One of my favorite (and super simple) ways to meal prep is the beautiful Mason Jar Salad. As I mentioned here, when your food looks pretty it is much more appetizing…hence you will actually want to eat it. Healthy eating can definitely be a challenge, especially squeezing in 3+ cups of veggies/day (as suggested by the CDC), so I think the key to ‘eating your greens’ is to get creative.
As a Pescatarian (meaning: I maintain a Vegetarian diet with the addition of seafood), I need to be conscious of creating meals that include not only vegetables, but also protein – and not overload on carbs (this can be a vegan/vegetarian downfall if abused). The Mason Jar Salad is a lunch staple for me, as it has an easy ‘formula’ and can be created with any veggies you have on hand! And if I prep several ahead of time (stays fresh in fridge for approx. 5 days), then it’s ready to go for lunch – keeping me on the clean eating track (meal prep can SERIOUSLY help you get/stay lean – takes away that naughty impulsive factor that can be major diet sabotage).
Ok back to the delicious Mason Jar Salad…The basic layering ‘formula’ from bottom to top is:
Dressing + Protein + Veggies + Greens + Cheese/Nuts/Seeds
Easy Peasy, right?
*It’s very important to stick to this formula as to avoid a soggy salad that may not last as long in the fridge.
Literally every Mason Jar Salad I create is a different variation – AMAZING during the summer when I can just walk out to my garden and pick whatever is ready for harvest! The rest of the year, I just comb my fridge for whatever produce I find and make a fun concoction – veggies are kind of incredible in that they mix really well together. A few of my favorite add-ins include:
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Sundried Tomatoes
- Alfalfa Sprouts
- Shredded Carrots
- Roasted Beets (!)
- Cooked Butternut Squash
- Garbanzo Beans
- Black Beans
- Sunflower Seeds
Of course you can add cooked chicken as your protein if you prefer! The options are endless (just keep it healthy!).
I already LOVE salads, but assembling, storing and eating them out of a mason jar just makes them taste that much better (and they look adorable).
In regards to mason jar brands, I do not have a preference (whatever is on sale or has been passed along from canning exchanges). Jar size is important – I always use quart, wide mouth jars (this makes it easier to eat your salad straight from the jar) and I prefer to use the Ball Wide Mouth Plastic Storage Caps when storing in the fridge, but of course you can also use the lids/rings that come with the mason jars.
Mason Jar Salads are incredibly simple – I made them (pictured below) last summer while camping – perfect, healthy ‘fast food.’
I would love to see YOUR variation! What are some of your favorite veggies? Have you tried Mason Jar Salads before?