Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Interview with Jennifer McCann

Check out this interview with Jennifer McCann of Vegan Lunch Box fame:

Meatless Monday: Pack a Healthy Lunch (Contributed by Kerry Truman of The Huffington Post.)

Food products created just for kids are a relatively new phenomenon; back in the day, children ate the same foods that grown-ups did, only in smaller quantities.

In recent decades, however, we’ve witnessed the rise of ‘fun’, kid-centric cuisine–i.e.,those processed foods plastered with cartoon characters that enthrall tots and appall their mothers, turning the center aisles of the supermarket into a minefield (or, more accurately, a whinefield). Weary parents routinely cave in and buy the real-life equivalent of Calvin and Hobbe’s chocolate frosted sugar bombs to defuse an exploding toddler in the breakfast cereal aisle.

Of course, during this same period, we’ve also seen a dramatic increase in childhood obesity and Type 2 diabetes, a disease once seen only in adults.

Coincidence? Consider the astonishing success of Kraft’s Lunchables, which are “loaded with saturated fat, salt, and sugars,” as NYU nutrition professor Dr. Marion Nestle notes in What To Eat. She adds that “they are not about nutrition; they are about sales and profits, as made clear by Kraft’s nearly $26 million advertising expenditure on Lunchables in 2004–and the $500 million in revenues that it generated.”

[Read the rest of the story at:]

Monday, December 21, 2009

Potato Pancakes and Applesauce

This Week's Photo


* Cinnamon Applesauce
* Potato Pancakes
* Mini Spinach Salad
* Italian Dressing
* Sun-dried Tomato & Basil Sausages

Preparation Notes

Few things go together as well as potato pancakes and applesauce. Combine that with a bit of spinach, salad dressing and some sausages, and you've got an awfully good lunch.

Prepare the potato pancakes.

Scoop some applesauce into the large water-tight container.

Fill the dip container with Italian dressing.

Pack the spinach around the dip container.

Add some of your favorite sausages. (Pictured here: Tofurky brand Italian Sun-dried Tomato Basil Sausages.)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Lunch Box

By Brenda Layman

Lunch on the go can be as tasty and nutritious as a home-cooked and served meal. Busy students and employees don’t have to depend on fast-food and cafeteria fare. With a bit of planning, lunches brought from home can make that midday break something special.

Convenient containers and insulated carriers allow greater versatility than ever when it comes to carrying food. Changing up the lunch routine with bountiful brown bag repasts or tempting lunch box fare provides healthier diets along with more enjoyable and cost-conscious eating.

The best meals on the go meet certain criteria. They are nutritious, convenient, appropriately portioned, and appetizing. Instead of buying fast food, which can be expensive and high in fat, sodium, and calories, folks can control the quality of home-packed foods. It’s easier to ensure that foods prepared at home are kosher, organic, or locally grown.

Read the rest of the article at

Friday, December 18, 2009

Large Lunch Jars Back in Stock!

We're happy to report that our large lunch jars are finally back in stock. These 27 oz jars are ideal for those wishing to transport either hot and cold foods. only $17.99 each, they make a great holiday gift!

More information can be found at

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Holiday Discount Extended Through Dec 31st

Happy Holidays!

We're pleased to announce that we've extended our holiday discount--20% off through Dec. 31st! Enter Coupon Code winter2009 at Check Out.

Provide your friends and family members with the tools they need to spend less, waste less, and EAT WELL!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Bulk Bin Bailout

This Week's Photo


* Mixed Dried Fruit
* Energy Nougats
* Cashews

Preparation Notes

Consider keeping bulk dry goods on hand for those days when the fridge is bare. While nutritionally speaking this lunch is less than ideal, it certainly stacks up better than most fast food and processed pre-packaged options.

Mix a variety of dried fruits: mango, apricots, bananas, cranberries, etc.

Add some energy nougats.

Include a handful of cashews.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Special Holiday Offer: 20% Off!

20% off all items through December 16th at

Use coupon code "winter2009" (no quotes) at check out.

Provide your friends and family members with the tools they need to spend less, waste less, and EAT WELL in 2010 and beyond!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

How to green your lunch

By Kelly Neylan, registered yoga teacher, reiki master, eco-entrepreneur/advocate

We all want to help the environment but sometimes it’s hard to know where to start. I know what you are thinking … this is going to be a hassle, or expensive but it’s not. As a mother of two and the owner of several businesses I’m here to tell you if I can do this anyone can.

Here is a guide on how to reduce your lunch waste. Remember, reducing is the new green recycling model. If the environmental impact doesn’t move you, maybe I can appeal to your sense of frugality?

[Read the rest of the article at]

Friday, December 4, 2009

Due to popular demand this holiday season, we've boxed together 24 original bento sets with 12 black/red and 12 pink for only $312. More information can be found at If you're in touch with 24 people hoping to receive a waste-free lunch kit this year, this could be just what you're looking for!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Laptop Lunches in the UK

Just a quick announcement to let you know that our UK distributor is now fully stocked with our Laptop Lunches 2.0 line at

If you're located in the UK or Europe, be sure to stop in for a visit!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Laptop Lunches Affiliate Program

Our new affiliate program is officially up and running! Please email us at 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.

We're looking forward to working with you!

Friday, November 27, 2009

New Laptop Lunches 2.0 Inner Container Sets Now Available

We're pleased to announce the launch of our Laptop Lunches 2.0 inner container sets.

More information available at:

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Small Lunch Jars and Lunch Dates Back in Stock!

Our Lunch Dates and small lunch jars are finally back in stock!

We've extended our special Lunch Date price of $69.99 (regularly $114.99 - $124.99) through the holiday season. We do have a limited number, so we recommend ordering early. More information can be found at:

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Grab and Go Bento

This Week's Photo


* Yogurt
* Trail Mix
* Organic Grapes
* Baby Carrots

Preparation Notes

If you're like us, you're searching for ways to simplify your routine as we head into the busy holiday season. Packing simple "grab and go" lunches can save time and reduce stress. This is one of our favorites.

Scoop some plain or vanilla yogurt into the large lidded container.

Add some trail mix that you've purchased in bulk.

Drop in a few organic grapes.

Add a handful of baby carrots or carrot sticks.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Falafel and Pita

This Week's Photo


* Whole Grain Mini Pitas
* Garden Tomato
* Sun-dried Tomato Hummus
* Falafel
* Sugar Snap Pea and Garbanzo Salad
* Fuyu Persimmon

Preparation Notes

It's so great to see fuyu persimmons back at the farmers' market again. This delicious and unique fruit is not only beautiful to look at, but good for you too. We purchased the sun-dried tomato hummus from a local restaurant vendor at the farmers' market as well, and picked up the falafel on our walk home. The tomato was plucked from our very sleepy-looking backyard garden, and the salad was left over from the day before.

Slice the pita bread.

Add a bit of hummus to the dip container.

Add two falafel patties.

Prepare the sugar snap pea and garbanzo salad by sauteeing the two ingredients in a small amount of olive oil and fresh garlic and then sprinkling with balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper. (Allow to cool before packing.)

Peel and cut the persimmon and add it to the medium container.

Drop in one tomato for color, flavor, and an extra shot of nutrition.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Insulated Lunch Carriers on Special

Looking for an insulated carrier? They're on sale this week at

Only $15.99! (regularly $17.99)

This durable insulated carrier will keep your lunch fresh for hours!


  • a reusable water bottle

  • a velcro mesh pouch for ice pack (not included)

  • a front zippered pocket for additional items

  • a handle and adjustable/removable shoulder strap

  • a rubberized ID tag

  • an attractive neoprene front panel

Monday, October 26, 2009

Ghoulish Halloween Lunch

Here's a ghoulish Halloween lunch that caught our attention:

* Witchy fingers (recipe from with gummi tarantula

* Apples with scary marshmallow teeth!

* Ghostly egg salad sandwiches with eyes made with black food marker

* Babybel cheese moon with bat ring (over baby carrots)


Monday, October 19, 2009

Arugula & Walnut Salad

This Week's Photo


* Arugula & Walnut Salad
* Garlic Lemon Dressing
* Apple Strudel
* End-of-Summer Cherry Tomatoes

Preparation Notes

The end of the tomato season is always a bit hard to stomach, but it does mean that apples are ready for picking, providing a good excuse to pack apples and apple treats--like apple strudel. For a less caloric strudel, add extra apples and reduce the amount of fillo dough and butter. And be sure to pack a healthy portion of greens for your main course.

Create an arugula salad with baby arugula, sliced radishes, and walnut halves. Pair this with a delicious dressing made of garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil.

Add a handful of cherry tomatoes to eat on their own or to add to the salad.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Low-waste lunches for Montessori students


REDLANDS - To cut down on food waste, students at Montessori in Redlands tote around the same lunch containers.

Laptop Lunches are five small plastic containers that fit into a plastic box, which snaps closed. The entire laptop-style box can be placed next to a water bottle and into an insulated cloth lunch bag that zips shut.

"It really is great on portion control," said Brandi Jennings, president of Parents and Teachers of Montessori. "They usually don't eat anything more than what's in the box."

All the pieces are included in the $40 price, but students get them free courtesy of Parents and Teachers of Montessori.

The boxes were purchased in the 2008-09 school year for all students and staff members. They order more during the summer so new students have them before they start school, Jennings said.

"It cuts down on waste a lot," she said. "In doing so you tend to pack a little more of a healthier lunch because you're not using pre-packaged items. That might not be your goal at first, but it just kind of turns up that way."

Jennings said her 11-year-old son has had his lunch box since he was 5 and it is still in good condition with all the pieces.

"They might seem to be expensive at first, but when you realize you don't have to buy a new lunch box every years, it works out just fine," she said.

Laptop Lunches helps reinforce the school's method of integrating environmental responsibility in their students' education, said head of school Maura Joyce. Classes compost for their garden and each room has recycling bins for paper and plastic.

"At a young age they're learning to have a profound respect to each person and environment," she said.

Student Ronnie Ravins, 5, said he likes to play with the box because it is shaped like a computer.

"I like that it has a lot of stuff that I need," he said.

Kate Harris, primary class assistant, said her class's trash level is minimal since students started using laptop lunches.

"The PTM is the driving force behind it and it really just encourages the whole school to do it," she said.

She used reusable containers for her own children's lunches, but now all four pack their own in the Laptop Lunches containers.

"I'm just so pleased to see literally through the week that everyone is using them," Harris said.

[Read this article at]

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Think Outside the Lunch Box (and other great ideas from Planet Green)

By Sonali Morris, August 24, 2009, 3:13PM

Our friends at Planet Green have an out-of-this-world idea. Ditch the brown bags, the juice boxes and disposable snack sacks. Instead, opt for more Earth-friendly solutions. Not only will you be saving the environment, but you'll also be saving some green in your wallet. I've already bought my kids Klean Kanteens. Next up, fashioning sandwich containers out of milk jugs. Keep reading and get your green on! And, if you've finished your back-to-school shopping, just remember: It's never too late to start thinking about the future.

[Read the rest of the article at]

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Pack an Easy, Healthy Bento Box School Lunch

Laptop Lunches Kits Include Recipes and Ideas for Fun Kids' Meals

by Jennifer Mueller, Oct 3, 2009

Bento lunchboxes like the Laptop Lunch are an alternative to the brown bag for making kids' lunches that are fun, nutritionally sound, and environmentally friendly.

A single school child taking a disposable packed lunch to school can generate 45-90 pounds of garbage each year, according to the New York Sate Department of Environmental Conservation. Kids carrying the Laptop Lunches system or other bento box style container could make little to no trash that same year.

Read more:

Read the rest of the article at

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Out the Door in Under 5 Minutes

Is your morning routine longer than you want it to be? Check out this humorous video clip from Japan:

Monday, October 5, 2009

Spaghetti Squash with Pesto

This Week's Photo


* Spaghetti Squash with Pesto Sauce
* Green Grapes
* Fresh Blueberries
* Oatmeal Bars

Preparation Notes

Substituting spaghetti squash for plain old pasta adds a depth of flavor and wholesome nutritients to any pasta sauce. The recipe for this dish was sent to us by Mariel Hemingway, whose new book, Mariel's Kitchen, is sure to be a winner in your home as well. We served this main course with fresh fruit and a couple of delicious oatmeal bars to achieve this way-more-than-satisfying meal.

Prepare the spaghetti squash with pesto. (This keeps well overnight, so consider making it for dinner and setting some aside for lunch the following day.)

Add a handful each of grapes and blueberries.

Prepare the oatmeal bars using the recipe on page 74 of The Laptop Lunch User's Guide.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Toddler Rainbow Lunch

This Week's Photo


* Fresh Organic Strawberries
* Steamed Carrot Coins
* Steamed Cauliflower
* Kidney Beans
* Cheddar Bunnies

Preparation Notes

Toddlers require far less food at one sitting than we do, so pack accordingly--and be sure to pack the colors of the rainbow. Include lots of bite-sized finger foods, and steam vegetables for easy chewing.

Cut fresh strawberries.

Peel carrots and cut into thin "coins." (Make sure they're mushy.)

Steam the cauliflower.

Add a small "toddler size" handful of cheddar bunnies.

Spoon some beans into one of the medium containers.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Can the school lunch be healthy? The Renegade Lunch Lady Ann Cooper says yes

By Laura Reiley, Times Food Critic
St Petersburg Times, Wednesday, September 30, 2009

In 2008, the National School Lunch Program served more than 30.5 million children low-cost or free lunches each day. But according to the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, about 42 percent of schools don't offer fresh fruits or vegetables, and only 7 percent meet all nutritional standards.

Chef Ann Cooper, the self-described Renegade Lunch Lady, aims to change all that. Hardly the hairnetted drone filling your five-compartment plastic tray, Cooper has spent the past 10 years railing against district spending policies, commodity-based food service organizations and political platforms with no mention of school food or child health. Overhauling districts' lunch programs in New York, Berkeley, Calif. (with the help of Chez Panisse's Alice Waters) and now in Boulder, Colo., she has taken her message national.

[Read the rest of the story at]

Monday, September 28, 2009

New Survey Shows Shoppers Eating More Meals at Home, Cooking Meals to Save Money

AUSTIN, TX. (September 2, 2009) – Whole Foods Market® (NASDAQ: WFMI), the leading natural and organic foods supermarket, today announced results from its annual Food Shopping Trends Tracker survey conducted by Harris Interactive®, which found that two out of three (68 percent) U.S. adults have changed their cooking and eating habits because of the current state of the economy, with about half (51 percent) eating dinner at home more often and more than a third (37 percent) budgeting food shopping trips more strictly.

At the same time, the survey found that the majority (76 percent) say they do not want to compromise on the quality of the food they buy, regardless of current food prices. While three in four (75 percent) also continue to purchase natural and/or organic foods in the same quantities as they always have, nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of consumers surveyed say they would like to find ways to be able to buy these foods within their budget.

“We recognize that shoppers should be able to cut costs, not corners when buying natural and organic foods,” says A.C. Gallo, co-president and chief operating officer for Whole Foods Market. “This research is in sync with what we are seeing right now with our customers as they are taking advantage of our in-store value programs and specials, and they are turning to us for meal planning and ideas more than ever before, especially via our website.”

Of the adults who said their grocery shopping habits have been affected by current food prices, half (54 percent), are using more coupons are more likely to comparison shop (50 percent), and are more likely to buy private label/grocery store brands (45 percent). Gallo notes that Whole Foods Market’s “The Whole Deal” program helps customers stretch their food dollar with special deals, product coupons and shopping tips, and that the recipe section is the most popular category on

Interestingly, four in five adults (80 percent) think the price of groceries, in general, has increased since this time last year, according to the survey. However, according to the federal government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index release for July 2009, the food at home index has declined for the seventh time in the past eight months for a total decrease of 2.6 percent from its peak in November 2008.

Learn to Cook. Learn to Save. Eat Healthy.

The survey found that most adults (79 percent) cook at home. More than half (54 percent) saying they do so to save money, while 44 percent of respondents say they simply enjoy eating their favorite foods in the comfort of their home and 41 percent say they cook at home to ensure they are eating healthfully.

Among parents who provide breakfast, packed school lunches and/or after-school snacks for their children, nearly half (45 percent) say they would like to find ways to provide these types of healthy foods within their budget, and some (20 percent) insist on providing these healthy food items, with little attention to price.

“Helping families eat healthy and on a budget is a priority for Whole Foods Market,” says Gallo. For example, Whole Foods Market recently launched a new partnership with Chef Ann Cooper, the nation’s “renegade lunch lady” to help busy families build better lunchboxes and to help schools bring about real change in how children eat. Also, Whole Foods Market is embarking on a new Healthy Eating Initiative for customers and the company’s Team Members. The program, which will kick off in early 2010, aims to help everyone make informed diet and lifestyle choices that promote good health. [Read the rest of the article at]

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Schools promote waste-free lunches

By Karen Ann Cullotta
Special to Tribune Newspapers
September 27, 2009

In the lunchroom at Stowe Elementary School in Duluth, Minn., forlorn piles of half-eaten sandwiches and bruised bananas are transformed from trash to treasure.

Instead of tossing their uneaten school lunch scraps in the garbage bin, Stowe students donate their leftover fruits and vegetables to the school's worm compost. Items that aren't as compost-friendly, such as breads and potatoes, are donated to area farmers, who feed the free and tasty slop to their pigs.

"Knowing it won't all be going into a landfill feels good," said 10-year-old Bradley MacDougall, a fifth-grader at Stowe. "Most of the kids at our school are pretty good about it."

[Read the rest pf the article at,0,2812304.story.]

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Let Your Kitchen Be the Heart of Your Home with Mariel's Kitchen

"Actress and model Hemingway shares her secrets for cooking nutritious and appetizing food in this lavishly photographed book. Hemingway proves that healthy food can be enticing, and her dishes will appeal to even the least health-conscious among us." -- Publishers Weekly

Let Your Kitchen Be the Heart of Your Home!

Do you wish you had time in your life for nutritious and delicious home-cooked meals? Would you like to find a quick and easy way to make fresh, organic food a part of your life? If so, your journey towards better health begins here. Mariel's Kitchen: Simple Ingredients for a Delicious and Satisfying Life will empower you with simple tips and recipes you can begin making, today.

Mariel Hemingway is an actress, model, yoga instructor, mother of two teenage girls, and one of the leading voices for holistic and balanced living. She knows how challenging it is to cook when we feel deprived of the time to plan, shop and prep. She has asked the question "How do we make real food a part of real, everyday life?" and she has designed an answer.

In Mariel's Kitchen, you will have a wonderfully handy reference guide which includes:

* A repertoire of doable, seasonal, nutritious recipes that are tasty enough to repeat.
* Pantry essentials: an easy-to-build support team of staple goods.
* Seasoning chart: an easy-to-use seasoning guide for various meats and vegetables.
* In-season produce charts for Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter.
* Additional indispensable resources for purifying the heartbeat of your kitchen.

If you are challenged to balance your desire for satisfying, healthy meals with your time-demanding life, Mariel's Kitchen is a necessity for YOUR kitchen.

* Hardcover
* 288 pages
* Published: May 5, 2009
* Dimensions: 9.2 x 7.5 x 1.1 inches

Available on our Web site at

Monday, September 21, 2009

Beyond plastic bags part I: Pack a budget friendly, fun-to-eat school lunch

By Melissa Newby, Frugal Family Examiner

If you pack your child's lunch every day of school, you could use over 200 plastic bags over the course of a school year. Using reusable packaging to pack school lunches is not only good for the environment, it's good for your wallet. While purchasing these items means you might have to spend money to save money, the long term benefits are worth the initial expense.

Reusable containers also encourage purchasing foods in bulk, sending homemade food, and including lots of finger foods, which all help you provide your child a nutritious meal while not spending a fortune.

Laptop Lunches offers an entire lunch box system that lets you customize and vary your lunches, all while using reusable containers. You start with an insulated exterior case and then fit smaller Bento Boxes into that case. Vary the Bento Boxes based on what you're sending for lunch that day. All products are BPA, lead, and phthalate free and completely washable and reusable. Use the Laptop Lunch Users Guide for inspiration to provide, "nutritious lunch ideas with ingredients that can be purchased locally at natural foods stores, farmers’ markets or through CSAs", says Amy Hemmert from Laptop Lunches.

[Read the rest of the article at]

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Food, Food, Glorious, Food!

When I was 11, and living in Hawaii, we had a Japanese woman, by the name of Toki Yamaguchi, who came on Wednesdays to clean and do the washing and ironing for my mother. When Toki took her lunch break she would sit down at our 1954 chrome and swirly gray Formica kitchen table with her Bento Box and chopsticks. I was fascinated.

I peeked over her shoulder while she poked around in her mysterious meal. Soon she was bringing extras and offering me tastes from her exotic looking lacquer and mother-of-pearl lunch box on the days she knew I would not be in school. I got to try rice balls with ume (pickled plum) tucked inside, various kinds of sushi, steamed fish, pickled vegetables, toasted seaweed, sashimi, teriyaki beef and chicken, Udon noodles and so many other assorted goodies that I've been hooked on Japanese food ever since.

Imagine my surprise last week when surfing the internet, I ran across an article in the NY Times on Bento Boxes! What a huge craze they have become. Admittedly, this interest has been mostly spawned by mothers trying to pack healthy and affordable lunches for their kids so they don't have to participate in the school lunch programs. . .where catsup is considered a vegetable. . . but the whole concept of multiple small portions of many different colorful fruits and vegetables, grains, nuts and seeds and proteins makes sense for everyone who is looking to eat a healthy diet.

Read the entire post at:

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Program promotes litter-less, healthy lunches

EDUCATION: Laptop Lunch Kits

Sarah Blackwell, a citizen of Aundeck Omni Kaning First Nation and owner of Bugaboo Baby & You, is offering a school fundraising program that promotes healthy eating and provides children with a way to save the environment.

Schools can use environmentally friendly products that promote health and wellness, while also earning money that can be used within the classroom."

Blackwell explained how schools can use this program to send a strong message to the public. Promote the school as one that makes a strong statement . . . We believe in healthy children and a healthy earth."

The green fundraiser" program's main product is the Laptop Lunch Kit. The kit itself is a BPA-free, phalate free bento style lunchbox that fits into an insulated bag. This is a compact way in which to pack a healthy and perfectly proportional lunch. There are several colours to choose from.

My laptop lunch kit is pink. I think it is good to use at school because of all the containers that fit in like a puzzle. I have never had anything spill like other lunch bags. I do not have any garbage at school," said seven-year-old Nipissing First Nation citizen Danika Bellissimo.

The use of the kits reduces lunchtime waste. The pamphlet for the program states that, a school-aged child will generate approximately 67 pounds of waste."

[Read the rest of the article at

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Pasta and Salad

This Week's Photo


* Fettuccine with Fresh Parsley and Kalamata Olives
* Arugula Salad
* Nonfat Cottage Cheese
* Fresh Organic Strawberries

Preparation Notes

This fettuccine dish is simple to make, tastes great, and keeps well overnight. Prepare it for dinner in the evening, and then pack it for lunch the following day. Add a nice, crispy green salad and two side dishes, and you've got a delicious mid-day meal.

Boil the fettuccine per the instructions on the package. In a large bowl, prepare a sauce by combining extra virgin olive oil, fresh minced garlic, fresh chopped scallions, fresh chopped parsley, salt, and ground pepper. Add the pasta to the sauce and toss gently. Add some kalamata olives and feta cheese, and toss again.

Prepare an arugula salad by combining fresh arugula, dried cranberries, and sliced red onions. (Pack some Dijon vinaigrette dressing in the dip container on the side.)

Add a scoop of nonfat cottage cheese.

Add a handful of fresh organic strawberries.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Zucchini Saute

This Week's Photo


* Wild Rice
* Zucchini Saute
* Sliced Cucumbers
* Cherry Tomatoes
* Blackberries

Preparation Notes

This garden delight is one of our summer favorites. It's best prepared when fresh zucchini, garlic, basil, and tomatoes are still in summer abundance. Be sure to try it before fall arrives in earnest.

Cook the wild rice per the instructions on the package.

Prepare the zucchini saute. Recipe available HERE.

Slice the cucumbers.

Add a handful of cherry tomatoes and blackberries.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Bento boxes, tiffins can revive your lunch routine

Think inside a new box with containers that inspire creative cooks to bring lunch from home.

By Addie Broyles
Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Brown-bag lunches are about as exciting as the turkey sandwiches and bags of carrots usually packed inside them.

With the economy prompting more adults to pack their own lunches these days — more than 8 billion meals a year, according to NPD Group research, 40 percent of which contain sandwiches — the midday meal needs a makeover.

Sometimes, something as simple as changing your lunch container is all you need to reinvigorate the way you think about food consumed away from home. [Read the rest of the article at]

Friday, August 28, 2009

Lunch Boxes - What's Hot (and Healthy) in the Cafeteria

by Bev Sklar
Aug 28th 2009 11:00AM

No more crinkly brown bags for school lunch, kid bento boxes are in this year. Can't blame you for trying to keep your kid away from not-so-stellar hot school lunch -- federal reimbursement for the National School Lunch Program is so pathetic, schools are left with a chicken nugget buck to spend on each lunch. Yes, about $1.

You can do better. Check out these healthy-to-go tools for your back-to-schooler, with a few featured here:

Laptop Lunchboxes. This American-style bento box encourages you to pack portion-right sizes of a variety of foods -- without any baggies landing in the garbage. No phthalates, BPA or lead, and it's reusable, recyclable and dishwasher safe. You can even purchase an extra set of inner containers just in case you left the containers in the sink. My second grader (pictured) loves his new black Laptop Lunchbox with red containers. This earth-friendly invention is forcing me to steer away from single-serve yogurt or applesauce and buy in bulk jars/tubs instead. One major complaint, missing a slot for an ice pack. May have to splurge on the carrying case with velcro mesh pouch and this non-toxic ice pack instead.

[Read the rest of the article at]

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Bread and Cheese Picnic

This Week's Photo


* Fresh Papaya stuffed with Mountain Blueberries
* Francese Bread
* Zucchini Patties
* Brie Cheese
* Cheddar Cheese

Preparation Notes

This decadent picnic lunch is ideal for special occasions when you want something light and satisfying. It's especially deliciious during the summer months when local blueberries are in season. Substitute melon for the papaya if you prefer.

Slice the papaya in half and remove the seeds. Add heaping scoop of blueberries to the center (or pack them on the side and add them just before eating.)

Slice a piece of francese bread.

Prepare the zucchini patties. Combine 1 1/2 cups grated zucchini, 1/2 cup grated carrot, and 3/4 cup grated onion in a bowl. Add 1 egg and stir. Add 3/4 cup whole wheat flour, a pinch of salt and pepper, and mix gently. Add a small amount of olive oil to a skillet and heat. Spoon the batter into the skillet. Pan-fry the patties on one side and then the other until golden brown. Serve plain, or with salsa, marinara sauce,or ketchup.

Add two of your favorite cheeses. (Brie and cheddar pictured here.)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Top Green Back to School Tips

Get off to a Good Green Start

Before hitting the malls or online shops in search of green back to school gear, plan out your day (and your year) at school, and ask yourself some questions. Are you really going to ride your bike enough to warrant buying a new set of wheels? Are you going to be diligent enough about bringing your lunch each day (or most days) to require a new lunchbox or other reusable vessel? Do you really need a new ruler (the measurements haven't changed over the summer, you know) or a package of 68 pens? Make a list of what you absolutely know you need, what you think you might need, and what you want, and carefully consider which items go in which section of the list. Once your list is made, it's time to...

[Read the rest of the article at]

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Tips for packing school lunchboxes

By Monica Eng
Tribune Newspapers
August 19, 2009

The night before my son started first grade, his foodie mother stayed up to lovingly prepare a sandwich of free-range turkey on homemade organic bread with a crisp organic apple, a homemade granola bar and a cold box of organic milk.

When I asked how he enjoyed his special lunch, the little monster confessed he had traded it for a bag of chips.

[Read the rest of the story at,0,5119895.story.]

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Grab 'n Go Bento

This Week's Photo


* Red Grapes
* Fresh Green Beans
* Baked Whole Grain Crackers
* Sliced Cheese

Preparation Notes

This simple grab 'n go lunch takes five minutes to prepare. Having a busy week? Give it a try!

Wash a handful of grapes and place them in one of the large containers.

Add some washed and trimmed green beans.

Place a few crackers in one of the medium containers.

Slice some of your favorite cheese and add that to the other medium container.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Back to School Picks

Today's Parent magazine polled teachers on the top tools kids need in the classroom. Watch this video clip to find out what is and isn't essential.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Lunch Dates and Bento Bags

We're running a special on the following products:

* Designer Lunch Dates - Only $69.99! (regularly $124.99)
* Hemp Lunch Dates - Only $69.99! (regularly $114.99)
* Designer Bento Bags - Only $39.99! (regularly $69.99)
* Designer Bento Bags - Only $39.99! (regularly $59.99)


"Daily restaurant lunches have become the norm for many in the workforce, but costs can add up fast with a typical meal often costing $6.50 per day or $1,000 - $2,000 per year. This may not seem like much in good times, but when the economy is uncertain, that’s a lot to fork over.

"Americans are, thankfully, a resourceful bunch, and when it comes to lunch, resourceful often means taking up the brown bag—but with a 21st century bento twist: homemade lunches these days are stylish, fun, visually appealing, and eco-friendly too.

"With the help of the Laptop Lunches line of on-the-go bento-ware, countless lunch-makers across the globe have turned what could be a dreary, self-pitying task into a delightfully delicious, nutritious, gourmet experience—for a fraction of the cost."

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Creative ideas for healthy school lunches

This month an ad has been put up in the Union Station Metro stop in Washington DC, the metro station frequently used by Congressional staffers, featuring an 8 year old Florida girl with a thought bubble questioning “President Obama’s daughters get healthy school lunches. Why don’t I?”. It's very true that at most schools the cafeteria menus leave a lot to be desired nutritionally. With lunch entrees like processed white flour French Toast Sticks and nitrate laden Sausage, processed corn Nacho chips with artificially colored cheese food dip and chicken parts pressed into nuggets and patties and fried, it's no wonder our children have trouble concentrating and sitting still in class – they're brains and their bodies aren't being properly fed! The good news is that we can control how our own children are eating not just at home but at school as well by packing healthy lunches for them to take along.

[Read the rest of the story at]

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Japanese Soba Bento

This Week's Photo


* Chilled Soba Noodles
* Spinach Rolls
* Fresh Organic Strawberries
* Grilled Mushrooms
* Dipping Sauce

Preparation Notes

Chilled Japanese soba is a wonderful summer treat. Top with chopped scallions and serve a dipping sauce on the side. Add some local fruits and vegetables for nutrition and color and you've got a deliciously simple lunch.

Boil the soba noodles per the instructions on the package and chill.

Add a handful of fresh strawberries.

Prepare the spinach rolls: steam the spinach until tender but not mushy. Place on a sushi mat and roll tightly to form a roll, squeezing out the excess liquid. Carefully remove the spinach and set it aside. Then place a half sheet of nori seaweed on the sushi mat, place the steamed spinach along the near edge and roll the spinach inside the nori. Place the roll on a cutting board and slice carefully into 1-inch lengths.Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Enjoy with the dipping sauce.

Saute the mushrooms in a small amount of olive oil

Prepare the dipping sauce: combine 3 Tbs Japanese dashi stock, 1 tsp soy sauce, 1 tsp rice vinegar, and 1 tsp mirin.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Vegan Lunch Box Around the World

Vegan Lunch Box Around the World offers a delicious array of meat-free, egg-free, and dairy-free lunches that will take you on an adventure across the globe.

This delightful book includes balanced international and regional American menus with 100 recipes from Ratatouille to Moroccan Tagine, New England Chowder to a Japanese Bento Box.

With quick and easy recipes, fruit and veggie ideas for even the pickiest eaters, and an allergen-free index, Vegan Lunch Box Around the World is essential for every family raising healthy kids-and for anyone who packs a lunch.

Now available at

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Pasta and Patties

This Week's Photo


* Whole Wheat Vegetable Patties
* Fresh Spinach Fettuccine
* Walnuts
* Organic Plums

Preparation Notes

Lunch-making can be especially satisfying this time of year with so many fresh vegetables and fruits in season. This pasta dish, for example, is incredibly flavorful and takes just a few moments to prepare. If you belong to a CSA and end up with miscellaneous vegetables at the end of the week, these patties could be just what you're looking for.

Prepare the vegetable patties. Chop well and set aside about 2 cups of vegetables. (Cabbage, green beans, spinach, onions, mushrooms, carrots, yams, zucchini, and chard all work well.) In a separate bowl, mix 2 cups of whole wheat flour and a pinch of salt and pepper. In another bowl, beat an egg and add about 1 cup of water, milk, or soy milk. Add the liquid mixture to the flour mixture and stir lightly to mix. Add the vegetables and stir again. If the batter is too thick, add more liquid. Add a small amount of olive oil to a skillet and heat. Spoon the batter into the skillet. Pan-fry the patties on one side and then the other until cooked through. Serve plain, or with salsa, marinara sauce,or ketchup.

Boil the fettuccine and set aside. In a large pasta dish, mix fresh diced tomatoes, chopped fresh basil, minced garlic, and olive oil. Add the pasta and toss well to mix, then salt and pepper to taste.

Add a handful of walnuts to one of the medium containers.

Include two fresh plums.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Tried It Tuesday: Laptop Lunch Box

With Back to School time here or just around the corner, it is the perfect time to talk lunch boxes. Whether your child packs a lunch daily or just once in awhile, having a lunch container that makes the job easy is important. There are dozens of lunch boxes on the market, but after years of trial and error we are headed into a new school year using the same ones we purchased lat year—for the first time ever.

Laptop Lunch Boxes are a Bento-style container featuring several fun colors for your children to choose. The box is perfect for waste-free lunches, but even if going green isn’t your thing, the ease of packing a lunch without searching for baggies or trying to find just the right sized lid will make it worthwhile. Each laptop contains 4 containers—2 small squares and 2 larger rectangles (including 1 with a lid). They are just the right size for portioning leftovers, creating new meals and including the snacks your children love.

[Read the rest of the article at]

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Back To School: Dealing with Food Allergies in the Classroom

Written by Jamie Ervin

Sending your food allergic child off to school can be scary beyond belief. What will happen to little Johnny when we aren’t there to monitor every his food intake? I feel like we are becoming skilled at dealing with allergies in all kinds of social situations, here’s some tried and true tips from our allergic household to yours.

What we have to avoid: Gluten (wheat, barley, rye, oats and all derivitives), dairy, food additives (colors, flavors, preservatives) and chemicals.

[Read the rest of the story at]

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Insulated Bento Sleeves on Sale!

We're running a special on our insulated bento sleeves this week. They're normally $14.99, but they're on sale for only $11.99 through Tuesday, August 3rd. Pack your Laptop Lunches bento set inside this sleeve for use inside your backpack, brief case, or book bag. Comes with an ice pack.

"My son came home from school on the first day of 6th grade and announced that he would no longer be toting a lunchbox to school. Seems that lunchboxes were suddenly out, and backpack lunches were in. I had been packing healthy lunches in his Laptop Lunchbox for three years and wasn't ready to stop! I love packing lunches this way, and the containers still look brand new. At first I was at a total loss, but then I remembered seeing the bento sleeves on your Web site. I ordered one, and it works like a charm. I get to pack healthy lunches for him, and he gets to eat lunch from his backpack! Thanks for this great idea!"

More information can be found at

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Grilled Baby Cabbage with Rice

This Week's Photo


* Steamed Brown Basmati Rice
* Grilled Baby Cabbage
* Chick Peas
* Fresh Garden Tomatoes
* Fresh Plums
* Crispy Carrots

Preparation Notes

We put this lunch together after returning from a trip to the farmers' market. We were lucky enough to find these tender baby cabbages, which we seared to perfection. We then added a number of other items to "round out" the lunch.

Steam the rice and scoop some into the extra large container.

Slice the baby cabbages in half and sear in a small amount of butter or olive oil for a few minutes. Then add about 1/4 inch of water to the skillet, cover, and simmer until tender. Add salt, pepper, and paprika to taste. Place the cabbages on top of the rice.

Add some canned (drained and rinsed) chick peas.

Slice some fresh tomatoes (or include cherry tomatoes) and place in the corner of the extra large container for added nutrition and color.

Place two plums in one of the medium containers.

Peel and slice the carrots and place them in the other medium container.

Friday, July 24, 2009

State by state obesity rankings are out

Washington, D.C. - Adult obesity rates increased in 23 states and did not decrease in a single state in the past year, according to F as in Fat: How Obesity Policies Are Failing in America 2009, a report released today by the Trust for America's Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). In addition, the percentage of obese or overweight children is at or above 30 percent in 30 states.

"Our health care costs have grown along with our waist lines," said Jeff Levi, Ph.D., executive director of TFAH. "The obesity epidemic is a big contributor to the skyrocketing health care costs in the United States. How are we going to compete with the rest of the world if our economy and workforce are weighed down by bad health?"

[Read the rest of the story at]

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)

Community supported agriculture (CSA) benefits producers and consumers.

* It allows small farmers to sell directly to families, eliminating the need for middle men.
* Farmers can "pre-sell" their goods, so they know how much of each item to plant.
* Families can receive a share of high-quality, locally grown, organic produce easily and affordably.
* Local produce is fresher. Fruits that ripen on the tree or vine taste better and are more nutritient-rich.
* Local produce purchased directly from the farm for immediate consumption does not contain preservatives found in foods that must be shipped great distances.
* Trucking foods to other parts of the country creates traffic and air pollution.
* Organic farming practices keep pesticides, herbicides, and chemical fertilizers out of our food, drinking water, and animal habitats.

While many of us belong to CSAs or are planning to join a CSA sometime in the near future, few of us realize that--and we quote from"CSA is a relatively recent phenomenon in the United States and Canada. Teikei, the CSA equivalent, which literally translated means 'partnership' or 'cooperation', was first developed in Japan by a group of women concerned with the use of pesticides, the increase in processed and imported foods and the corresponding decrease in the farm population. The more philosophical translation for teikei is 'food with the farmer's face on it' (Van En 1992). In 1965 Japanese women initiated a direct, cooperative relationship in which local farmers were supported by consumers on an annual basis."

To hear the rest of the story or to find a CSA in your area, visit or

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Healthy Lunchbox

We've just added a new lunch book, The Healthy Lunchbox, to our Web store at

This one-of-a-kind guide is filled with quick tips, tricks, and techniques for organizing and preparing quick and easy meals with a little more zing and a lot more nutrition than those boring old sandwiches, chips, and sodas.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Composting Basics

Composting is a great way to add nutrients to any garden. It's easy, environment-friendly, and virtually free! If you're thinking about starting a compost pile but don't know how to begin, read on!

* You can purchase a compost bin or put one together yourself. (We made our compost bins with a large sheet of chicken wire — 4 feet wide and 13 feet long — and a few plastic cable ties. We have three open-ended cylinders that sit directly on the ground. The worms love it!)
* Balance your "greens" and "browns." That is, add both dry brown leaves and green plant trimmings.
* Add fruit and vegetable scraps from the kitchen. Don't forget egg shells, tea bags, and coffee grounds. Avoid oils and meat products.
* Keep your compost aerated. Mix the pile after each addition.
* Don't let your compost pile dry out.
* Don't let it get too soggy either.
* For more information on composting or to order composting equipment, visit
* Forward this email to your friends, family, and colleagues to show them how easy it is to get started.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Berry Delicious Crisp

This dessert is heavenly with fresh berries, but frozen berries work equally well. Keep a bag in the freezer for use in the off season or for unexpected dinner guests. This recipe is quick, easy, and tastes divine! Makes about 8 servings.


6 cups of your favorite fresh berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries) or 1 (16oz) package of frozen mixed berries (do not thaw)
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbs water


1 cup rolled oats or kamut
¾ cup unbleached flour
¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar, preferably dark brown
½ cup butter, softened
1 tsp cinnamon

1. Heat oven to 375° F.
2. Place fruit in an ungreased baking dish.
3. Sprinkle with water (omit if using frozen berries) and cinnamon.
4. In a bowl, combine topping ingredients and mix until crumbly.
5. Sprinkle evenly over fruit.
6. Bake at 375° F for 35 minutes or until fruit is bubbling and topping is golden brown.
7. Serve warm with high-quality vanilla ice cream.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Grab 'n Go Lunch

This Week's Photo


* Fresh Cherries
* Whole Grain Crackers
* Baby Carrots
* Ranch Dressing
* Almonds and Cashews

Preparation Notes

This lunch is perfect for an early or mid-summer morning when you're in a rush and don't have much in the kitchen. It takes less than 5 minutes to add a handful of each of the above ingredients as you're running for the door.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Oatmeal Bars

These oatmeal bars so delicious and serve as a great alternative to many similar pre-packaged products found in the supermarket. Freeze some for future use. Preheat oven to 350°F.

3 cups whole oats
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup walnut oil
1 egg, beaten
3 tbs orange juice or water
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Combine oatmeal, flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon together in a large bowl and mix well.
2. In a separate bowl, combine honey, oil, egg, orange juice (or water), and vanilla extract. Mix thoroughly.
3. Combine the dry and wet ingredients and mix again.
4. Using a spatula, press mixture firmly onto a lightly oiled cookie sheet, forming one large rectangle about 1/3 inch thick.
5. Smooth the edges with the edge of the spatula.
6. Bake at 350°F for 12-15 minutes, until light brown and firm.
7. Remove from oven and cool.
8. Using a sharp knife, cut the large rectangle into smaller 1 1/2-inch by 3 1/2-inch rectangles.
9. Remove from cookie sheet and enjoy!

(Excerpted from: The Laptop Lunch User's Guide: Fresh Ideas for Making Wholesome, Earth-friendly Lunches Your Kids Will Love, by Amy Hemmert & Tammy Pelstring, Morning Run Press, 2002. Available online at

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Gear for Luncheonistas

Nice review from the Wall Street Journal:

Lunch Date — Designer

This set includes a “laptop” bento box—a rectangular box with separate food containers inside. The set comes with a stainless-steel lunch jar (vacuum technology maintains hot or cold temperatures for four hours), a stainless-steel drink bottle and a recipe book. To keep the bento box cold, the set has a sleeve and ice pack.

The box itself fits more food than we expected. Our tester fit a burrito, refried beans, chopped tomato and cut-up fruit. We were afraid that the food inside the containers without lids would spread around the lunchbox, but they stayed put.

Read the rest of the article at

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Mis-matched Sets are Back in Stock

Our cartons of 24 mis-matched sets are back in stock for only $312 per box of 24! They're great for schools, clubs, birthday parties, and more. Here's what one customer has to say:

"As far as I'm concerned, the Laptop Lunch set is THE birthday gift. To make it more affordable, I purchased one of your cartons of mis-matched sets. Whenever my daughter receives a birthday invitation, we look through the box to find the right set for that person. The price of $13 each makes the gift affordable, and the kids (and parents!) love them. Thanks so much for making these available!"

What are mis-matched sets?

From time to time we end up with "extra" containers in combinations that, if assembled, would not equate to full sets of pink, periwinkle, red, primary or whimsical. Instead of recycling them, we assemble them into these "mis-matched" sets, which are a combination of colors from all of our bento set options. We are currently offering these unique sets of 24 to our online customers for a flat price of $312.00. (This item is ONLY available in boxes of 24--WHILE SUPPLIES LAST.)

More information can be found at

NOTE: COLORS VARY. The above photo shows only one of the many possible color combinations. (Placemat not included.)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Fruit Salad, Yogurt, and Granola

This Week's Photo


* Fruit Salad
* Yogurt
* Hemp and Flax Seed Granola

Preparation Notes

The Bento Buddies extra large container is perfect for a nice, big summer fruit salad. We've used strawberries, blueberries and an heirloom melon from the farmers' market here, but any combo of fresh seasonal fruit will do. We like to add a bit of fresh orange juice for additional juice and flavor.

Spoon some yogurt into the medium lidded container.

Add a handful of granola to the other medium container.

Enjoy separately or mix the three items together at mealtime.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Bento boxes, tiffins can revive your lunch routine

Think inside a new box with containers that inspire creative cooks to bring lunch from home.

By Addie Broyles
Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Brown-bag lunches are about as exciting as the turkey sandwiches and bags of carrots usually packed inside them.

With the economy prompting more adults to pack their own lunches these days — more than 8 billion meals a year, according to NPD Group research, 40 percent of which contain sandwiches — the midday meal needs a makeover.

Sometimes, something as simple as changing your lunch container is all you need to reinvigorate the way you think about food consumed away from home.

Meet bento and tiffin, two out-of-the-ordinary lunch boxes that can help you get creative when you're packing your — or, come fall, your kids' — lunches.

Bento boxes and tiffins are self-contained lunch apparatus, which means no more plastic bags you use once and throw away and no more plastic containers and mismatched lids.

A balanced meal in a bento box

Bento boxes, which the Japanese have been using since the fifth century, contain several smaller containers that are meant to be filled with portions of three parts carbohydrate, one part protein and two parts fruit or vegetable.

[Read the rest of the article at:

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Brown-bag lunch, Milwaukee style

Times are tough, but you already knew that. There are tons of websites and blogs to help you pinch pennies, cut costs and earn extra money, but have you thought about brown-bagging your lunch to lower your monthly food bill? If you're like so many other people who are spending their hard earned money on workday restaurant lunches, then this is your lucky day. Here are a few ideas to help you start brown-bagging your lunch every day and ultimately save you big money each month. Don't worry, you won't be carrying your lunch in a brown bag with grease stains or blue plastic grocery store bag, unless you really want to. You'll actually find a couple of links where you can order "custom" lunch kits and all the paraphernalia that go along with it.

Read the rest of the article at

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Bento System 2.0 is here!

New this Summer!

Bento 2.0

THREE new products joined the Laptop Lunches product line on July 1st!

*Exclusive New Colors and Designs
*Deeper Bento Box
*3 Water-tight Containers
*All-stainless Utensils

The Flower Fun and Alien Bento Systems 2.0 are ideal for families who embrace the bento concept for its function and sustainable style, but value the insulation and appeal of the traditional lunchbox. This waste-free lunch kit comes with an insulated carrying case, an outer bento container, 5 inner food containers (3 with water-tight lids), a water bottle, a set of stainless steel utensils, and a book of creative lunch ideas. The insulated carrying case is made with 100% recycled polypropylene fabric.

Bento Buddies 2.0 Can be used on their own directly inside a lunchbox:


Inside the Bento 2.0 outer container for additional configurations and for busy days when parents need an extra set of clean inner containers.

NOTE: Bento Buddies 2.0 are compatible with the Bento System 2.0. They DO NOT fit inside the original Laptop Lunches Bento Set.

Color options: berry, lime, and pink.

These products contain NO PVC, phthalates, bisphenol A (BPA), or lead.

For more information, visit