You need to add this to your food prep list.
I love my mason jar salads; most weeks they are a usual part of my food prep routine. I talk about food prep a lot because I've seen what a difference it can make in a person's ability to make their health goals a reality. I don't mean what you're prepping for dinner tonight, I'm talking about what you can prep ahead of time to make your entire week full of healthy food choices.
I've always hated making salads in advance and storing them in plastic-ware (or even "traditional" glassware). You spend all this time washing and cutting up vegetables, just to find a salad with wilted lettuce and mushy cucumbers a couple days later.
Why I will NEVER go back to storing my salads in plastic-ware or traditional glassware:
- They usually don't last more than 1-2 days before they start to loose their crunch.
- I try to avoid plastic as much as possible (both for my health and the environment).
- Mismatched lids and containers are a nightmare.
- Dressing! You always have to pack it separate, I either forget it or it makes a mess somehow.
Why I will ALWAYS use mason jars for my salad prep:
- They keep the veggies fresh for 2-5 days, seriously fresh.
- They are glass, better for you and the environment.
- They are all the same size with the same lids! Easy to organize and to grab in a hurry.
- They fit well in a lunch box or cooler.
- Dressing is already there, without making things soggy; actually making your salad even tastier.
Here's what you will need-
- Mason jars, 4-5 if you're prepping for just yourself this week
- You have to get the WIDE MOUTH jars, it will make it a lot easier to fill and empty
- I use the large 32 ounce jars, but you could also use the smaller variety. The 32oz provide a large salad, the smaller ones would be better for a side salad.
- Dressing of your choice
- I love Tessemae's dressings because they meet my healthy fat standards (most dressings have inflammatory oils in them)
- I also use plain extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar sometimes
- Protein of your choice (I have cooked chicken pictured below)
- Ideally this is a meat option, hard boiled eggs (with the shell on) can also be used but read through to see what you do differently
- Beans would be a vegan option
- Crunchy veggies of your choice (washed and cut-up)
- I have broccoli, celery, red cabbage and carrots pictured below
- Any other non-crunchy veggie (washed and cut-up)
- I have peas pictured, cucumbers are another favorite
- Leafy greens of your choice (washed and prepped)
-Place all your ingredients in separate bowls out on the counter or table.
-Make sure your mason jars are clean and dry.
-Take moment to look at the large amount of color you're getting in your diet this week!
-You will start by pouring the dressing in FIRST. I usually add more than I would to a fresh salad; your meat and veggies are going to soak some up! My guess is about an "inch" worth of dressing if you're looking at your jar.
-I found purple mason jars last week and am loving them!
-It's time to add all your goodies, the ORDER is very important.
-Meat or protein goes in first (except hard boiled eggs), followed by your crunchiest veggie. These are going to marinate in the dressing, I find that broccoli, celery and carrots work well.
-You want to make sure that they fill almost half your jar, this will prevent the dressing from leaking on to the lettuce too soon.
-After your protein and crunchy veggies you can add some "not so crunchy" items, like cucumbers, cherry tomatoes or peas.
-DO NOT SHAKE or stir your jar, you don't want the dressing getting on these other items.
-Add the leafy greens. I try to fit as much as possible in mine, usually I smash down the greens a little to do this.
-If you're using a hard boiled egg you could leave room at the top and place it on the greens, or pack it separately. You will just peel it and put it on your salad when you are ready to consume it.
-Place lids on tightly and keep in fridge until you are ready to eat!
-Pack in your lunch for work or enjoy at home!
-Simply pour out onto a plate and everything will fall into place. If you're in a hurry you could just shake up the jar well and eat right from it, although I recommend putting in on a plate or in a bowl.
Below are some other pictures from various food prep sessions. I use these salads to get rid of whatever veggies are in my fridge!
Cheers to food prep! Let me know what you think!