When you are trying to eat a healthy diet, there are a variety of important things. One of my favorite ways to serve a wide range of colorful fruits and vegetables (and healthy protein) is in salads! Now that the garden is in action, we’re back to a favorite and easy way to do it: the homemade Mason jar salad bar that we can eat all week.
Mason jar salad bar makeings
Our salad bar approach keeps my family eating healthy even when they don’t have much time to prepare anything. I cook bulk at the beginning of the week and chop all the ingredients in the salad bar, grill, grill and so on. I then refrigerate them in a glass container (usually a mason jar).
When it comes time to make lunch, we can just pull out our “salad bar” and make an easy lunch!
It also works well for little ones who can’t and won’t eat salads yet. Just choose to add a few more bars of protein and salad and they’ll be happy (no lettuce needed!).
Once you cut out the protein and veggies (note: Knife-trained kids really help at this stage), you have two choices:
- Refrigerate them in containers or mason jars and collect when ready to eat.
- Or put them in a mason jar because you have a ready to take and shake salad.
How to Fold on a Mason Jar Salad (Important!)
If you decide to pre-order your salad, follow this approach to keep everything crisp and fresh:
- Wet ingredients (dressing, hummus, sauce etc.)
- Nuts / crunchy textures (like cabbage)
- Berries or fruits
- Lettuce always goes last!
Shake when ready to eat! (Hint: If you find it difficult to mix dressings, try mason jar entries that allow you to store dressings on top.)
Any mason jar will work, but I recommend wide mouth and quart size for easy access. Solid lids like these are the easiest to carry children on a walk.
Mason jar salad ingredients
The options are endless, but our favorite ingredients when making salads are:
Lettuce is the basis of most salads and offers a small amount of saliva in the filling. Unlike sandwiches, lettuce is rich in nutrients and fiber and does not cause the health effects that bread can.
These are some of my favorite lettuce mixes.
- Spring Mix – Grab an organic spring mix from the grocery store or combine any baby vegetables growing in your garden. Spring mix works well in most salads.
- Roman Cutting or tearing some romantic heads. Roman is great because it is a good blend of soft and raw greens in itself.
- Mixed Greens – This mix usually includes spinach, bananas, mustard, chard, and other nutrient-dense greens such as hardy greens. They are often well-fed, so if you have a lot, you can eat them that way.
- Watercress – I like the crunch and the slight bitterness that Watercress has added to salads.
- Sprouts – one of the nutrient-dense green vegetables you can give down, and you can grow it on your counter!
If you have a garden or share a CSA, use whatever seasonal salad greens are available.
Adding some protein takes the salad from the side dish to the main course. Here are some protein ideas you can find in your salad bar:
- Hard-boiled egg – hard-boiled a dozen eggs (or more if you have a large family the way I do). You can leave them in their shells until you use them or you can keep them in peels and in an airtight container. Slice before adding to your salad.
- Chicken – Bake or grill a few chicken breasts and cut into strips when cool.
- Steak – Grill a steak and cut into strips.
- Sardines – Believe it or not; this is my personal favorite thanks for the health benefits!
- Chopped ham, turkey, or roast beef – if you can find organic, nitrate-free chopped meat, it’s a great addition to salads. Roll them (together or separately) and cut into 1-inch pieces before adding to salads.
- Chopped Almonds or Other Nuts – Nuts contain some texture as well as healthy fats and proteins.
- Sliced or crushed hard cheese – grab some organic stuff and chop or cube them.
- Greasy soft things. It’s easy to add to any salad. Just grab something, break it, and go!
- Bacon Breaks – Roast or bake a package of stolen bacon early in the week. Cut into bits and store for salads throughout the week.
- Chopped Almonds – To make them extra delicious, add a drop of maple syrup and a pinch of salt.
These are just a few tips to keep your ideas going, but you don’t have to make protein specifically for your salad bar. Meat left over from lunch or a tuna salad is also a great option!
I get most of my healthy protein from local farmers, butcher boxes (chicken, steak, etc.) and Vital Choice (seafood).
Once you’ve decided on your protein, it’s time to add other fixings to really interesting salads. Here are some ideas:
- Fresh berries (best for kids to love salads)
- Carrots or chopped carrots
- Chopped raw or chopped cooked beets
- Fermented Vegetables – This is a great way to add a little complexity to your salad and increase digestion. Consider adding sirloin or other fermented veggies to your lunch.
- Cucumber slices
- Chopped pepper
- Chopped mushrooms
- Chopped red onion
- Cherry tomatoes
- Plantain chips (you can buy things made from coconut oil or make your own)
- Freshly chopped fruit like apples
- Dried Fruits – Some ideas include: cherries, cranberries, blueberries, mangoes, strawberries, etc.
- Olives – I like to have a number of delicate olives on my hands, such as Kalmata, Manzinella, and Serganola.
- Artichoke Heart – Some seeds are soaked in oil, so look carefully for someone who is soaked in olive oil or water.
- Avocado – Because the avocado turns brown when exposed to the wind, it’s best to wait until the last minute to cut it. Instead, you can make guacamole prematurely (onions and other spices help keep it green).
- Fresh Herbs – If you have a herb garden, it’s easy to add some fresh herbs to your salad.
You do not need to have all these supplements available every week. Choose a handful each week and consider going around the list of added varieties.
Salad dressings add flavor to salads, but they also provide important healthy fats that are essential for getting the most out of vegetables.
If you’re in a hurry, you can make a quick salad dressing by sprinkling some oil and vinegar (and a pinch of salt) on top of the salad. If you are running, add 1 part vinegar and 2 parts oil to a small container with a pinch of salt.
If you have a little extra time or want to do the dressing ahead of time, these 7 healthy salad dressings are my favorite things and can add a lot of variety to your salad.
5 Delicious Mason Jar Salad Recipe
It’s easy to come up with a delicious mix based on what looks good any day. But if you want some more direction for a delicious blend, take a look at these ideas:
The great thing about this salad is that it doesn’t feel like a salad. With all the flavors of the Southwest, it tastes like a decomposed brewery.
- Lettuce of choice
- Steak or chicken strip
- Red onion
- Avocado slices or pieces
- Chopped fresh red pepper
- Fermented salsa
- Tea seasoning (toss chicken or steak in spices or sprinkle on top)
For this dressing, try this healthy form of dressing or use apple cider vinegar and olive oil with a pinch of taco seasoning.
These salads are really easy to throw together and stay in the fridge (or lunch box) for a while.
- Roman Lettuce
- Chicken or the rest of the Greek meatballs
- کلماتا زیتون
- Red onion
- Cracked cheese, dizzy
For the dressing, add some of my tangy Greek salad dressing.
This salad is a great choice when you have leftovers left in the refrigerator. It’s versatile enough that you can add whatever you want and it still tastes good.
- Roman Lettuce
- Greased bacon
- Sliced eggs
- Inquired chicken strip
- Cherry tomatoes
- Avocado, thinly sliced or sliced
- Blue cheese, shredded
- Of chopped chives
Try this blue cheese dressing with 100, 100 days real food for dressing.
This salad looks exactly the same, a collection of vegetables available at the farmer’s market. It will change with the seasons, but here’s a good starting point.
- Mixed vegetables
- Choice protein
- Chopped mushrooms
- Chopped bat
- Artichoke heart
- Fresh celery
For dressing, a pepper balsamic vinegar is a great choice.
Fruit and nuts salad
When you want something different, this sweet salad is fun. These include fruits and nuts for a healthy but tasty twist.
- Spring Mix
- Chopped almonds
- Dried cherries
- Pieces of mandarin orange
For dressing, try something with a sweet and sour taste. White wine vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, and honey make excellent dressings for fruit salads.
Other salad ideas:
Healthy lunch starts with simplification
I’m always trying to find ways to make life easier (like my cleaning routine) because simplicity matters in life. These catch and go salads have put the most important thing (healthy food and more time for family), so this Mason Jar Salad Bar ID has been a huge life-saver for me! I hope this is a success with your family too!
How do you make lunch easier? Any favorite salad ideas to share? I love to hear