Lately, in the interest of making better eating choices, DisneyGroom and I have been preparing more of our meals at home and bringing them in to the office. One of my summer favorites is Salad in a Jar. For #WIAW (What I Ate Wednesday), I will share with you my Top 5 reasons why.
1. Perfectly portable and sized just for you!
Ever get a take out salad? It comes in a UFO shaped plastic clamshell contraption. Large and awkwardly shaped, you need a bag to carry it in. And be careful not to drop it or put any weight on it, or the container will collapse and your salad will go everywhere. (Don't ask me how I know.)
Why a jar? A jar has a tall shape and a tightly fitted lid. Unlike a flimsy container, it is solid and you can toss it in your purse or gym bag, and it will be fine. Jars come in all shapes and sizes. Some people like tiny salads, some like big ones. There is a jar for everyone. I use a standard 'regular mouth' pint size Mason jar for mine. I pack DG's salads in a 'regular mouth' quart size Mason jar. I replaced the 2 part 'canning' lids with screw top lids for convenience. Pick the jar size that is right for you.
2. Use up what you already have.
1/4 head of cabbage in the fridge? Dice it up and toss it in.
Half eaten jar of artichoke hearts? Add it!
Pantry full of beans, but it isn't chili season. Toss them in.
Your garden is overflowing? Chop it up and pack your jars.
You get the idea.
Don't limit yourself to fresh veggies only. Mix it up!
Try the following:
- Fruit - fresh or dried
- Chopped tofu
- Crumbled (cooked) tempeh
- Diced (cooked) sweet potato
- Pasta (like orzo or macaroni)
- Quinoa or couscous
- Canned beans or corn
- Pickled beets/artichoke hearts/cabbage
- Jar of olives, mushrooms, asparagus, etc.
3. Batch Food Prep rocks!
Make several jars in advance and you have your lunches for the week! Load up your fridge and grab one each morning before you head out the door. No more stressing over what to eat, or being tempted by unhealthy take-out options.
This is one of my typical lunches. 1 salad, 1 piece of fruit, and a small container of a hot entree (in this case: roasted sweet potatoes with tempeh in a creamy sauce)
4. Earth friendly!
By using (and reusing) glass jars you are eliminating the waste you would have created with styrofoam or plastic take out containers, plus the bag to carry it in, and the gas you would have used to drive to the restaurant.
5. Save money.
This one just might be my favorite.
I can buy a salad from a nearby restaurant and pay anywhere between $6 and $12. If you are like us and are using up all your kitchen 'leftovers' - then your salads are costing you very little. We are taking our savings and registering for future races!
I can think of several more reasons I love Salad in a Jar, but I'll let you discover more reasons on your own. But now that you know WHY I love them, you want to know HOW do I make them? And How do I eat them?
HOW TO MAKE:
I found this handy diagram online. The key is to put all your wet ingredients at the bottom, to keep your more delicate ingredients from getting soggy throughout the day. Then fill it to the top to keep your items from getting mixed around too much.
HOW TO EAT:
Then at lunchtime, you get your jar and FLIP IT OVER onto a plate. The wet ingredients and dressing from the bottom will now nicely cover the entire salad. (I forgot to tell DG about flipping the jar and dumping the salad onto a plate, and the poor guy was struggling to eat out of the jar for weeks. Save yourself that aggravation.)
Do you do batch food prep?
If so, tell us your favorite reason.
If not, do you think you will try this?