risk of Prostate Cancer
  • Lowers the Risk of Colon Cancer
  • Helps Reduce the Risk of Pancreatic Cancer
  • Excellent Source of Vitamin C and Vitamin A
  • Good Source of Fiber
  • Improves Cholesterol Numbers

Photo Credit: Melissa Braun

Back To School Bentos

In preparation for the upcoming school year, here are some "back to school" lunch ideas.

School Lunch #1

This school lunch was made with the help of two of our new products. The stars were created with a Fruit and Veggie Cutter and the tomatoes are nested in one of the Bento Dividers.

  • Deviled Eggs
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Pluot
  • Butternut Squash Stars
  • Whole Wheat Garlic Bread Slices


School Lunch #2

  • Whole Wheat Pasta with Tomato Sauce for Dipping
  • Cheddar Cheese Cubes
  • Raspberries
  • Yogurt Pretzels
  • Persian Cucumber Slices


School Lunch #3

  • Pita Wrap with Hummus, Shredded Carrots and Sprouts
  • Extra Carrot Sticks and Sprouts
  • Steamed Broccoli with Ranch Dressing
  • Mini Heirloom Tomato Halves
  • Mini Rice Crackers


Green Opportunities

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

  • HOW TO GO GREEN: BACK TO SCHOOL It's time to start preparing for another school year. has put together a list of tips on how to start off the year making eco-friendly choices. To learn what you can do, visit: And while you are there, check out their other Green Back to School Articles.

    • COCO-ECO MAGAZINE Here's a way to be stylish and green at the same time. Coco-Eco is a fashion publication that's only available online. It promotes the latest in eco-styles along with healthy living, organic products, recycling and fair trade. To find out more about it, visit:

    Laptop Lunches in the News - San Francisco

    Bento Lunchbox, Eat Healthily While Flying (photos)

    July 6, 2010
    By Sheila OConnor

    World travelers with kids often want to make sure their traveling child is eating healthily. But they don't necessarily want to pay for an expensive inflight meal. So what's the answer?

    For this world traveler's children it's the bento lunchbox from Laptop Lunches (and yes, okay, you can use them for school lunches too). The good thing is these bento boxes, from Laptop Lunches let you make fun, wholesome, on-the-go meals. To read the entire article, visit


    ABC 26 News - WGNO
    Good Morning New Orleans

    Get the Skinny - Portion Control

    June 9, 2010
    with Molly Kimball

    We know that portion control is key to managing our weight, but it can be tough to judge serving sizes by sight alone. And who wants to drag out the measuring cups every time you eat?

    Here are some of my favorite new tools that help you keep portions in check, without sacrificing style or convenience! To view the video, visit,0,2494355.story.


    Mothering Magazine

    Strokes of Genius:
    Get back in the swing of school time with this ingenius green gear.

    July/August 2010
    Candace Walsh

    Lunch Boxes: Each season, I look forward to seeing the innovative lunch boxes cooked up by some very creative designers. ...the Alien lunch box has nesting containers in a sturdy insulated bag (

    Inside the Lunch Box: Bye-bye plastic baggies and aluminum foil--the zero-waste lunch movement has innovatively reworked the interiors of lunch boxes. To read the entire article, check out pages 68 and 69 in the July/August issue of Mothering.


    New Retailers

    Whole Foods Market
    9366 South Colorado Blvd
    Littleton, CO 80126
    (303) 470-6003

    Whole Foods Market
    317 Boston Post Rd
    Wayland, MA 01778
    (508) 358-7700

    Whole Foods Market
    14357 W. Colfax Ave.
    Lakewood, CO 80401
    (303) 277-1339

    Whole Foods Market
    1748 West Redstone Center Drive
    Park City, UT 84098
    (435) 575-0200

    Moscow Food Coop
    121 East 5th Street
    Moscow, ID 83843
    (208) 882-8537

    Just Goods
    1211 Mishawaka Ave.
    South Bend, IN 46615
    (574) 286-5878

    Whole Foods Market
    1131 E. Wilmington Ave
    Salt Lake City, UT 84106
    (801) 359-7913

    The Busy Bluebird
    1149 County Line Rd
    Oglethorpe, GA 31068
    (229) 815-9409

    Imagination Station
    198 N. Main St.
    Franklin, IN 46131
    (317) 736-9636

    New Morning Country Store LLC
    738 Main St. South
    Woodbury, CT 06798
    (203) 263-4868

    Whole Foods Market
    900 E. 11th Ave
    Denver, CO 80218
    (303) 832-7701

    Whole Foods Market
    7250 W. Lake Mead Blvd.
    Las Vegas, NV 89128
    (702) 942-1500

    Whole Foods Market
    2151 Mystic Valley Parkway
    Medford, MA 02155
    (781) 395-4998

    Whole Foods Market
    18700 W. Ventura Blvd.
    Tarzana, CA 91356
    (818) 578-7840

    Whole Foods Market
    1111 S. Washington St.
    Denver, CO 80210

    Whole Foods Market
    170 Great Road
    Bedford, MA 01730
    (781) 275-8264

    Whole Foods Market
    3950 24th St.
    San Francisco, CA 94114
    (415) 282-4700

    Whole Foods Market
    40 Railroad St.
    Andover, MA 01810
    (978) 749-6664

    Whole Foods Market
    15 Westland Ave
    Boston, MA 02115
    (617) 375-1010

    Whole Foods Market
    916 Walnut St
    Newton, MA 02461
    (617) 969-1141

    Tot Tank
    1413 Park Street
    Alameda, CA 94501
    (510) 865-8265

    Whole Foods Market
    870 S. Colorado Blvd
    Glendale, CO 80246
    (303) 691-0101

    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.

    Fast & Easy Everyday Bento Lunches

        by Deborah Hamilton, Lunch in a Box

    Dubbed "the Rachael Ray of bento" by The Washington Post, Deborah Hamilton runs Lunch In A Box an award-winning blog about making speedy bento-style packed lunches for her son. Fluent in Japanese, Deborah worked in Japan for nine years before moving to San Francisco. Too lazy to make intricate food art, Deborah (aka “Biggie”) uses tips and tricks found in Japanese bento cookbooks to speed up lunch prep, and applies them to her family's Western kitchen and global diet. Her focus on fast, simple, balanced meals shows how packing lunches can help save money, encourage healthy eating, and be ecologically conscious while still being fun and playful.

    It’s a new school year, and you’re excited for the year ahead but dreading one thing: packing lunches. How do you put together a variety of delicious, balanced meals that your kids will eat, without spending hours in the kitchen? We all get into lunch ruts where it seems easiest to reach for sandwich fixings, but with a few speed bento tricks you’ll be making them effortlessly.

    Now when I say bento, you may have doubts. “Wait, aren’t bento lunches all crazy food art with hot dogs carved into little sculptures? I don’t have time for that!” Full-on food art is intimidating, but everyday bento lunches can be simple, fast, and doable over the long run. Just focus on incorporating a balanced variety of different foods arranged in an appealing way – this will tempt even the pickiest eater. My bento blog, Lunch in a Box focuses on tricks of the trade I’ve picked up from Japanese speed bento cookbooks. These are tricks I've used in making bento-style lunches, with world food, for my young son. Here are the basics to help you make simple and economical bentos that your kids will love.

    Organize for Speed

    • Keep all of your child’s lunch gear in one place, including extra containers, utensils, bags, and packing accessories, like food picks and silicone baking cups to use as dividers. If you like to make decorative food, keep all of your shaped cutters in one place. When it comes time to pack lunch, you’ll have everything you need at the ready without searching around the kitchen for just the right tool.
    • Keep a “bento stash” on hand with easy frozen or prepackaged foods that you can grab and quickly throw into a bento lunch. I keep small baskets of these items in my pantry, refrigerator and freezer, with foods I’ve thought through earlier This makes morning packing a breeze. The refrigerator has a selection of pre-sliced vegetables, fruits, cheeses, and even homemade jello cups; the freezer holds frozen appetizers like crab cakes, mini quiches, dumplings, tamales, and seasoned rice balls. Good pantry items include pre-portioned servings of nuts or crackers.

    • Package up individual servings of leftovers in small containers like baking cups, and freeze in batches. This makes it easy to include a variety of different foods in a meal, taking advantage of the time you’ve spent cooking earlier. When making rice, I package up single-serving portions of any excess and freeze. Just re-warm in the microwave or steamer to restore the texture before packing.

    Cook for Speed

    • You don’t need to make everything fresh in the morning to put together an appealing bento. I aim to make one new dish for a meal, with the remainder made up of leftovers and easy items like cherry tomatoes or wrapped cheeses.
    • When making dinner, make extra to yield planned leftovers. To ensure that your family doesn’t eat up all of the extra food you’ve made, hold back planned leftovers in the kitchen and only serve your regular amount of food at the dinner table.
    • If your child gets bored eating the same thing again and again, get creative by giving leftovers new life as “Leftover Remakes.” Leftover roast chicken becomes filling for a quesadilla, risotto becomes fried risotto cakes, mashed potatoes become mini shepherd’s pies.

    • Japanese bento cookbooks tout the time-saving technique of cooking multiple items simultaneously: in the microwave, toaster oven, frying pan, etc. This saves time and energy. The trick is to select foods that will cook well with the chosen method and to periodically check to see when they are fully cooked. (Don’t assume all dishes will be done at the same time).

    Pack for Speed

    • Once you’re organized and have a variety of foods on hand, the challenge is putting together a balanced lunch. I like to pack by color, including three to five different colored foods in a bento lunch: a green vegetable, a brown or white starch, a red fruit, etc. When you think in terms of natural food colors (“What’s my red or green for today?”), the nutritional balance happens effortlessly.
    • Get a head start on the morning school rush by packing the next day’s lunch as you’re cleaning up from dinner, and store in the refrigerator overnight. Some foods do better when prepared fresh. I like to slice any fruit in the morning for maximum freshness, and warm up any rice I’ll be sending, to restore texture. (Cold rice is hard and nasty.) If you have the rest of the lunch packed and ready in the fridge, it’s simple to add the finishing touches in the morning.

    Special Kids’ Issues

    • Don’t over pack the lunch. Kids like to be able to finish a whole lunch in one sitting; you can do your part toward portion control by packing a manageable lunch in a small container.
    • Don’t forget the fun! Kids especially respond to the fun aspect, and picky eaters are more likely to try foods presented in an appealing way. This can be as simple as adding cute food picks or other bento accessories, or including a little container of a dip for fresh fruits or vegetables (kids love dipping). For special occasions you can try your hand at food art where you sculpt faces or animals out of food, but don’t feel that you need to do this every day. You’ll burn yourself out!


    For lunch packing tips, as well as, more information about Deborah, visit her blog at:

    What Works...Success Stories

    "Thanks so much for such quick service and an awesome product. I ordered your new Bento 2.0 for my daughter, two nights ago and it already arrived. I must say it has really exceeded my expectations. It is so well made and well worth the money. THANKS."

            -- Monica, Yuba City, CA  

    "I love your Laptop Lunch boxes. I have 3 of them. My son and I are Celiac, and the many containers make it easy for me to put together a colorful, healthy, varied lunch for my son. I can't just toss a sandwich or a "Lunchable" in his backpack.”

            -- Tanya Smyk, Thunder Bay, ON

    "I purchased the 2.0 system the other day at a store in Appleton, WI that carries your product and then also placed an order in your online store a couple of days ago for extra containers. Anyway, I just wanted you to know that the system is excellent and we have been using it for lunch at home in preparation of my daughter's first day of Kindergarten next week. So far so good!”

            -- Lisa Falduto, WI


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

    Featured Web Site: is dedicated to providing teachers, administrators, parents and students with resources on how to improve the health of schools across the country. They have devoted this site to valuable information on food and nutrition, school supplies, curriculum and socially responsible programs. In order to improve the health of our planet, we need to start by raising our children in healthy environments.

    Learn how to serve the most nutritious school food, choose the safest products inside the classroom and out, and teach your students how to play an integral role in the future of their planet. Their hope is to inspire teachers, parents and administrators to achieve new heights in school health without missing a beat.

    To find out more, visit

    On this site:

    • Nutrition Goals and Sample Menus
    • Green School Supplies
    • Advice and Action Plans for School Gardens
    • Eco Education
    • School Success Stories
    • E-Newsletter

    September Highlights

    More Back to School Bentos, Green Opportunities, and an Obentec Article


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

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    © August 2010 Obentec, Inc.

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


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