Tag Archive for healthy lunches

Mason Jar Veggie Bowls: A Week’s Worth of Healthy Lunches for $20

Last summer, I discovered (insert angel chorus here) Salad in a Jar!

Yep. It’s life-changing. I’ve been setting aside time on the weekends to prep lunches for the week. It’s been a great way to save some green, and eat my greens at the same time.

Well, now that it’s winter, I’m not super interested in salad. I want something warm. Heartier. Warming. But still portable.

mason jar veggie bowls

Can you make a week’s worth of healthy lunches for $20? With the help of some mason jars, you betcha!

There certainly are lots of options, like making a big pot of soup to eat during the week. But I was inspired to go beyond soup and try making a veggie bowl by the new Thug Kitchen Cookbook.

There’s a whole section in there about veggie bowls, and what I noticed was that a veggie bowl is very similar to a salad in a jar–could I adapt the veggie bowl concept to work in a mason jar?

Turns out, you can, quite successfully.

mason jar veggie bowls

Mason Jar Veggie Bowls: 

1: Grains. If you are gluten-free, choose a gluten-free grain. Rice is the standard/fallback, but you don’t have to use it if you don’t want to. Quinoa, buckwheat, barley, millet, kasha, the list goes on and on. I used Farro in my most recent experiment. If you are pressed for time, get one that cooks quickly, in 10-15 minutes. Brown rice, while quite healthy, will take almost an hour to cook. You’ll need about 2 cups of cooked grains for the week. The grain component of your jar should be about 1/3.

2. Protein. I use firm tofu in mine, but you have lots of other options. Leftover chicken or lean beef, even quickly-sauteed shrimp would rock. Vegetarian meat strips or seitan would also work really well. One package of firm tofu was enough for me for the week. You’ll want your protein component to be about 1/4 of your jar.

3. Veggies. You can do these raw, or you can quickly stir fry them. I have used a variety of different things, like yams I’ve baked and cut up, kale, shredded raw carrots, crunchy snow peas, edamame beans, mushrooms, basically whatever you like. The other day, I grabbed a handful of this yummy Superfood Salad I’d picked up from Costco, and stir-fried it quickly, and it went into my jar. You’ll want the biggest proportion in your jar to be veggies–1/3 to 1/2.

4. Sauce. This is where you really get to customize! I have been keeping my simple, by mixing together hoisin sauce and soy sauce (to thin it out). You could do a basic teriyaki type sauce with soy, rice wine vinegar, sugar, garlic, ginger, and a little cornstarch to thicken. Substitute Tamari to make it gluten-free. I also love a nice peanut sauce: peanut butter, soy sauce, a little heat, a little sugar. Here is a blog post that lists a bunch of different sauces you can play around with. You only need 1-2 tbsp of sauce.

That’s it–once you have all your ingredients, you just need to prep your jars. I used 500 ml wide-mouthed mason jars. Your grains go in the bottom, then your veggies, then the protein on top of that. Pour over a couple tablespoons of sauce, and garnish, if you like, with sesame seeds. Screw the lid on, and keep it in the fridge until you are ready to eat. You can warm this a little in the microwave, if you like, or just eat it cold, straight from the jar.

Happy lunching!

Back to School Healthy–Lunch

Sandwiches. By the time I’d graduated from high school, I never wanted to see one again.

We have a great hot lunch program at Michael’s school, but when he first started, he was such a picky eater, I knew there wasn’t much point signing him up, because he’d only eat half what was presented to him. Still, today, he can’t handle anything even remotely spicy, so we’ll probably continue to pack lunches for him every day.

back to school healthy

Here are some ideas for back to school lunches for both yourself and the kidlets, that go beyond boring sandwiches.

Leftovers: whatever you make for dinner the night before, make extra, and send it in for lunch the next day. I do this with pasta, or I’ll make a big soup on the weekends, and I do it with pizza night, as well.

Wraps & rolls: I’ll often take a tortilla, and spread a little mayo and mustard on. Then, I’ll lay down some sliced meat, grate some cheese, add some lettuce, olives, salt and pepper. I roll it up, and slice it in half. You may need a toothpick to hold it together… Michael also likes peanut butter and banana sushi.

Salad in a Jar: I now make these for my lunches, and Michael likes them too!

Bentos: kids like finger food. Bentos are great for that, because they keep all the foods separate. You can literally build them a four-food-group lunch with bentos, but putting something from each food group in each of the little containers. Michael likes cucumbers and ranch dressing, so bentos are also perfect for that. You could make your own version of Lunchables with crackers and cheese and a little meat and some fruit and/or veg. You may find bento boxes at your local dollar store, or check out Raspberry Kids. Check out this post for some ideas about what to pack in your bento.

bento box

Food safety: Michael has a dual-compartment lunchbox: one for cold and one for regular. I also have a wide-mouth thermos for him for hot foods. You can buy little cold packs at the dollar store to keep cold things cold, or freeze juice boxes or small bottles of water for dual purposes.

Next up: Dinner!

Previous posts: 

Back to school Organization

Back to school Breakfast 

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