Looking for an easy way to prepare nourishing, fresh lunches in advance? Look no further! Mason jar lunches are all the rage! They can be made the night before and ready to grab as you go out the door to work! Any wide-mouthed canning jar will do; pint or quart size jars. Quart size jars are the right size for a satisfying lunch. Wash jars and lids thoroughly before adding ingredients. Jars are reusable and easy to tote in a purse, lunchbox or backpack. Refrigeration is required for most Mason Jar recipes; be aware of food safety by keeping your food refrigerated.
The secret to the perfect Mason Jar salad is the order in which you add ingredients into the jar. It is important that wet items go first. Dressing (one to three tablespoons for a quart jar) goes on the bottom, and then any other wet ingredients (tomatoes, berries, avocados, etc.). Next, add proteins and/or grains. Then layer yummy stuff like cheese, chopped nuts, golden raisin or sunflower seeds. Finally, add leafy greens as the top layer so that when you ‘dump’ your salad into a bowl, the greens will create a bed for your remaining ingredients. Yum! You can layer ingredients adding more or less of your favorite ingredient. When you are ready for lunch, shake into a large bowl, or, if you don’t pack ingredients too tightly, you can eat right out of the jar!
1. Savory Summer Salad
Pour balsamic vinaigrette into the bottom of the jar. Layer in pineapple chunks, blueberries, cannellini beans, bean sprouts and kale.
2. Protein Power Lunch
Pour lemon vinaigrette into the bottom of the jar. Layer in fresh broccoli, chickpeas, corn, peas, cooked quinoa, toasted pumpkin seeds and mixed greens.
3. New York Lunch
Pour lemon vinaigrette into the bottom of the jar. Layer in fresh tomatoes, avocado, cucumbers, radishes, sliced almonds, shredded pepper jack cheese and spinach leaves.
4. Honey Bee Lunch
Pour honey mustard dressing into the bottom of the jar. Layer in broccoli, whole grain pasta bow-ties, diced hard-boiled egg, shredded monetary-jack cheese, pine nuts and mixed greens.
5. Easy Tuna Salad
Pour mild (or your choice of heat) salsa into the bottom of the jar. Layer corn, peas, chopped carrots, chopped walnuts, tuna and baby spinach.
6. Strawberry Sensation Salad
Pour strawberry vinaigrette into the bottom of the jar. Layer in cooked quinoa, sliced strawberries, pine nuts, chopped walnuts, chopped shallots, crumbled blue cheese and baby spinach.
7. A Taste Of Mexico Salad
Pour honey-lime dressing into the bottom of the jar. Layer in tomato, corn, black beans, guacamole, cooked rice, shredded taco cheese and baby spinach.
8. Pizza In A Jar
Pour mild salsa into the bottom of the jar. Layer in tomato, black olives, red peppers, green peppers, diced onion, sliced mushrooms, diced pepperoni, shredded mozzarella and baby spinach.
9. Satisfying Chicken Salad Lunch
Pour lite-ranch dressing into the bottom of the jar. Layer in chopped shallots, chopped celery, diced purple grapes, pine nuts, chopped walnuts, diced cooked chicken and baby spinach.
10. My Favorite Lunch In A Jar
Add colorful fruits and vegetables to create a stunning, appetizing rainbow lunch. Mason jar lunches can stay fresh up to five days in the fridge, as long as they are tightly sealed. However, if you are incorporating foods that perish quickly, such as hard-boiled eggs, avocados, tomatoes, or meat proteins, add these ingredients the day (or night before) you plan to eat it. The lovely colors of the mixed fruits and vegetables you choose will whet your appetite and help you in your journey to eat a healthy and nutritious lunches. No more fast food for you! No more trips to the vending machines at work! Set an example at your workplace (or wherever you eat lunch) for healthy eating. The more color in your jar, the more variety of minerals, nutrients and vitamins you are likely to consume.
A great idea is to have a Mason Jar recipe luncheon! Provide a variety of wholesome fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, proteins, and condiments for your guests to create their own Mason jar lunch! Emphasize the importance of choosing fresh, organic ingredients. Choosing foods grown by your local farmer’s market (or your own garden) creates a sustainable lunch that everyone can enjoy.
Mason Jar lunches are great for traveling, too. Create your favorite Mason jar lunch and place in your favorite take-along cooler. Most Mason jars fit easily into a small thermal cooler, making it easy to have a notorious lunch at the pool, the gym, or anywhere. Use pint size jars for kid-friendly lunches (and snacks). You can double these recipes and add ingredients to two-quart jars to take to a cookout or potluck. Mix and match your favorites for a delicious, easy way to enjoy healthy food!