Mason Jar Lunches


Going along with Sarah’s blog, I’ve decided to make this a week of healthy blogging. Sarah has been exploring life without wheat, so I thought I would share the food adventure my mom and I have embarked on this month.

I am not a dieter. I don’t really believe in it at all. I just don’t really believe that life is about depriving yourself of things. Limiting, being wary, sure, definitely. But let’s be real, I’m gonna eat bread and it’s gonna have butter on it. There are things that I know I am more likely to binge on (hello, Coca Cola, I’m looking right at you) and so I don’t keep it around, but I also know that I am much more likely to binge on things like chips and cookies if I attempt to never eat chips or cookies again.

I do believe in a balanced diet. Have some pasta, but hey how about throw in a bell pepper with it. Go for a salad instead of soup. For me it’s about being healthy, not skinny. I also like my calories to count (however, I don’t really bother counting my calories). I’m fine with a spoonful of peanut butter, even though it’s a whole 200 calories (or whatever) because that spoonful of peanut butter is gonna last me. I don’t like to be filling my day with empty calories; I want to get the most out of what I’m putting in me all day. I am also much more successful at being healthy during the week than the weekend. I keep healthy snacks at my desk, I bring something like fruit and Greek yogurt for breakfast, and I try to find something nutritious for lunch. There’s a lot less options for me to graze and munch and nibble on. Also less time, work gets a lot more hectic than my apartment.

Recently, my mom discovered a blog that talked about Mason Jar Lunches and decided to give it a go and asked if I would be up for trying it too (she also said she would provide the mason jars). So I was in! The concept is pretty simple. You get a large mason jar, and then put wet stuff on the bottom, and dry stuff on the top; because it’s so tall it keeps everything separated and fresh. So layer one is dressing and veggies, layer two is proteins, layer three is leafs, and then you finish it off with some croutons.

It actually has been working out pretty well. I spend about 45 minutes on Sunday evening putting it all together, and then I have salads ready to go for the week. I bake my chicken, and while the oven is preheating I put my dressing in the bottom of the jar. Then while the chicken is baking (30 minutes) I chop all my veggies. This part could go quicker if I bought whole peppers instead of mini peppers, but the bag of mini peppers are just so much cheaper that it’s worth my time to chop. Once I have all my veggies in then I also put in a healthy amount of feta cheese. Because cheese. This is also where I would throw in beans or pasta. And then about this time my chicken is done, so I chop that up and put that in there as well. Then I throw in whatever leaf I bought that week, grind a bit of pepper, and throw on some croutons, and I’m all set. Boom. A week of healthy lunches.

I’ve learned a couple things so far. Don’t buy the cheap leafs. Yes with enough cheese and dressing anything is bearable. But I’m wishing I had splurged for the $7 mix rather than my $3 mix this week. It’s fine. But it’s not great. I’m also still figuring out croutons. They just don’t keep their crunch. Maybe I just need to keep a bag of croutons at work and throw them on day of. I also learned that I don’t like carrots as much as I thought. I try to do the “serving size” of everything I put in, but that left me with far too many carrots. But none of these things have kept me from eating my salad and enjoying it.

It’s been a fun way to be healthy during the week. I’m sure it will also get me to expand on my raw veggie pallet as I’m sure I will need to mix things up soon. But I’m getting my five daily servings of fruits and veggies between breakfast and lunch and I feel great.

So here is to more healthy meals in 2014!

By Darci

5 thoughts on “Mason Jar Lunches

    • Hey Cathy,

      Ya they’re great! I’ve been doing the mason jar salads for about two months and I love it! And I’ve even gotten a couple coworkers to start eating them too. My favorite part is only having to make my weekly lunches once during the week and be done with it.

      Have you tried them yet?

  1. Anita Busch

    Yes, those croutons absorb moisture like a sponge, so pack them separately in an airtight baggie. You have a great plan, but I would say that it would be better to not pack the chicken or other protein 4-5 days in advance (for Thurs and Fri). You could flash freeze those portions and add later in the week. Have you seen the baked desserts (cheesecake, pies) in mason jars?

    • Hey Anita!

      So far the chicken has worked fine, but partly because I have gone down to 4 salads a week, so they are gone by Thursday. I do sometimes worry that maybe it could get questionable, but so far so good.

      I have heard about those baked desserts! I even have some smaller mason jars that I want to try them with. Do you have a recipe that is good?

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