Eating healthier food and bringing lunch to work usually comes with the new year’s reso territory. We want to save money and save extra calories, so we vow to bring our lunch to work. Unfortunately because we’re busy, we quickly find ourselves burnt out on eating the same things over and over. Fear not, I’m here to help.
When we’re trying to eat well, we typically think, “I’ll just have a salad.” But the average restaurant meal has over 1000 calories and lunch salads are some of the worst offenders.
High calorie salads usually contain something fried and are overdressed with a dressing that’s full of unhealthy fats, sodium and even sugar (this is usually of the ranch dressing variety). Then, the concoction is covered with some sort of cheese.
So as you can imagine, I’m advocating for homemade salads. When you make your own salads for lunch, you have total control over the produce that you use (preferably organic), the cheese and meat that you use (preferably organic and “happy”), the oils that you use to make your salad dressing (preferably cold-pressed) and the seasonings that you use (preferably organic seasonings and Celtic sea salt).
Here’s a fun idea to try, the mason jar salad. You’ve probably seen a few of these recipes on Pinterest and I urge you to try your own! All it takes is a little prep on Sunday but you get to reap the rewards – once you’ve cooked and assembled the salad you literally just have to grab and go for the rest of the week.
Here’s my healthy take on a Greek salad. Full of brightly coloured vegetables that nourish your body and your skin with their phytonutrients, promoting alkalinity. It’s full of protein, fibre and healthy fats, which help to keep your blood sugar balanced and your cravings under control. This salad makes enough salad for a single person to eat Monday to Friday. This is a vegetarian salad that can easily be adapted:
- Vegan – omit cheese
- Grain-free – substitute quinoa and chickpeas with cooked chicken (do not pack in mason jar – cook enough for two days’ worth and bring on the side)
5-Layer Greek Salad in a Mason Jar
1 cucumber, chopped
1 pint grape tomatoes, cut in half
1 red pepper, chopped
½ onion, diced
1 can chick peas (buy Eden Organic, as cans are BPA-free)
optional: 1 cup quinoa, cooked and cooled or 5 oz feta cheese, cut into cubes
1-2 heads romaine lettuce, washed and roughly torn
5 wide mouthed Mason jars
Lemony Greek Dressing:
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
sprinkle of dried oregano
pinch of sea salt and pepper
Put all ingredients in a small jar and shake to combine.
- Wash and prep all ingredients.
- Layer ingredients in jars using this guide:
- Layer 1: Dressing (lemon juice, olive oil, oregano, salt, pepper)
- Layer 2: Hard vegetables (cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, onion)
- Layer 3: Protein (chick peas, quinoa)
- Layer 4: Olives
- Layer 5: Lettuce (romaine), fresh herbs
When you’re ready to eat, give your jar a shake and tumble onto a plate or bowl. Enjoy.
I’ll be back with plenty of healthy recipes in the coming weeks. Here’s to healthier lunches. xo Andrea