Take the Stress off Your Plate: Meal Planning Made Easy
Staying on track with a healthy diet can be daunting. When you feel that grumble in your stomach, you don’t care what you eat, and that’s a dangerous place to be. But in the hustle and bustle of daily life, how can we stay on track with all the meal planning?
By planning smarter, not harder.
You can make salads for the entire week using an age-old contraption, the mason jar. Mason jars are air tight to preserve freshness and compact enough to fit into your fridge, lunch tote or the center console of your car. This on-the-go meal vessel will keep your healthy diet on track and free up time in your busy day.
First things first, you need to plan it. Start the process by deciding what you want in your salads. Get organized and make a list. Do you own a case of mason jars? If not, that’s the first thing to add to your shopping list. You’ll want to look for 32 ounce wide mouth jars. They hold the right amount of ingredients and are easy to eat out of and clean. Most grocery stores carry mason jars, but since we’re getting specific on the size and type, you may want to order them online to save precious time.
To get started on a grocery list, find categories and suggested produce picks here:
- Greens: arugula, romaine lettuce, kale
- Seeds: sunflower, flax seeds, hemp seeds
- Protein: tofu, organic chicken, hardboiled eggs
- Cheese: feta cheese, goat cheese
- Grain: quinoa, brown rice
- Beans: garbanzo, kidney, black beans
- Vegetables and fruits: cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, sliced carrots, celery, avocado (this category can go on for pages!)
- Dressing: olive oil and vinegar or balsamic vinaigrette, lemon juice, salt and pepper
Next you need to know how to stack the salad to maintain optimal freshness throughout the week. Mason jar salads last 5 days, or longer after packed – but that’s directly related to how you pack it. Below is the order on how to stack your salad from the first ingredients to the last.
- Protein and Cheese
- Lettuce and Seeds
Once you start using mason jars for your salads, you’ll find many other diet-shifting ways to incorporate these handy containers into your meal planning. Do you like infused water? Throw some lemons, mint and cucumber in a mason jar with water and let it work magic overnight in the fridge. Then simply unscrew the top and enjoy some inflammation fighting water with your salad too! Need a healthy breakfast? Soak and refrigerate chia seeds and sprouted grain cereals, dried berries and fruit overnight in coconut milk, for your own superfood “parfait” in the morning!
Once you gain momentum with easy to follow healthy meal plans, you might be surprised what you can accomplish with all that extra time, and energy!