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Adding Lunch to the Lesson Plan
Apr 13th, 2012 by Chris

classroom cafeteria 2

Darn near every moment is a “teaching moment” for me and my kids.  In fact, my boys will tell you that I’m pretty much teaching them something all day long, except they call it “yelling.”  Seriously though, the first time Junior says, “#$@!” and everyone giggles and looks at Dad, we all realize that behavioral modeling is a huge factor in shaping our children’s lives.  My sons watch me, and they listen closer when I’m not even talking to them.  The see how I work, how I play, how I dress, how I interact with my friends and my wife, how I maintain our household, what my priorities are, and yes—even how I eat.

In a recently published interview on Nourish, Cook for America co-founder, Kate Adamick, suggests we view school cafeteria staff as Lunch Teachers, reminding everyone that “what students are fed at school teaches them how to think about food, what to think of as food, and how to behave while consuming it—all lessons that they will carry with them for the remainder of their lives.”

While not exactly a revelation, Adamick’s statement is still, for many, a necessary prompt.  Each meal is an opportunity to show our children how to live.  Proper nutrition is a fundamental skill that is essential for enduring health and well-being.  The kitchen and the school-cafeteria are classrooms where kids learn (or don’t learn) how to select, prepare and eat the right kinds of food.  And yet, as Adamick notes, “frequently, school administrators appear to have forgotten that students don’t stop learning just because it’s lunchtime.”

While a good school-lunch program is imperative and can make a difference for many poorly nourished kids, I believe that I’m in the best position to teach my children the importance of proper eating.  Parents are overwhelmed much of the time and can make a habit of depending on schools to cover the gaps and keep their kids well-directed.  For the most part, given their limited resources, public educators do a wonderful job, but considering the litany of concerns regarding most school-lunch programs (in the U.S.) this is one subject where Father/Mother probably knows best.

Eating, cooking and even shopping together provides wonderful opportunities for shoulder-to-shoulder activities that can positively shape a child’s development.  Health, creativity, earth-consciousness and self-assuredness are just a few of the traits that can be nurtured by sharing good eats.

Preparing home-packed lunches for my boys ensures that they’ll be taking a piece of me along with them to school.  It enables me to influence them at a critical (under-supervised) point in their day without even being there.  It’s this type of unobtrusive, indirect instruction (modeling really) that makes the biggest impact on my kids, and there’s no “yelling.”

If you’re looking to home-school the “lunch” portion of your kids’ curriculum, Lunchsense provides the perfect platform—pack a lesson plan in every box:

  • Easy to use, encourages kid involvement, interactive learning.
  • Portion-sized food containers simplify balanced nutrition.
  • Clever design supports bento-style, eye-catching creativity.
  • Waste-reducing, reusable; promotes sustainability.
Lunchsense unveils new design TODAY!
Apr 1st, 2012 by Nancy

I’ve been waiting months to do this.

Are you forced to work with people who persist in swiping your fabulous Lunchsense lunchbox from the office fridge?

Worry no more! We’ve fixed that irksome problem once and for all!

Here it is:

lunchbox win

We’ve had hundred – nay, thousands - of requests from our loyal customers asking us to apply our razor-sharp design minds to their daily struggle with marginally ethical coworkers, and once again we’ve come through with a winner of a lunchbox.

Don’t delay! This is a limited time offer!

Lunchsense Leaps to Seattle for NW Women's Show
Mar 2nd, 2012 by Chris

For Immediate Release

February 29, 2012

Nancy

Lunchsense Creator to Appear at NW Women’s Show

Seattle native, mother of three and D.I.Y. entrepreneur, Nancy Owen Myers will be “changing the way people think about lunch” at this weekend’s NW Women’s Show.

Eugene, Ore. – For many working women (and men), lunch has become more of a nuisance than a nourishing noontime respite.  Options are limited; time is short; fast-food is bad.  But, that doesn’t have to mean another cup of coffee and a breath mint—Nancy Owen Myers has designed a lunchbox that’s so easy to use, it practically packs itself!

Myers will be demonstrating and discussing Lunchsense, her intuitive, cleverly conceived creation, at Seattle’s annual NW Women’s Show, held at CenturyLink Event Center, March 2-4.

An Eco-Accessory with a Side Salad

Lunchsense lunchboxes are durable, reusable, reduce waste, and they do it all with infectious style.  In addition to their remarkable usefulness, Myers is promoting their smart, attention-grabbing appearance at this weekend’s event.  “Lunchsense is more than food luggage,” Myers relates, “Our boxes are eco-accessories that compliment everyone.”  Purpose and personality converge in the Lunchsense look to create a simple statement of sensibility.  While her primary interest is improving lunch-packing, Myers has designed a box that comfortably kicks around a cafeteria with a clutch of kinders, or sachets from the shoulder of a business exec.

Business Model by Mom

Lunchsense typifies a refreshing trend seen among many web-based, Mom/Pop businesses—a modern, values-driven ethic.  Focused from the start on innovative thinking, the impulse that launched Lunchsense and Myers’ overriding principle has been—there’s got to be a better way! “Healthy, easy and cool” became the framework for Myers’ product design, but her concern for social and environmental responsibility created a business that’s determined to inspire positive change.

An opinionated businesswoman and articulate spokeswoman for her product and the lifestyle it represents, Myers is available for interviews and product demonstrations at the NW Women’s Show.  Lunchsense products have been featured in The Washington Post, The Oregonian, The Eugene Register-Guard, and in the new book “Vegan Lunch Box around the World.”  Myers has also appeared on the cover of Mom Magazine.  Media inquiries can be made at 541-515-0089.

About Lunchsense

Based in Eugene, Ore., Lunchsense offers a line of durable, machine-washable lunchboxes that are designed with both kids and adults in mind.  Each lunchbox folds out into a placemat and comes complete with dishwasher-safe food containers, ice pack and drink bottle, and all pieces are free of BPA, lead, phthalates and vinyl.  Available in three sizes and eight colors, Lunchsense lunchboxes are designed around the containers, ensuring a perfect fit.  Lunchsense has received the Green America Seal of Approval and a STELLA Service “star.”  For more information, visit www.lunchsense.com.

Contact: Nancy Owen Myers, (541) 515-0089, nancy@lunchsense.com; Chris Naugle, cnaugle@comcast.net

###

American Giant and Small Business
Feb 3rd, 2012 by Nancy

This came across my sights the other day:

How American Giant Hacked the Supply Chain

For years, it was cheaper to produce goods overseas. But Bayard Winthrop believes that’s changing, in part because of one big culprit: The Internet.

“There’s a general growing comfort level with not only consuming online but buying things like shoes and apparel online,” says Winthrop. “I think one of the reasons we’re so excited about what we’re doing is that we’re in a new time now in that for the first time you can begin to really assess the non-manufacturing related costs. Even two years ago you couldn’t do that.”

American GiantIn a nutshell, start-up clothing manufacturer American Giant, which opened its ‘doors’ this week, is doing the improbable – high quality, reasonably priced, American made clothing – by only having them available online, thereby short-circuiting the overhead of retail space, distribution, and everything else that goes into getting products into traditional brick & mortar retail.

Market forces and cultural forces have conspired against US garment manufacturing for decades.  However, with that loss has been the unfortunate loss of quality and durability.  Sociologist Julie Schor has verified what many of us have assumed for some time: garment prices have flatlined or dropped in the last 20 years, in large part due to cheap overseas labor but also because of cheaply made, low quality materials and deferred environmental costs. We therefore buy many more garments now than we did in the early 90’s, partly in response to the lower (real) prices, but also in part because of diminished quality and durability – the old saw “they just don’t make ‘em like they used to” is quantifiably, verifiably true in the garment and other soft goods industries.

Thanks to the reach of the internet and the comfort level we have achieved with online shopping and financial transactions, however, it’s very possible to do an end-around the biggest costs of bringing a new item to market – namely, renting retail space, hiring and training staff, or hiring sales reps to shlep your shiny new thing to stores in hopes they will add it to their inventory.

I’m really delighted to see this hit the big time, and I strongly encourage you to take a look at the link in the title of the quote above – there’s a succinct video demonstrating the plight of, and the hopefully bright future for, American manufacturing.  The U.S. is full of the hand skills, the machinery, and most of all the people who can, simply put, manufacture great stuff.

I’m also compelled to say, “It’s about time somebody else caught on to what we at Lunchsense have been doing all along, and why.”

After the design for Lunchsense lunchboxes came into being and I realized I wasn’t the only person on the planet who needed a better way to pack lunches, I started scouting around for local manufacturing.  I hit paydirt with Oregon Sewn Products – they are the right size in the right place and the right price, and wonderful, entertaining individuals to boot.

It’s noteworthy to temper my enthusiasm with a shot of reality, though.   If everyone were to do what American Giant is doing, it would be at the expense of American retailers.

I do manufacture a fair number of my lunchboxes in Vietnam, at a factory I visited (trip of a lifetime!) and vetted for its labor standards, working conditions, and environmental initiatives.  I’m pleased to say the factory not only passed muster but holds SA8000 certification.  Yes, the lunchboxes I manufacture overseas cost me far less than the US made lunchboxes.  They do allow me, however, to sell lunchboxes to stores, which then can sell them to you, which allows us both to make an appropriate profit in the endeavor. In other words,

I manufacture in the U.S. (and support a local manufacturer) —–> I sell to you, directly, on the internet

I manufacture overseas —–> I sell these lower cost (but identical quality) items to stores (and support a local retailer) —–> they sell to you.

Doing it this way allows me to support both U.S. manufacturing AND U.S. retailing.  I wouldn’t want to cut either business type out of my model. There are plenty of folks who just want to buy a lunchbox off a store shelf, and I am happy to meet their needs.  There are plenty of others who are fine with buying things online, and I’m here for them too.

Lastly, note that if you want a lunchbox assembled in the U.S., just say so in the comments field when you place your online order, and I promise you will get exactly that.

I wish American Giant all the best, and I really hope they succeed beyond their wildest dreams, because their success is my success, and ultimately, yours as well.       

Did I mention free shipping?
Jan 27th, 2012 by Nancy

Our Postal service logoOh, my United States Postal Service. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

I seriously do love the USPS, and although it’s a little embarrassing, and I occasionally feel a bit coy about this affection, it’s high time I step forth and proclaim it.

I run an internet-based business, which means I spend (as do all the rest of the internet businesses, from me up to Amazon.com) a very large chunk of my time and attention into the logistics of getting your order from my warehouse to your doorstep.  After we select and fill the appropriate carton with the ordered items, we all have to consider the need for packing materials; the size; the weight; the distance to travel; the desired speed of travel; whether the recipient will be present when the order arrives, and what to do if he/she is not; whether to insure the shipment; how to track the shipment; what to do if it doesn’t arrive.  It’s really pretty breathtaking, when you think about it, what goes on between that “click here to complete your order” and finding a box on your doorstep.

The USPS has been going through a rough patch lately, I know, and if it’s been difficult to understand why, I’ll try to summarize the issues, which were also mentioned here.  You might have heard that the PO is looking squarely at an almost $10 billion deficit.  It has come about in part because of the drop in First Class mail service thanks to the increasing popularity of online bill-paying services, the weakened economy, and competition among package delivery services.  However, some of that deficit is the result of a 2006 law that required the Postal Service to prepay retiree health benefits.  It is the only agency, public or private, that has been required to do so at this level – the Postal Service was required to prepay 75 years of health care coverage in 10 years’ time.  Further, the USPS overpaid the pension obligations from 1972 to 2009 and has requested (but not received) a refund on their overpayment.  Their deficit would become a $1.5 billion surplus if these issues would corrected; Congress is looking at bills to address them.  In the meantime we face the prospect of slower service, shuttered facilities, and thousands of layoffs.

I find this heartbreaking.

So: why do I love them?

First and foremost, they are the green team of shipping.

Think about it – the postal carrier comes to your address just about every day anyway, yes? Remember that the other services have to make a special trip to deliver your package. Besides that obvious green advantage, here are a few more:

  • A third of all postal deliveries are made on foot
  • The USPS delivery fleet includes electric, hybrid, and biodiesel vehicles
  • The USPS uses water-based inks for its stamps
  • Priority and Express envelopes and boxes have been Cradle-to-Cradle certified for meeting high environmental standards from manufacture to disposal
  • The USPS has been working to reduce energy use and incorporate green design elements in its buildings
  • Postal workers are unionized

As if that’s not enough, some other things you may not have known about them:

They hire more veterans than any other civilian employer:  135,800 of their 570,000+ person workforce, according the the American Postal Workers Union.

It is one of the few government agencies explicitly authorized by the US Constitution, and does not receive a cent of tax money – all its operations are funded by the revenues it generates.  It is also obligated to deliver to every single U.S. Postal address, and in many rural areas the post office is the de facto community center.

Only the items shipped via the US Postal Service have federal law enforcement protection. If you are leery of  online monetary transactions and banking, there’s no safer way to deliver your personal checks.

Their annual food drive, “Stamp Out Hunger,” surpassed 1 billion lbs. of food collected in 2010 after 18 years of this annual event. Held every year on the second Saturday in May (May 12 this year) it has become a major source of non-perishables for food banks across the country.

Personally, I like the US Postal Service because I like their website better than the website of those guys in brown shorts.

And the postal carriers are the underrated masters of navigation in your neighborhood. If I’m ever in a new part of town and I’m lost, or I’m unable to find a business or a house, or if I want to find the homes for sale in a particular neighborhood, or I want to know where I can get a cup of coffee, or my gas tank is about to hit empty, I KNOW that I can ask the postal carrier and he or she will set me straight, every single time.

How can you help remedy the sorry situation the Postal Service finds itself?

First of all, use the postal service to ship packages when you can.  For cross-country shipping they may be a day or two slower than the other guys for the standard, every day, ground shipping option (parcel post in USPS parlance) but you’ll probably find they are cheaper in many cases.  If you’re shipping within about a 500 mile radius, you might even find the faster service (Priority Mail) is cheaper, not to mention faster than the other ground services, and their flat-rate cartons are free!

Second, buy your postage online.  Besides the fact that you’ll avoid the lines at the P.O., you’ll get a bit of a discount.  What’s more, it’s really easy, and even kind of thrilling to see postage come out of the printer.  Even though you’ve paid for it, it feels a bit like printing money, or at least what I think printing money would feel like if I did that.  The down side of printing your postage is that you may get cold stares from the unfortunates that are waiting in line at the P.O. when you breeze past them to the counter and drop off your packages.

Third, contact your congressional representative and let them know that you do care to keep the Postal Service operating at its current level of service.

So, in honor of the mighty men and women in blue stripey shirts and black socks with shorts and whatnot, I’m offering free shipping all the time to orders of $80.00 or more. That’s two lunchboxes, in most cases (for two smalls you’d have to throw in a couple extra food containers, which is usually a good idea anyway – have one at work, have one in the dishwasher). It’s the least I can do to keep those fine men and women going!

The Girl at the Green Festival
Jan 13th, 2012 by Nancy

I wish I could show you her big smile too, but alas! I would rather protect her privacy.

I wish I could show you her big smile too, but alas! I would rather protect her privacy.

I brought Lunchsense to a marvelous trade show in San Francisco a few Novembers ago. Lovely bunch of people there, and I think half the population stopped by to check out the lunchbox wares. This was the first show I had ever done solo, though, so I didn’t get many opportunities to take a break.  This was fine, since everyone was just great…but I did get hungry.

You would think that a gal who sells lunchboxes for a living would pack something wonderful for herself, yes? No. I’m just not that good at packing my own lunch when I’m away from home, and I was staying with friends in town and didn’t want to raid their kitchen to pack my lunchbox, and besides, I knew the food at the show was going to be great.  I brought a few snacks, but I was feeling the lack by Sunday afternoon, and without an assistant to cover the booth I had to get creative if I was going to get something to eat.

Opportunity knocked in the form of a beautiful, assertive, confident eight year old girl who wanted a lunchbox.

Her mom was also working a booth a row or two over, and Girl had gotten restless, wandered around, found my booth, and decided that she HAD to have a new lunchbox.  So she proudly stepped up to the booth that afternoon and presented me with her own money and the request…

Is this enough?”

It wasn’t. It wasn’t even close.
But I was starving.  So I pulled a ten out of my wallet, and took a chance, and made her a deal.

I’m really hungry, but I can’t break away from the booth.  Bring me something for dinner and the lunchbox is yours.”

Off she ran with stars in her eyes, and returned ten minutes later…with a “menu” she had created herself from the offerings at the food court.

What do you want? Here’s what I could find, and how much everything cost.”

I made my selection and she scooted away, then returned thirty seconds later:

Do want something to drink with that?”

I ordered up a beverage and she dashed off one more time through the crowd.

Oh! I was smitten.

How often do you get to put your trust in a kid?  What kind of message could we send to kids everywhere if we let them know that they CAN do a service for someone, and they CAN accept responsibility, and they WILL benefit from it?

Girl (and her mom) returned to my booth 10 minutes after that, all smiles, with my dinner (and beverage, and change from my ten) in hand, and Girl picked out her favorite color lunchbox. I think I might have broken even, or maybe even lost money on the exchange, but it was the best lunchbox sale I made all weekend.

Speaking of trade shows, I’m off to the Good Earth Home and Garden Show in Eugene next week.  If you’re in the area stop by and say hello!

The Plastic Files: Episode One
Nov 5th, 2011 by Chris

The Truth Is Out There …

We’re about to embark on a gripping adventure.  A confounding mystery has thrust itself into the offices of Lunchsense World Headquarters, and we, driven by an unyielding determination to shed light on any dim corner of obscurity, feel obligated to inveDetective-with-smoke-flippedstigate.  It’s a bewildering complexity that involves multinational corporations, government agencies, public health groups, environmentalists and possibly even mad scientists.  The wellness of the planet and the sustenance of our species could hang in the balance.

The story begins with the kind of woman you cross the floor and light a cigarette for (if people still smoked).  “Hey, I kinda like your lunchboxes,” she says off-handedly before shooting me one of those straight-to-the-gut stares that suggests more than it delivers.  “But,”—there’s always a hangnail, a stickler, some pain to snap me out of it—“are these plastic food containers safe?”

Ah, there’s the rub; the stopping point for many potential lady-friends and forward-thinking fellas alike.  It seems plastic has recently transitioned from its gilded, “better living” period to a much darker phase of skepticism and mistrust.  Who crashed the Tupperware party?  Do we have good reason to be afraid?  Is plastic another asbestos—a toxic substance that surrounds us, masquerading as modern convenience?  Or has public anxiety been heightened egregiously by the rampant spread of misinformation via nefarious, unqualified sources?  Who can be trusted?

Since selling plastic food containers is a part of our business, and since we’re human and live here too, Lunchsense has decided to put our considerable resources (this blog space) toward determining exactly where the truth lies.  Combining Nancy’s scientific/research background with my own journalist’s instincts (shaded by a gumshoed-sleuth persona), we’re certain to crack the case.  We’ll leave no stone unturned in our quest to discover what is known and unknown about this seductive, synthetic substance.

In the coming weeks, we’ll be featuring a series of blog posts related to the safety of plastic food containers, and we’ll be looking at the most viable alternative (for our purposes), stainless steel.  We’ll outline and weigh their environmental impact, both in the manufacturing process and in the post-consumer period.  We’ll also examine any health risks involved with using plastic (or stainless) food containers.  Finally, we’ll discuss what qualities consumers use to determine “good” from “bad,” how those impressions are influenced, and where (we think) our food containers rate on that scale.

It’s sure to be a heart-pounding thrill, so stay tuned for our next installment, a short, historical primer entitled: Plastic Fantastic? We’ll explain what plastic is and how it’s produced.  We’ll describe the different types of plastics and discuss the chemicals used in the manufacture of these types, including their toxicity and any associated health risks.

The truth is out there, so don’t you dare miss a single upcoming episode of our revealing series: The Plastic Files!

Lunchsense Approved by Green America
Jul 28th, 2011 by Chris

You Decide - Two-Way Street Sign

Doing business without the benefit of eye-contact or a firm handshake requires a certain leap of faith.  Today’s international, web-based marketplace has created exciting opportunities for consumers and entrepreneurs alike, but who can you trust?  More and more online shoppers are learning to read the signs—looking for badges, seals or logos that indicate a product or service meets the specific standards of a respected accreditation authority.  Now, Lunchsense is proud to announce: we’ve been awarded the Green America Seal of Approval!  This widely recognized trustmark assures conscientious consumers that we are a socially and environmentally responsible business.

GreenBusinessSealofApprovalPMS370--updatedFINAL2010

Green America is a non-profit membership organization concerned with the promotion of ethical consumerism.  The group, originally called Co-Op America, formed in 1982 to “create an economy that works for people and the planet.”  A few of the projects they actively support include:

Green America (along with Global Exchange) has hosted the Green Festival for the last three years, and they also publish the National Green Pages.  This directory links values-driven consumers with like-minded, “Green” businesses in an effort to keep dollars working on the side of good.

Prospective members of Green America’s Green Business Network undergo a rigorous screening process before they receive the Seal of Approval and gain their listing in the Green Pages.

Qualifying businesses must demonstrate that they:

  • Actively use their business as tools for positive social change;
  • Run “values-driven” enterprises that operate according to principles of social justice and environmental sustainability;
  • Are socially and environmentally responsible in the way they source, manufacture, and market their products and run their offices and factories;
  • Are committed to developing and employing extraordinary practices that benefit workers, customers, communities, and the environment; and
  • Are holistic, intentional, and transparent in their approach to social/environmental responsibility.

We thought, “That sounds like us,” and Lunchsense submitted the extensive application, detailing not only our own company’s practices, policies and principles, but also everything we knew about our vendors.  Green America next conducted a follow-up interview with Lunchsense founder and president, Nancy Myers.  They offered a few final recommendations, and after a favorable evaluation, we received their Seal of Approval.

Lunchsense has always been concerned about the earth, sustainability and improved living.  Our mission, “changing the way people think about lunch,” plainly states our focus on innovation—change.  “There’s got to be a better way!” was the impulse that launched Lunchsense.

Lunchsense practices complete openness regarding the choices we make in constructing and marketing our product.  We stand behind our combination of reliable performance, practicality and sustainability.  We sincerely believe Lunchsense offers a decided improvement over comparable alternatives.  As far as the fair trade, sweatshop, and industrial waste issues go, we actively support efforts to combat these social injustices.  We periodically use our FaceBook page, and this blog space to promote these interests.  Simply put, we care.

Our involvement with the Green Business Network is another opportunity to tell you about Lunchsense—who some of our friends are, and how we do business.  We want to help people get to know us better, because great minds think alike!  And, who wouldn’t shop at a groovy, green, progressive place rather than a pollution-spewing, profits-at-any-cost sweatshop, if given the choice?  It makes sense to read the signs.

Full disclosure: Summer Deals
Jul 15th, 2011 by Nancy
Did I mention that, starting in early August, we'll be able to customize your lunchbox?

Did I mention that, starting in early August, we'll be able to add names?

I like running a business.

I get to decide what goes on sale and when, and I get to tell you all about it.

Here’s what’s coming to a Lunchsense website near you:

You want the best possible deal and you want to get this off your back-to-school “to-do” list? BUY NOW. From today through August 2, everything on the Lunchsense website will be discounted 20% .  All you need is the code, and here it is: EBS201120

You’re not quite ready to buy? COME BACK IN AUGUST (don’t worry, we’ll remind you). From August 3 through August 24, everything on the Lunchsense website will be 10% off.  Here’s the code: PTS201110 (note that it won’t be live until August 3, though).

Wondering why you’d buy at 10% rather than 20%? Here’s why: two days – August 8 & 9, 2011 - of FREE PERSONALIZATION, and two days – August 15 & 16, 2011 – of FREE SHIPPING.  Neither of these deals needs a code, they’ll just magically apply to everyone on those days.

Either of these deals MIGHT meet or beat 20% off, depending on your location and whether you want a name on that lunchbox.  Which one is better for you? It all depends on where you live and what you want to order.  I’d suggest you go to the website, figure out what you’d like, then figure out when it makes the most sense for you to place your order.

Why am I telling you this? Check out this post from last October for my opinions about discounts, but in a nutshell:

1. I prefer transparency and forthrightness over obfuscation and sneakiness any day.

2. Offering the best deal early helps smooth out an otherwise chaotic month of back-to-school selling, and ensures that everyone will get their order with plenty of time to spare.

3. Because I can.  It’s my business.

Foodie Tuesday: smoothie livin'
Jun 14th, 2011 by Nancy

kfc-mugDistressing news today:

Kentucky Fried Chicken is running a promotion that, when you buy a half gallon of soda, will donate a buck to Juvenile Diabetes research.

Anyone for a big side order of irony with that?

Granted, sugary drinks are not contributors to type I diabetes (the focus of this research) but the plea to drink a hurking half gallon of soda in front of a diabetic kid who can’t have any, then toss a buck in their direction, is just too awkward to contemplate.  Without a doubt the sugar overload DOES contribute to type II diabetes, which although preventable is reaching epidemic levels, with the CDC predicting one third of the US population having diabetes by 2050.

Perhaps that buck can be considered prepaid health insurance.

Hence the smoothie today.   Every lunchbox has an 8 oz. drink bottle, and while water works just fine, a liquid treat really hits the spot sometimes and this has ample nutritional benefit to be a snack-unto-itself. It obviously isn’t sugar-free but it is vastly lower in sugar (in relative and absolute terms) than 64 ounces of carbonated sugar water.

Really, 8 ounces is enough.

SMOOTHIE FOR ONE

1/4 C plain yogurt (nonfat, lowfat, regular – it’s personal preference)

1/3 C fresh or frozen mixed berries (OR 1/4 fresh or frozen peach with skin + 6-12 berries)

1/4 C orange juice (OR pineapple, or whatever strikes your fancy)

If you’re drinking this goodness right away, add

a handful of ice cubes

If you’re packing this for a lunchtime treat, add

1/4 C milk

Toss it all in a blender and hit go.  Enjoy now, or save it for later – if you happen to pack the smoothie in a drink bottle, be sure to use an ice pack in your lunchbox, and give the bottle a good shake before you drink up!

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