Meal Prep: Mason Jar Salads for Lunch on the Go!

I used to think that meal prep was only for those people who who really had their life together. You know, people who make their beds every morning and have those parties where they craft all their own decorations like you see on Pinterest. (Who are these people?) Turns out I was wrong.

Meal prep is for the lazy!

Think about it. I usually make a salad to bring to work for lunch everyday. What is easier? Making one salad every night for five nights (something I would dread at the end of a long day) or making five salads all at once on a Sunday afternoon. After all, it only takes a few minutes longer to cut up the extra veggies and chicken to make the extra salads. You are doing it anyway, might as well make all the salads at once.

The thought of meal prepping salads grossed me out at first. I had images of wilted lettuce and soggy cucumbers. Turns out I was wrong again.

Mason jar salads for the win!

When you prep your salads in advance in five glass one quart mason jars and layer your salad in the correct order (this is important), the salads stay fresh all week. I promise.

I've been making these salads every week for months now and I have never had a soggy salad. I usually eat them within five days of preparing. Every time I post a picture on Instagram (and I do it a lot because not only are they yummy, they are pretty) I get a flood of questions. Mostly from people who don't believe they won't end up with a soggy mouth of lettuce by Friday.

The Layering

It is simple to put them together. From the bottom up, fill your jars in this order:

Dressing
Tomatoes
Cucumbers
Hard veggies like cauliflower, broccoli and/or carrots
Mushrooms
Cooked chicken
Cheese
Avocados
Lettuce/Spinach

The veggies marinate in the dressing at the bottom of the jar during the week and the lettuce stays crisp on top. When you are ready to eat your salad, just shake your jar and pour the contents on a plate. The lettuce falls out first on the bottom of your plate and your salad is topped with dressing! Brilliant, I know! Since I didn't invent the mason jar or the salad, I can hardly take credit. 

I wrote more about my mason jar salads over on my Running with Ollie blog with more pictures, if you want to read more. 

Try experimenting with different ingredients for some salad variety (taco salad, anyone?) and you will be all set with a healthy lunch for weeks to come!

-Lea

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