Sunday, February 1, 2015

Meal Prep for the Lazy: Mason Jar Salads

I've never been really good at meal prep. I've also never been really good about getting out the door in a timely manner in the morning. It seems I am always rushing to throw together my lunch and snacks as I fly out the door. With hubby's help I am usually successful in packing a healthful lunch each day, but I know with a little meal prep, I could make our mornings just a little bit less hectic.

I've seen these mason jar salads floating around on Pinterest for years. They looked appealing, but I was sort of skeptical. Was I sure if I pre-made these salad jars that the lettuce wouldn't get soggy? Nothing worse than soggy lettuce. Would it really stay fresh? I became a believer when a girl at work started packing these mason jar salads. She said it was as perfect as it sounded. Make your salad jars on Sunday, grab one each day for lunch, shake it up and pour into a bowl when ready to eat.  She said that it even tasted better than making a daily salad because the veggies at the bottom of the jar would marinate in the dressing during the week. I was sold! Now I just had to sell hubby on the purchase of the mason jars.

After 17 years together, I think he sometimes knows me better than I know myself. He argued that this was something I would do once and never do again. I convinced him this would make our mornings a little easier and he reluctantly agreed. I bought some mason jars at Walmart and I was ready to make my first week of salads.

At Walmart they had one quart mason jars 12 for $8.99. A pretty good deal, but I really didn't need 12 jars, and as I discussed in my last post, we certainly don't need any unnecessary clutter around here. I opted for jars that came in a pack of four for about the same price simply because I didn't want the unneeded jars laying around. I figure I can eat the salads four days a week and change it up once a week and eat something different to keep from getting too bored.

When we got home I cooked up a couple pounds of chicken for my salads and for hubby's meals for the week. I cut up the veggies and started building my jars.

It was pretty simple putting them together. From the bottom up, I filled my jars in this order:

Cherry tomatoes
Hard veggies like cauliflower or broccoli
Hard-boiled eggs

It took me about 15 minutes to cut up the veggies and fill my jars. I swear in the end this seemed like way less work than taking the time to make a salad each night before work. This is meal prep for the lazy!

Now they are just waiting in the fridge for me to grab one each day. One thing my work-friend noted was to make sure that they stay upright in the fridge and in your lunch bags. I'll let you know how it goes this week, but I already feel one step ahead of my Monday morning!

Do you meal prep? Have you ever made mason jar salads? Don't you just love this idea? Am I the only one who would pay more than twice as much per jar to avoid having extra jars laying around? 

I hope to prove hubby wrong make hubby proud and keep up this new Sunday routine.

Two week update:
I've been making the salad jars on Sunday and bringing them to work for lunch Monday through Thursday for two weeks now. The verdict? They are wonderful. As long as the lettuce is fresh when you put it in the jar (on top remember) it stays fresh all week. I think the salads actually tasted a little better by the end of the week because the veggies at the bottom of the jar marinated in the dressing for 3-4 days. The avocados did turn brown by the end, but that did not bother me at all. The mason jar salads were a success and I plan to continue this new routine. Packing my daily healthful lunch is so easy now. What do you think? Have you tried it?

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  1. I have always thought this was a cute idea but have never tried it. Honestly I am wondering how fresh that last salad is going to be by the time you get to eating it... I hope you will give an update to this post with an honest review of it all! I hate rushing in the morning. I always get up way earlier than I need to, just to avoid it. Have a great week!

  2. I have been wanting to try these for a long time. I'd love to hear if they really do stay fresh!

  3. I agree - please share how it worked! I haven't seen this before, seems like a good idea.


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