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Making Mason Jar Meals

We've all been encouraged to meal prep and pack our own lunch eventually in our lives. If only it were incredibly easy! Loading your own lunch can feel like a great deal of work and take up precious time and space in your refrigerator. However, when you've prepped those meals, enjoying a nutritious and varied diet ends up being that much simpler! Meal planning is a great method to make sure that you eat a diet filled with nutrient-dense and well balanced foods. One fantastic way to do so is to use mason jars.

Mason jars are a great solution to food prep. They are made from glass and can preserve food longer than plastic options, are simple to reuse and clean both by hand and in a dishwashing machine, take up less room in the refrigerator and are stackable, and the list goes on! Furthermore, we can all agree there is something to be said about taking pleasure in a lovely looking meal. Mason jar meals tend to look quite incredible once ended up! At the end of the day, the very best feature of mason jar meals is how simple they are to put together.

Let's get going! First things first, pick your jar size

Wide mouth jars are best as it is easier to get active ingredients in and out.

Pint-sized jars are excellent for entrée salads.

Quart-sized jars are best for desserts and breakfast dishes.

How to layer your active ingredients

The most crucial thing to learn about mason jar meals is the appropriate order in which to layer active ingredients. Although it may sound silly, the incorrect order can make enjoying your meal far more tough and shorten the life of the meal.

Here's a rundown:

Layer 1: Dressing and damp ingredients address the bottom of the jar

Layer 2: Hearty vegetables (they will not wilt in the dressing and can act as a barrier layer).

Layer 3: Other vegetables/fruits (to offer an additional barrier in between the dressing and the greens).

Layer 4: Pasta/grains/beans (any type of pasta, quinoa, farro, or beans).

Layer 5: Proteins (cheeses, eggs, meats, or tofu).

Layer 6: Greens (pack the greens toward the top to keep them from getting soaked and use any greens you prefer: kale, arugula, spinach, or romaine).

Layer 7: Fruit/nuts/seeds.

Kinds of meals to produce.

The variations of meals that you can develop in a jar is really limitless!

Here's a short list to get your imagination running:

  • Yogurt parfait
  • Granola parfait
  • Quiche jar
  • Breakfast jar
  • Oatmeal parfait
  • Salad jar
  • Rice jar
  • Lunch jar-- any base here works
  • Quinoa jar
  • Stir-fry jar
  • Veggies & dip jar.

Give it a try with fresh dishes.

Now that we've covered the right order for filling the jars, provide mason jar meals a shot with our curated dish guide from Whole U dietetic interns Molly Bowdon and Kate Ueland and UW Medicine dietitian Charlotte Furman.

Complete with oatmeals, salads, and even desserts-- these versatile dishes will get your mason jar meal fascination started.