Make-Ahead Salad in a Jar

2 Apr

Since I took a step back and started looking a little more closely at the way I eat, I have tried some things that I definitely wouldn’t have even considered before… I ate salads every single day for lunch last week, I used spaghetti squash in place of pasta, and I made chocolate pudding out of mashed avocadoes (sounds odd but it tastes like brownie batter). Crazy!

It’s funny, because anyone who knows me pretty well knows that I don’t really do salads…. I LOVE salads, but I don’t digest leafy greens very well… too much information? Ha!

So, I found this idea for salads in jars on Pinterest (no surprise, with their crazy obsession with Mason jars); it’s really great to spend a little time on a Sunday and not have to worry about planning lunches all week! From what I heard, they can last up to 5 days if you pack them pretty tight. It’s an easy concept: you put the dressing on the bottom of a 1-quart mason jar, layer with veggies, and top with lettuce or spinach so it doesn’t get soggy. Pretty brilliant if you ask me! And you can make all sorts of varieties and flavors!

UPDATE 4/14/12: I made the salads on a Sunday, and they stayed PERFECT throughout the whole week- through Friday!

Hard at work! Look at all the stuff I had out... it filled up my whole countertop!

Here are some ideas…

Oriental mandarin chicken salad
Layer: Dressing, chicken, mandarin oranges, almonds, bagged cole slaw, lettuce mix, chow mein noodles
Dressing recipe: 6 Tbsp honey, 3 Tbsp Rice Vinegar, 1/2 cup light Mayonnaise, 2 tsp Dijon mustard, a splash of olive oil

Buffalo Chicken salad
Layers: Ranch, buffalo sauce, chicken, onions, carrots, tomatoes, bacon, walnuts, bleu cheese crumbles, lettuce mix

Southwest salad
Layers: Dressing, chicken with taco seasoning, Corn/black beans/peppers & onions, avocado, tomatoes, lettuce mix, tortilla strips.
Dressing recipe: Ranch, 1-2 tsp chipotle powder, a squirt of lime juice

Summer fruit
(I haven’t made this one yet, because the cost of fruit is ridiculous right now!)
Vinaigrette dressing, Blueberries, strawberries, apples, grapes, lettuce mix, cashews
Dressing recipe: 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1-2 tbsp water, 2 tbsp honey, 1/4 tsp sea salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper

So far, this whole “cutting down on grains” thing has certainly been an enlightening experience, but difficult to figure out dinner ideas at first. We used to eat cereal or oatmeal for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch, pasta or rice dishes/casseroles for dinner.  I admit it’s a lot of prep work and planning to not stray too far when you revamp your diet to limit something like grains that I relied so heavily on… too much. Now, I put fruit or nuts in baggies for snacks, and put my lunch for the next day in a Tupperware container the night before.  I’ve been making an egg casserole or frittata for breakfast all week, a bunch of chicken breasts and a ton of sautéed veggies on Sunday or Monday night. I buy enough fresh veggies in the beginning of the week to last a few days… they haven’t been lasting very long!

It has been 21 days of trying my hardest to not give in too much, and I am feeling pretty good about it! My hypoglycemic episodes are totally gone – I never feel dizzy/nauseous before lunch or dinner now –  and I think I’ve lost about 5-6 pounds. I’m sure I feel better because my blood sugars aren’t spiking so much, followed by a surge of insulin, and then feeling terrible and hungry shortly thereafter. I get very cranky when I get hypoglycemic, so I’m sure those around me have noticed a difference as well! I believe the term is HANGRY!

I’ll keep it up for a while, and keep you updated!

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One Response to “Make-Ahead Salad in a Jar”

  1. Carol Suter July 24, 2013 at 2:51 pm #

    I made (in order of placement in the jar) Caesar Salad Dressing, tomatoes, artichoke hearts, garbanzo beans, lettuce and chopped salad veggies, chicken strips, shredded cheese and slivered toasted almonds. I just shook it up at lunch time and ate it out of the jar. It was healthy, Paleo and very tasty.

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