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]