Mason Jar Salads | My Favorites

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photo 2-1This summer, up until September I have been eating salads that I take to work in Mason Jars for lunch. I was able to eat a different salad each week, which kept me from getting bored and happy to try this again next summer. I thought I would just share some of my favorite ingredients for those who want to get into Mason Jar Salads.

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Protein:
Chicken
Roast Beef
Quinoa
Black Beans

Veggie’s:
Heirloom Tomatoes
Green Onion
Yellow, Red, Orange Bell Pepper
Cucumber
Avocado

Fruit:
Strawberries
Grapes
Dried Cranberries

Nuts:
Slivered Almonds
Pecans

Cheeses:
Gorgonzola
Blu Cheese
Herbed Feta

Lettuce:
Spinach
Organic Girl Power Green
Romaine

I tried other ingredients, but the above are my favorites. My salad ingredient ratio combo is usually:
Protein
2 Veggies
Optional Fruit
Tablespoon Nuts
Tablespoon Cheese
Serving of Greens

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I never put my salad dressing in the jar, so I will do a separate post about my favorite salad dressings. Plus I always use quinoa and beans together for a great dose of protein. I kept a box of plastic forks and paper plates at work all summer, and was asked just about every day what salad and dressing I was eating that week.  These salads are quite high in good, healthy, sustainable calories. They are multi-vitamins in a jar, they are filling, they look gorgeous and are very easy to take to work.  Give it a try! What are your favorite’s?photo 3-4

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Lunch | Mason Jar Salads

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Its warmer outside, and for the moment, I have had enough of soup and am happy with salads. I saw the Mason Jar salad idea on Pinterest last year and thought that would be the easiest take to work route. I have plenty of pint size Mason Jars, so I cleaned them, dried them with Microfiber towels and filled them to the brim.

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I live in Florida, so I knew that I was going to head to the Farmers Market to pick all of my veggies up at the lowest price.   I purchased Romaine lettuce, baby tomatoes, cucumber, and red bell pepper; I went to Sam’s Club and picked up a pound of Organic Baby Spring Mix; then I went to Trader Joe’s and picked up a whole chicken, gorgonzola crumbles, pecan pieces and almond slivers. With all of this stocked in my fridge and internet research, I put together 5 salads for the week.

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Week 1

I put the salad dressing in a separate little container because I just wanted to be sure my salad didn’t go bad before I was ready to eat it. To cook the chicken, I woke up Saturday, put the whole chicken in my crock pot along with some onion and spices and set it to high. I went for a run, cleaned my house and once finished my chicken was done! I then shredded all of the chicken off the bone, put the bone back in the crockpot, added water and things and made broth for freezing. The next day I took the chicken out, plus the various veggies, cheeses and Voila! I must say that this is working beautifully!

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Week 2

This is my second week of Mason Jar Salads, and boy oh boy is this a winner. I simply take a plastic fork with me to work, paper plates can be found at my job, so this is easier than the soup because I do not have to microwave anything. The possibilities with salads are endless, not to mention salad dressing. I am loving these salad’s and will continue with this route until I want something else. I will share my favorite salad combos and dressing as I go.

My Go To Breakfast Choices

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I have finally conquered breakfast. After trying many things last year, I keep certain choices that make my stomach happy:

1. Fruit and Yogurt Parfait

I love to combine Plain Greek Yogurt, fruit and flax granola. I buy a tub of Greek Yogurt from Trader Joe’s, it can last 5 days with leftovers, as I only use 1/2 a cup. Then I buy some berries (strawberries, blueberries and/or blackberries), prep them and store them in a container in the fridge. I freakin’ love Whole Foods Flax Granola varieties. I simply get some from the bulk foods section and put it in one of my Mason Jars in the pantry. I add a 1/3 cup of Granola and a 1/3 cup of berries to my Yogurt. I finish it off by adding a sprinkle of Cinnamon and Tupelo Honey for a flavorful sweet touch.

Nutrition: Protein, serving of fruit, oil, gluten free and more
Calories: 238

2. Cereal in Almond Milk

Lately (meaning like the whole month of March) I have turned back to a favorite of mine. Remember last year I discovered Ezekiel Cinnamon Raisin Cereal and I fell in love. Well, I have discovered that all of the Ezekiel cereal varieties are pretty darn great. I use Almond Milk because I really just do not like the taste of Cows MIlk, and then I add a banana for sweetness and more flavor. I just follow the serving size recommended by using a 1/2 c of cereal and 1 cup milk. I do not add any sweeteners because the almond milk and fruit are sweet enough together.

Nutrition: So much nutritiousness here! Protein, oils, fruit, grains, gluten free, etc.
Calories: 355

3. Eggs w/toast and bacon

Another quick and easy favorite is two eggs and toast with two strips of bacon. Sometimes I put the eggs on the toast, other times I put peanut butter on the toast and eat the eggs separately. I really do not add anything here. Its a simple and quick breakfast. Nutritious, tasty and filling.

Nutrition: Protein, brains, oils, etc
Calories: 295

4. Cream of Brown Rice Farina w/fruit and seeds

The last, but certainly not least ideal choice for breakfast is Cream of Wheat/Farina. I use almond milk to cook the cream of wheat and once done I add 1/3 cup of fruit and chia seeds. This little bowl only contains 3 tblsp of COW, 3/4 cup of milk, and 1 tblsp of seeds.

Nutrition: Wheat, Protein, Fruit
Calories: 236

I occasionally have the full southern breakfast as a treat (grits, eggs, bacon, pancakes/waffles), maybe once a month or more. Regardless, these breakfasts are fillings, low in calories, tasty, customizable and very satisfying. I usually drink a cup of lemon water alongside breakfast. All of these meals also make great post workout meals. I prefer to exercise in the morning on an empty stomach and these meals are a great way to start my day of healthy eating.