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In the hustle and bustle of modern life, finding time to prepare healthy and satisfying lunches can be a challenge. Enter the ingenious concept of meal prepping mason jar salads – a game-changing solution that combines convenience, nutrition, and visual appeal. Learn how to craft delicious and colorful mason jar salads that are not only a treat for your taste buds but also a feast for your eyes, all while keeping your lunch on track during busy days.
I try to use Sunday as my day to set myself up for a productive and successful week ahead. For meals, I grab whatever I need from the grocery store, or set up a delivery through Shipt, and I portion out and prep as many snacks and meals as I can. This is a huge help in making healthy choices throughout the week when I am in a rush.
Why Choose Mason Jar Salads?
Mason jar salads offer numerous benefits that make them an ideal option for on-the-go lunches:
Freshness: The layered structure of mason jar salads helps keep ingredients fresh, preventing sogginess and maintaining crispness until it’s time to enjoy your meal.
Convenience: Prepping your salads in advance saves precious morning time and ensures you always have a wholesome meal ready to grab and go.
Portion Control: Mason jars naturally limit portion sizes, making it easier to control your calorie intake and avoid overeating.
Visual Appeal: The vibrant layers of ingredients create a visually appealing presentation, making your lunch feel like a special treat.
How to Make Your Mason Jar Salads
To prep these salads, I picked up some wide-mouth mason jars. I was able to make five salads for the week and it took less than 30 minutes.
First, I cooked up some corn and some chicken on the stove since that would take the most time. Using a slow cooker to make shredded chicken is also a great option for this! While that was cooking, I got out the five mason jars, removed the lids, and pulled out the other ingredients I would be adding to my salads.
Follow this layering technique to create a perfectly assembled mason jar salad:
Hearty Ingredients: Add sturdy ingredients like diced vegetables, beans, grains, or proteins that won’t absorb moisture.
Softer Ingredients: Layer on ingredients like chopped fruits, cheeses, nuts, and croutons for added texture and flavor.
Leafy Greens: Place leafy greens like spinach, kale, or lettuce on top. They act as a barrier, keeping the dressing and other ingredients from getting soggy.
Salad Dressing: Personally, I prefer to use a separate small container for the dressing in my lunch bag. If you wanted to have everything all in one jar, you would put your dressing at the bottom of the mason jar first and then add your most dense veggies on top so that the salad stays fresh in your fridge all week.
Basic Mason Jar Salad Recipe
My go-to mason jar salad combination with ingredients listed in the order they were added to the jar:
- Salad Dressing, if not using a separate container
- Almonds, chopped
- Chicken, cooked and cut up or shredded
- Feta Cheese Crumbles
There are so many options to make different salad combinations! The options are really endless. Some other ideas: steak instead of chicken, shredded cheese, black beans, sesame sticks, shredded carrots, dried cranberries, tomatoes, and more. In less than 30 minutes, I have five salads ready to grab and go for lunch during the week.
Need more ideas?
Classic Cobb Salad: Start with ranch dressing, followed by diced or shredded chicken, chopped hard-boiled eggs, diced tomatoes, crumbled bacon, blue cheese, and mixed greens.
Mediterranean Delight: Begin with balsamic vinaigrette, followed by quinoa, chopped cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, Kalamata olives, feta cheese, and spinach.
Tropical Paradise: Layer with a citrusy vinaigrette, diced grilled chicken, mango chunks, diced red bell peppers, shredded coconut, and mixed greens.
Enjoying Your Mason Jar Salad
When you’re ready to enjoy your mason jar salad, simply give the jar a good shake to distribute the dressing, and empty the contents into a bowl or plate. Voila! A fresh, delicious, and visually appealing lunch is ready to fuel your day.
Meal prepping these mason jar salads is a creative and practical way to ensure that your on-the-go lunches are both nourishing and delightful. With the layering technique, you can craft colorful salads that remain crisp and fresh until you’re ready to savor them. The convenience and versatility of mason jar salads make them a perfect choice for busy individuals seeking to maintain a healthy eating routine without sacrificing flavor.