Guest blogger: Laptop lunches

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Improving School Lunches: It Takes a Village
By Amy Hemmert and Tammy Pelstring

Jamie Oliver, Rachael Ray, Chef Ann Cooper, Michelle Obama, these well-respected school lunch advocates are voicing what teachers like Mrs. Q have known for years: the majority of school lunch programs in the US are failing to provide healthy lunches for our kids.

We first became aware of the poor quality of school lunches back when our (now high school!) kids were little. While many parents, teachers, and other school lunch advocates were working to improve school lunch programs for the long haul, we decided to create a more immediate solution that would empower parents with the tools they needed to pack wholesome home-made lunches joyfully and with ease. That’s when we came up with the Laptop Lunches American bento concept.

Featuring 5 stay-fresh containers nestled inside a tray and a set of all-stainless utensils, our bento box allows endless healthy lunch creations from salads, to sushi, to wraps and more. Once packed with wholesome foods, the bento box can be placed inside an insulated mini-laptop case or sleeve, which will keep food fresh and intact until lunchtime.

Because we are strongly committed to providing inspiration and support, each bento set comes with a handy book of creative lunch ideas. And each week, we update our website with healthy lunch menus and photos that will keep your lunches fresh and stress-free. To help jump-start your back-to-school lunch prep, we’ve included a few of our kids’ favorite recipes here.

  
Egg Salad English Muffin: Add some pizzazz to your everyday egg salad.
  • Pile it atop a whole grain English muffin and add a lettuce leaf, some sprouts, or sliced tomatoes.
  • Oranges can be cut in many ways, and they look great when packed with dark green broccoli, red bell pepper, and yellow egg salad.
  • Your favorite dressing will jazz up the veggies as well.

Zucchini Sauté: 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 sauté.
  • Heat olive oil in a skillet, then add 2 cloves of minced garlic.
  • Sauté 1 sliced zucchini, 2 medium diced tomatoes until tender (but not mushy).
  • Add ½ a can of cannellini beans and ¼ cup chopped basil.
  • Stir to heat thoroughly, then add salt and pepper to taste
  • Top with parmesan cheese and if you like it spicy, add dried, crushed hot peppers.
  • Serve with sliced cucumbers in one container a handful of cherry tomatoes and blackberries in the others.

Check out Laptop Lunches at http://www.laptoplunches.com/ for more great bento lunch box recipes!

***

Laptop lunches would like to giveaway a bento product to a lucky reader. To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment below and describe how you would use a laptop lunch bento if you won. I will pick randomly from the comments. If you already won a prize last week, please refrain from entering (thanks guys). The lucky reader will have a choice of any color of the Bento System (purple example below) or the new Bento kit (blue example below):
Bento System (above) and the new Bento Kit (below)
Note to readers: I want change to happen in school lunch served in schools, but I recognize that many parents want to pack to avoid having their student consume school lunch in its present form, to avoid exposure to food allergens, and to even save money.
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169 Responses to Guest blogger: Laptop lunches

  1. Karon September 9, 2010 at 1:27 am #

    I would love this for my picky eating 8 year old. He grew up in a daycare that provided wonderful hot lunches and was shocked when I ate at school with him the first time. Not only was it foul tasting the portion was too small. We have packed ever since that day, but we struggle with things that he likes for a cold lunch. This year we are faced with an early lunch time also-10:45. I guess I should be thankful we have a long lunch time and recess though!

  2. craftevangelist September 9, 2010 at 3:29 am #

    These look great. I'd love to send my daughter in kindergarten with one of these!

  3. Emily September 9, 2010 at 1:22 pm #

    I've been looking at these laptop lunchboxes for a while now, but haven't bought one yet. I love their suggestions for school lunches! My daughter already has a lunchbox that I pack with little containers, and I don't think she would give up Tinkerbell for one of these! But I would love one to take my lunches to work!

  4. Got Triplets? September 9, 2010 at 3:12 pm #

    I'd use it at our school districts's open house to show how easy it is to pack a fun and nutritious lunch each day. I'd also like to use it as part of our school district's employee wellness program classes — how great for the teachers to be role modeling a healthy packed lunch to our studnets?

  5. COB September 9, 2010 at 3:35 pm #

    This looks great! I would be happy to enter! Actually my son just started preschool and gets out at 12:15. he is always starving so this bento would be perfect. I would like to pack a lunch for both my three and one year old so that our babysitter can have a picnic lunch with the kids right when school is over. Child size lunches only are big enough for one kid. These are great because I can pack enough so both kids have a full meal!

  6. Melody September 9, 2010 at 6:20 pm #

    My niece has this lunch box and loves it. I would love one for my daughter who just started Kindergarten. Kids love foods that are bite-size and presented in a fun way! Who wouldn't?

  7. Amy September 9, 2010 at 7:38 pm #

    I've been coveting a laptop lunchbox for several months now! I would use it to take my lunch to work in more waist-friendly portions :)

  8. Karrie September 10, 2010 at 12:25 am #

    I would love one for my daughter who just started preschool. I've been putting everything in small containers and shoving it in her lunch box. The laptop lunchbox would definitely make things more orderly.

  9. Betsy September 10, 2010 at 1:32 am #

    That thing is so cute! I am a teacher, but a nontraditional one. I travel between two high schools, a middle school and a college on different days during the week, teaching music lessons and coaching groups of students. 3 out of 5 days, I drive two hours from my home just to work. On certain days I have time to eat lunch or dinner with a friend, but other days I eat in my car. I dislike fast food, so I have a lot of plastic baggies with vegetables and shredded wheat cereal…and a lot of kashi bars. A bento box would be perfect.

  10. Heather Diane September 10, 2010 at 1:40 am #

    I take care of my little brother and pack his lunch due to his allergies. This thing is perfect.

  11. Suzy September 10, 2010 at 2:20 am #

    I'm in the process of losing massive amounts of weight and would use this to take lunches with me when I am on the go

  12. Tara September 10, 2010 at 2:15 pm #

    I'd love to win this to pack a fun lunch for my son when he goes to dayschool.

  13. *~*~*Stephani*~*~* September 10, 2010 at 7:30 pm #

    I would love one of these for my daughter who just started Kindergarten! I've been packing her waste-free lunches since she started school this week. I'm also going back to work from Maternity leave tomorrow so I could use it for work lunches too! :)

  14. Christina September 10, 2010 at 9:07 pm #

    I would love this for my son's lunch. He's so proud of his 'first grader' lunches!

  15. Julie VW September 10, 2010 at 10:59 pm #

    I'm pregnant (and thus eat "lunch" ALL DAY LONG. Right now I have half a dozen differnt plastic containers – which are a pain to pack because they don't fit together well. I'd use a bento box to store my whole day's worth of snacks in one easy place.

  16. Aimee Fagan September 10, 2010 at 11:19 pm #

    I would use it for my daughter! Right now we have a mixed matched set of tupperware, this would be so much better!

  17. Noey September 11, 2010 at 1:07 am #

    I'd use it to pack my picky eater daughter her lunch every day. Right now she's on the free lunch program at her school and I'd just feel better knowing she was getting something better than that. My budget is tiny, but I bet I'd be spending less per day on a packed lunch than I would on a school lunch (if she had to pay for them). Plus I'm sure the benefits of not eating school lunches would be tremendous.

  18. circle city vegan October 13, 2011 at 8:05 am #

    I love laptop lunches! I have 4 children and probably 10 boxes in rotation since I make lunch every day (and breakfast for one) for 3 of the 4 children. The baby gets a lunch when we go on long errands or to the park. I can’t say enough good things about them. They go right into the dishwasher. They hold enough food and are versatile, you can rearrange the inner boxes to suit your needs or leave them out. They hold up well. I am on my third year using the systems and they look practically brand new. They come with silverware that fits nicely in the box so I don’t have to go around looking for the right size. The price might make some wary but after 3 years, they have more than paid for themselves in savings over bought lunch and less illness. Mothers of large broods will love the simplicity of assembly line style lunch making. All the boxes are interchangable with each system. No more rummaging through the plastics for the right container. Rave rave rave.

  19. Monica January 5, 2012 at 11:45 am #

    I saw these bento boxes on Martha Stewart and thought they were perfect. I live the sleeve it seems to come with. I went right out and tried to find one. I finally found something somewhat similar but didn’t have a sleeve. I paid a good amount for it and broke the first day she took it to school. My little girl and I were so upset. My daughter hates school food! (It is actually her punishment), so this blog and book are inspiring. Thank you.

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