One of the most asked questions I receive is: How do you make healthy meals convenient and portable? Like me, my clients have busy lives and need simple, healthy and portable food options. Enter meals in a jar. Thanks to social media they’ve become super popular and you’ve likely seen them all over the Internet, in magazines and on your co-workers’ desks at lunch. Mason jar meals have quickly become popular because they are the perfect solution to make portable, inexpensive, perfectly portion-controlled meals in no time at all. Meals in a jar can be made up to a week in advance, are a much cheaper and healthier option to eating out, and with the variety of meal possibilities you’ll never get tired of exploring recipes.
Tips for Mason Jar Meal Prep
- Pick a Jar – Generally mason jars are affordable and easy to find. I use the 32 oz., quart size jar for individual servings of lunch or dinner, and I use 16oz jars for my on-the-go breakfast meals.
- Start with Dressing – Place a few tablespoons of your favorite dressing on the bottom of the jar or I often opt for dressing on the side.
- Roots on the Bottom – Pack the drier, harder more resilient veggies or fruits on the bottom of the jar. Root vegetables, potatoes, carrots, red bell peppers and dried fruits make a sturdy bottom layer.
- Beans, Grains or Pasta – Cooked grains or pasta, beans or chickpeas are ideally placed next. Protein – If you are adding animal-based protein add this layer 24hrs before or the day you are going to consume the meal. Chicken, smoked salmon or hard boiled eggs can be stacked here.
- Greens. Greens. Greens – Now is the time to pile on the greens. Spinach, kale, chard or shredded cabbage. Load up this layer with your favorites.
- Toppers – Nuts, seeds, berries, cheese and sprouts all make great final additions to your meal in a jar.
Recipe Zucchini Noodle Salad with Coconut Lime Dressing
adapted from http://inspiralized.com/mason-jar-zucchini-noodle-salads/
For the dressing:
- 1/2 avocado
- 2 tbsp coconut milk
- Juice of 1/2 lime
- Pinch of sea salt
- 4 leaves Thai basil
For the rest:
- 1/3 cup cooked quinoa
- 2 tsp minced cilantro
- 1.5 tsp coconut flakes
- 3 asparagus stalks, chopped into 1″ pieces
- 1/4 cup green peas
- 1 medium zucchini, spiralized or cut in thin slices
- 2 scallion stalks, diced
- 1/4 cup cubed feta
- Place in all of the ingredients for the dressing in a blender or food processor. I use my Vitamix. Pulse until creamy. Set aside.
- In a bowl, combine the quinoa, cilantro and coconut flakes. Toss to combine and set aside.
- Bring a small saucepan filled halfway with water to a boil. Then, add in the asparagus. One minute later, add in the peas. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until vegetables are cooked and drain, cool and set aside.
- Assemble your mason jar salad. First, put in dressing. Second, the zucchini noodles. Then, the quinoa. Then, the asparagus & peas. Next, top with scallions and the feta. Put the lid on the mason jar and refrigerate for later use.
Experiment and enjoy!
Wishing you Vibrant Living