Mason jar salads, for healthy on-the-go

Between working, taking care of yourself and your family, leisure activities like sports or dance classes, eating and sleeping, it never seems like there are enough hours in the day. Sometimes things have to give and usually that’s eating healthy, but that’s the last thing you should give up because there’s a simple solution ­– Mason jar salads.

A study done by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that over 91 percent of Americans aren’t meeting the U.S. federal dietary guidelines for vegetable consumption. It is recommended that you get 1.5-2 cups of fruit and 2-3 cups of vegetables per day. With schedules getting busier and more places to be, let’s take a look at one way to ensure that you and your loved ones have enough vegetables to take on the go.

All that’s required are three things: salad ingredients of your choice, your favorite salad dressing and a Mason jar. The first two items can be picked up at your local grocery store and you can find Mason jars at home goods stores or craft stores. I usually get a package of about 8-10, but some stores also sell them individually.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, you’re going to be packing your salad in the Mason jar. But wait! Don’t get ahead of yourself just yet. There is somewhat of a science to this because we don’t want to end up with a soggy salad.

The idea behind the Mason jar salad is to separate the wet and dry ingredients. So the first thing you’re going to want to put in your jar is the salad dressing. Next, add any wet vegetables you might have like tomatoes followed by foods that are somewhat resistant to the effects of wetness like carrots or bell peppers. Just above this, about in the middle of your jar, you’re going to want to put your lettuce. On top of the lettuce are going to be your toppings like cheese, croutons and bacon bits. One very important thing to remember is to leave a little bit of space at the top of your jar, about half an inch should do it, so you can make sure that you have enough room to shake and mix your salad up.

Now you’re set for work, school, a picnic or just about anywhere. Be one of the 9 percent and get the recommended amount of vegetables and start early. Researchers say that "better dietary practices earlier in life might lead to better practices later in life."

For more ideas on what to do with Mason jar salads, check out our Pinterest page.

 

Caitlin Hutchinson

The Association for Dressings & Sauces