Easy Mason Jar Meals: Lunch Ideas
If you haven’t gotten on the mason jar meal bandwagon yet, you may be wondering what all the fuss is about. Well, by following a few simple guidelines outlined below, you can end up with fun, easy, make-ahead meals for on-the-go that save time and money. They also feature great ingredients, include powerful bean protein, and offer you a delicious meal right at your desk – or anywhere else you happen to be.
Sure, making mason jar meals requires some planning and meal prep, but the jars make it fun and different. Mason jars keep all the flavor and freshness locked in, and with the right layering technique, they’ll keep your ingredients from getting soggy. Your average plastic storage container just can’t do that.
Tips for Creating, Building & Enjoying Mason Jar Meals:
- Prep and cook ingredients that will add healthy bulk to your mason jar meals and keep well in the fridge.
- Try protein-rich make-ahead beans and lentils.
- Whip up batches of whole grains like brown rice, pasta, and quinoa.
- Shred a store-bought rotisserie chicken.
- Clean and pre-chop vegetables.
- The key to keeping everything crisp in a mason jar is to add dressing first, in the bottom of the jar. Then, on top of the dressing, add layers of hearty beans, lentils, and vegetables that won’t soak up the dressing. Then, add layers of more delicate items like rice, tomatoes, and lettuce, etc., towards the top.
- Make a week’s worth of mason jar meals at one time. With all of your pre-made ingredients ready to go, it’s easy to build them all at once. Then just grab one each day as you head out the door.
- When you’re ready to eat, simply unscrew the mason jar, turn it upside down over a bowl, and pour out. You’ll end up with a healthy, delicious, portion-controlled meal, and the dressing will be right on top, just as it should be.
Three Easy Mason Jar Meal Ideas
Try these great combinations for a variety of flavors, ingredients, and healthy protein.
- Southwestern-Style Black Bean Salad: Start with a delicious, homemade Avocado Cilantro dressing, and add it to the bottom of a jar. Next, add corn, black or pinto beans, brown rice, sliced grape tomatoes, avocado chunks, and lettuce.
- Quinoa Lentil Salad: Shake up a bright, lemony dressing right inside a mason jar — made from lemon juice, olive oil, dijon mustard, salt, and pepper. Top dressing with lentils, broccoli florets, chopped green onions, shredded chicken, and quinoa.
- Spinach, Artichoke & White Bean Salad: Add your favorite Italian dressing to the bottom of a mason jar. Top with navy or great northern beans, chopped artichokes, orzo pasta, chopped tomatoes, and fresh baby spinach.
Now get creative — it’s all about mixing it up!