Here are a few more things to think about from Joy Bauer, MS, RD on verywell.com as you begin to experiment with this fun, fantastic way to prepare a healthy lunch for work or elsewhere:
- Start with a large, wide-mouth mason jar. It is easier to layer in your ingredients and if you plan to eat out of the jar, a wide-mouth will make stuffing (and munching) much easier.
- Pack the heaviest, most moist (non-absorbent) ingredients, including the dressing, in the bottom of the jar. Keep the jar upright as long as possible to protect your salad from a soggy outcome.
- A sealed jar will stay overnight in the fridge. Pack your jar the night before making sure the lid is screwed on tight.
- When you’re ready to eat, simply turn the jar over (with the lid on tight) and shake/roll to distribute the dressing and toppings. Dump your salad into a bowl/large plate, or eat it straight from the jar!
Pick Your Greens
Ditch iceberg lettuce for a more nutritious leafy option like mixed greens, baby kale, or chopped romaine. The darker green lettuces are chock full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals (like A, C, K and B6) that enhance overall health.
Go For Tons of Toppings
To liven up your salad, get gutsy with your toppers—think sliced beets, chickpeas, edamame, artichokes, sprouts, seeds, sugar snap peas, broccoli, and crumbled goat cheese, to name a few. Not only are fresh veggies, legumes, nuts, and seeds ideal salad toppers, they also pack a lot of fiber (and nutrition) in every tasty bite.
Don’t Forget Protein
Take your salad from side order to entrée by adding a lean protein pick. Choose from healthier options like grilled chicken, water-packed chunk light tuna, wild salmon, sliced sirloin steak, or egg whites. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, look for meat-free protein sources like tofu, chickpeas, quinoa, beans, and lentils.
Dress Up in Style
Commercial salad dressings are often loaded with calories, fat and sodium. Be savvy about your choice and go easy on the amount you’re adding. As a rule of thumb, stick with 2 tablespoons of a regular dressing and 2-4 tablespoons of a lower-calorie option. Better yet, mist a few spritzes of olive oil, a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice, and a dash of salt and pepper (and any other preferred seasonings, such as oregano, crushed red pepper, cumin, etc.) on top of your salad instead.
My inspiration for today’s mason jar salad is my garden.
- Chunky blue cheese yogurt dressing
- Summer squash
- Sungold cherry tomatoes
- Fresh mozzarella
- Three types of basil with some added spinach
I am going to need to go pick up some more mason jars!