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FUN/DIY/ Healthy Eating/ RECIPES/ Sides

Simple Mason Jar Salads

mason-jar-salad

Mason-Jar-Salads

Salads in a Mason Jar

I’ve seen these mason jar salads all over Pinterest and Instagram, and have been wanting to make them myself for quite a while now.  I love the idea of just grabbing a jar and having a healthy lunch or snack right at your fingertips.

These jars took just minutes to make. I decided to keep mine simple, which helped make the process super easy.

 I wanted to use ingredients that all members of my family would eat, as I hoped that having some beautiful jars of goodness in our refrigerator would encourage my 3 girls to grab one and eat up their veggies.

It worked, especially on my oldest girl who is a cross-country runner and is quite motivated to get her veggies in!  She loved these so much that she asked if she could take them in her school lunch instead of a sandwich.

 

Salad-in-a-jar-Collage

 

Salad in a Jar

I’ve seen quite elaborate salads- in- jars all over the internet, but I knew simple would work best for our family.  Most that I’ve seen put the dressing at the very bottom, then add veggies, a protein (beans or hard-boiled eggs) then the salad at the top.

Putting hearty vegetables in-between the dressing and the lettuce keeps the lettuce dry and makes them last 5-7 days in the refrigerator.  It is great for a to-go lunch or snack.

My family members all like a different dressing, so I skipped putting the dressing in the bottom.  We ended up eating most of these at home, where we could easily grab the dressing we liked, dump the jar onto a plate, and add any other toppings at the time of eating.

Really, for my family, the salad jars were a great way to present enticing, healthy, grab and go food.  I think it is worth the little bit of time to put the jars together to make this happen.

Sometimes when veggies just sit in their bags in the refrigerator, my girls are less likely to grab them and eat them. Having them in such pretty jars really made a difference in the number of vegetables we consumed that week.

I’ve written before about keeping fresh veggies cut in jars in our refrigerator.  Most weeks when I am making a salad for dinner, I will cut up extra vegetables and put them into jars–again–worth the extra time for my family to see healthy foods in our refrigerator.

They will not grab a cucumber and cut it up to eat it, but they will grab a jar of sliced cucumbers and munch away.

The week I made these jars, I made sure I had hard-boiled eggs peeled and chopped, ready to go as it is one of my families’ favorite salad toppings and a great way to add protein.

I also had red pepper slices and cooked peas, both in separate jars, which are two of my favorite salad toppings.

In my pantry, I had a large jar of croutons, a jar of dried cranberries & a jar of sunflower seeds, all of which are great salad toppings.

Jars a wonderful way to keep healthy ingredients at your fingertips, store ingredients so that they last a long time, and make the refrigerator and pantry look beautiful and organized.  I just love them!

Below is a list of salad ingredients that can be stored in jars to top your Simple Mason Jar Salad, or to make more elaborate Mason Jar Salads.

If you are wanting to make these with the dressing and all of the ingredients layered in the jar, make sure you buy large mouth jars and layer the ingredients in the right order.

 

Best Order:

Dressing, hearty vegetables (ones that can marinate in the dressing without breaking down like carrots, peppers, grape tomatoes, cucumbers), fruits, protein/carb (beans, pasta, chicken), dry toppings (seeds, croutons, dried fruit) then lettuce.

 

Ingredient Ideas for Mason Jar Salads

Shredded Rotisserie Chicken
Chopped Bacon
Whole-Wheat Bow-Tie Pasta
Sliced Strawberries
Blueberries
Grapes
Pineapple
Mandarin Oranges
Dried Cranberries
Avocado
Green Peppers
Cauliflower
Broccoli
Carrots
Peas
Radishes
Cucumber
Tomatoes
Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Feta Cheese
Croutons
Sunflower Seeds
Sliced Almonds

 

Simple Mason Jar Salads

Here is how I made mine:

Cucumber

Shredded Carrots

Shredded Broccoli Stalks

Baby Spinach

Lettuce Mix

*all of my ingredients (except cucumber) came prepped in bags from Trader Joes- easy!

 

Directions:

Add ingredients in jars in the order given.  Put a lid on and store in refrigerator 5-7 days.

When ready to eat, take out, add whatever extra toppings you would like, add dressing & enjoy!

 


What about you?

Do you like the idea of having these available in your refrigerator ready to grab and eat?  Do you think it would motivate you to eat more veggies?

For a very detailed article on Mason Jar Salads, click here.

HOME/ Simplifying

The Best Way To Pack A Lunch

 

PACKED-LUNCH

I’ve written a couple posts on packing lunches. It has been something I have done every school day for the past 7 years, and  I think I have finally found the best way to pack a lunch.

Last year I ditched plastic baggies and bought containers with lids.  It was a step in the right direction, but not quite what I wanted.  I quickly found washing out all those small containers and keeping track of their lids made lunch making more of a chore than it should be.  I’m all about efficiency, working smarter not harder, and keeping things simple.  A bunch of lids and containers was not smart, simple or efficient.

photo 1

This year before school started, I was on a mission.  I wanted to find something different that would keep me from going back to baggies but that would be just as simple as baggies.  These lunch kit containers from Sistema were the perfect find. They are affordable and a huge plus– BPA free!

photo 2

The school lunches I make for my girls 90% of the time start with sandwich & something crunchy–tortilla chips, crackers, pretzels–free from artificial colors, preservatives, and high fructose corn syrup.  I think this habit stems from the school lunches I had as a young girl.  I always loved a crunch along with my sandwich.  The other 10% of the time I throw soup or leftovers into a thermos.

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These containers have a large area for a sandwich,  with an attached lid/divider that keeps the sandwich safe and your chips from tasting like peanut butter. My girls favorite bread is an oat bread & I use a peanut butter with no hydrogenated oils or corn syrup in it. If you make a cheese or meat sandwich, this small blue ice pack is perfect for putting right on top of the sandwich.  I place a paper towel in between the sandwich and the ice pack, but I have found it is not necessary as these ice packs do not ‘sweat.’

I use the second compartment for something crunchy, and the 3rd area for some type of bar (store bought or homemade) or cut up veggies.  A cut kiwi with a spoon fits nicely in there–I just cut it in half, unpeeled, and my girls scoop the fruit out with a spoon, using the peel as a bowl when they eat it. Carrot sticks are another great item for that compartment.

photo 4

I like to add a piece of fruit on the side.  A nectarine, banana, or apple.  Having a fruit and veggie gives my girls a head start on eating their daily rainbow.

See how the container shuts so nicely into a compact square.  Hearing the ‘snap’ of the lid after packing their lunch in the morning gives me such a satisfied feeling.

photo 3

This BUILT Neoprene Lunch Tote bag is really cute.  It belongs to my now FRESHMAN girl.  When did my Teagan get so old?

When did I get so old?

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This water bottle fits nicely alongside the sandwich container.  Usually my girls just get a cup of water at school, which leaves that area free for fruit.

 

photo 1

This system is the best, most efficient way I have found to streamline the chore of not only packing lunches, but also emptying them out and cleaning the containers for the next day.  They can be placed in the dishwasher, but I find a quick rinse is easy and enough, making sure they get cleaned with hot water and soap at least a couple times a week.

Do you pack lunches?  What do you use to hold the food?

What are your kids favorite foods to eat in their lunches?

Would you like to try out the Sistema Lunch Cube lunch container?  If so, Amazon has a great deal on them, and if you order them through this link I will get a small percentage which would support New Nostalgia & make me happy!

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mini squeeze bottles

Ok…I said I didn’t want a bunch of little lids to wash…but I might make an exception with these super cute sauce-to-go containers!  My girls would love them filled with ranch dressing for dipping those veggies, and I would love that I can control the portion size.

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More on school lunches at New Nostalgia:

14 Healthy School Lunches Your Kids Will Love

School Lunch Smoothies

How To Make A Note Into An Envelope–Perfect For School Lunches

 

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