Greek Chicken Mason Jar Salad
by John Bauer – March 27, 2016
Lunch on the go
One of the huge challenges in a new diet plan is lunch when you are away from home. Typical practices include restaurant meals or brown bagging. Both of these have big challenges if you are trying to eat a minimally processed whole foods diet and avoid some of the more pernicious ingredients like sugar and vegetable oils as I discuss in My Diet Philosophy.
Restaurants typically use these ingredients and have unhealthier cooking methods – even their salads can be loaded with high calorie and inflammatory dressings and typically use iceberg lettuce, the nutritional pygmy of greens. I discuss some strategies for restaurants in this post on healthy tips for eating at restaurants. It is convenient, but you pay for that convenience both in dollars and health – this would typically add up to a disproportionate share of the food budget for a typical family.
Brown bagging is limited to foods which do not need to be refrigerated, which typically does not include many of the healthier choices you might make. This tends to be processed food heaven, as they don’t require much prep time or refrigeration. Again, the ingredients here will challenge what you are trying to accomplish and I personally avoid processed foods to a very high extent.
The better lunch solution
We prepare vegetables and potato salad in advance and pack them in small glass bowls with lids, typically 4 days worth at a time, and store in the refrigerator. My daily lunch preparation consists of taking an empty bowl and filling it with my protein (soft boiled egg, a chunk of brie and gouda cheese), and then loading my insulated cooler bag with some frozen ice packs, my prepared veggie bowls, and my protein bowl – takes about three minutes and I don’t need to find a refrigerator wherever I happen to be working that day, which is often on the road. Here is a typical cooler bag, but you can get them larger or smaller:
Salads – a bit of a challenge
The problem for me has always been salads – they are so bulky that you have a large container, and packing the dressing and the salad separate seemed not worth it. However if you added the dressing ahead of time so you have one container, the ingredients get soggy by the time you eat it hours (or days) later.
Well, I am probably the last one to the party, and perhaps everyone already knows of this solution except me, but today I came across the concept of Mason jar salads. These solve both the space and dressing issue with packing a salad for lunch.
Tammy Kresge is the creator of organizeyourselfskinny.com and has created a video for how she makes one of her recipes – Greek Chicken Mason Jar Salad. Notice the number of Mason jars, she is making five at once which she then refrigerates and uses as needed in the coming week. I have a link to the video below.
In addition she has a tutorial and literally more than a dozen different recipe links in a blog she has written which I am linking below as well.
Check out the video and recipes – there is no reason to settle for unhealthy food choices while away from home once you get the habits down of preparing your foods in advance.