Last weekend I attended DooF-a-Palooza, a big kids’ cooking event at the Google headquarters in Mountain View put on by the organizers of DooF (food spelled backwards). DooF is an upcoming kids’ cooking show on PBS that has similarities to Spatulatta. I stopped by the Laptop Lunch booth, met president and co-founder Amy Hemmert, and picked up their very handy visual planning worksheet for lunches packed in the Laptop Lunchbox (UPDATE: download from Obentec or here). The reverse side has a list of packed lunch ideas organized by food type (fruits, vegetables, sandwich fillings, and sandwich alternatives). As the planner isn’t available on their website, the folks at Laptop Lunches sent me the PDF file and graciously agreed to let me put it up on Lunch in a Box for downloading. (UPDATE: The Laptop Lunch folks have made the worksheet available for download on their website.)
Because I’m container-agnostic and use a variety of lunch containers, I find that jotting down rough meal ideas on a magnetic whiteboard sheet on my refrigerator works well enough for me, but I definitely see the appeal of this sort of visual planner as well. If you’d like to try it out, download it, print it out, and put a copy up on your fridge to make a glanceable lunch plan that incorporates a balance of foods and dinner leftovers.
The planner is similar to Maki’s weekly bento planner on Just Bento. If you have a different type of lunch container or bento box, you could make your own version of these planners pretty easily. Do you plan out your packed lunches? What planning method works best for you? Let us know in comments! (Read on for Laptop Lunchbox photos taken at DooF-a-Palooza.)
Here you have a pretty representative sample of the Laptop Lunchbox product lineup, including thermal food jars, water bottles, an insulated carrying case, and the Laptop Lunchbox itself (original colors). They had a few books as well, namely Jennifer McCann’s Vegan Lunch Box (new edition to be released August 4, 2008), Lunch Lessons: Changing the Way We Feed Our Children, and The Laptop Lunch User’s Guide. Yes, that’s Bug playing with the utensils — he had a blast at DooF-a-Palooza, especially at the petting zoo and the face-painting stand.
Above is co-founder Amy Hemmert working the Laptop Lunch booth, by their table of boxes with plastic play food for kids to practice filling their lunches with healthy foods. Amy was very personable and approachable, and we chatted for a bit about our time in Japan and her favorite water bottle. She likes their large, insulated stainless steel water bottle because it has a small opening at the top for drinking, and also unscrews in the middle for easy washing. Looks like they’re out of stock at the moment, though, which is too bad.
Obentec makes a number of different colored boxes and inner containers now; you can see their full product lineup at the Laptop Lunch website. I find the Laptop Lunchbox handy for packing bulkier foods like salads, barbecued ribs, and sandwiches, but it’s a bit big for my three-year-old. And because not all of the inner containers have lids, you have to think about what might leak when the box is turned on its side, and pack appropriately.
(Disclaimer: I have no commercial affiliations with Obentec or Laptop Lunch. Amazon and Reusable Bags links are affiliate links that give Lunch in a Box pennies on the dollar when you use them to get to those sites when shopping.)
- Download the Laptop Lunchbox visual planning worksheet
- All lunches packed in Laptop Lunchboxes on Lunch in a Box
- How to care for your Laptop Lunchbox and other bento supplies
- Bento FAQ
- Biggie’s list of top speed tips, tutorials and equipment reviews