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

Meal Prep | June 23, 2014

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This past Sunday, I filmed my weekly meal prep. This weeks meals include Quiche for breakfast, Mason Jar Salads for lunch, Smoothies for meal 3 and watermelon for snack. Dinners are Spaghetti with red sauce, Mahi with vegetables, Salmon with vegetables, and shrimp stir fry. Prep was simple, and I broke it up into morning and evening.

My dad came over with watermelon and his melon slicer in hand, it was a father’s day gift to him that has turned out to be very very useful for all of us (purchased from Sam’s Club). Last week my sister made me a quiche and I loved it, so this week I made my first quiche using a recipe from Savory Simple. I have been enjoying my Mason Jar Salads since the beginning of the month mainly because the possibilities are endless! I did not need to prep anything for this weeks dinners, and so far, this week is going very smoothly.

Next Post: Running Update

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.

Healthy Lunch-To Go

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As I’ve stated before, I do not always bring my lunch to work. Sometimes I order something from a nearby restaurant, or I stop at a grocery store on my way in to work.  For example, today I had yogurt and rolled oats for breakfast and I had no prepped lunch to take to work, so for lunch I called the Chinese restaurant near my job and asked for “Chinese” vegetables and brown rice. They said sure, it will be ready in a couple of minutes. This is no different than the vegetable medleys I make at home, I specifically call Chinese restaurants because the vegetables are not pulverized or covered to death in sauce which leaves them healthy. The brown rice is added as a filler, grains are filling. The vegetables alone would not leave me satisfied for more than an hour, but with the addition of brown rice, I have a healthy meal that will satisfy for hours.

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Other options include:

-Sandwiches in lettuce wraps or on wheat bread (from Jimmy Johns, Subway, etc.)

-Soup from Panera, Publix, Whole Foods, Earth Fare, etc.

I am not into salad as a lunch entree as I do not find salads alone to be satisfying in the long term, but I do not mind soup and salad as a lunch option.

-I also enjoy Green Smoothies from Planet Smoothie, Tropical Smoothie, my local health food stores, with a side of fruit, the greens in the smoothie make it more satisfying in the long term

-Stir Fry’s are another great option, meat with veggies is never a bad idea.

The only things I stay away from are fried foods, sodas, and sugars. I firmly believe you can easily eat healthy away from home, it may cost a little more (although it doesn’t have to), but in my book, its work any extra cost.

 

*On a side note, I am going to start posting my tastier green smoothie recipes as I make them under the Favorite Recipes tab above.

Quinoa and Kidney Bean Salad

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Saturday evening, while making my grocery list, I almost put some chicken on the list, in order to make the Zuzka Light sexy abs recipe before I said to myself, why buy when you have plenty of stuff in your pantry? I walked over to the pantry, opened the doors and said to myself, you haven’t eaten Quinoa in awhile, and you haven’t used your beans yet, lets see what we can find. During my recipe search , I stumbled across this video:

I prepared the Quinoa in a water and oj mixture, and I made fresh beans from my Mason Jar dry bean stash. Let me just take a moment to say that the Mason Jar legumes, grains and beans idea is the best idea I have had yet. I truly use something from those jars at least once a day, ok back to the topic at hand. I had pretty much everything needed for the recipe already in my home, so after my grocery trip, I put some beans on to cook (I soaked them the night before.  While the Quinoa cooked, I chopped away, added spices, and by the time the Quinoa was done, I was done preparing the dish. The only change I made was to the parsley, I prefer Cilantro, and since she suggested substitutions, I chose to take her suggestion.

I made this dish for my lunch entree of the week. Yesterday I ate it cold and today I ate it warm, and I have to say I prefer it warm, but it was good cold. All in all, the spices really make this dish taste delicious, and the combo of protein and veggies is filling and seriously nutritious. This weeks lunch sides include Cherries, Cucumber (with salt and olive oil), Bell Pepper (Green and Red) and Hummus for dipping. I’ll talk about my work snack Thursday.

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Healthy Tacos

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I know I was supposed to make the pasta last night, but I needed to use my ground chicken, so I made delicious tacos instead. Do you remember when I bought the Brown Rice Tortillas? Well, I finally used them, all I can say is tasty and healthy, can’t beat it!!!!

I got the idea for brown rice pasta as well as brown rice tortillas from the Youtuber DearNaptural85:

I used ground chicken for the fillings along with onions, peppers and mushrooms. It is soooo delicious, I made hard taco shells by folding the shell and warming in a pan, once one side was hard I flipped it to the other. I had one for dinner and one for lunch this afternoon with a sweet potato as a side. Soooooooo good!!!! I will make pasta tomorrow, for my last two meals today, I will have a green smoothie (will post on Instagram) and another taco with avocado as a side. I’m very happy with this discovery and will continue my brown rice adventures tomorrow!

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