As part of a monthly series I’d like to begin, I have partnered up with my dear friend, registered Dietitian and content creator of Nourish Content Marketing, Sarah Marjoram, MS, RDN, LD, this month for a post about how meal prepping can help you focus your weekly food goals. She is a woman who is all about helping you have a plan and work it. Go ahead and hop on over to her site!
Something that I’ve learned in my short 34 years of life is that things tend to run a little more smoothly when I have a plan. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’m a planner who is sometimes unable to roll with the punches, and constantly strives to find balance in everything I do.
I began “meal prepping” when Vic and I were first married. While I was in grad school and only working part time, I would prep some sides for him to bring in his lunch. It provided me with a sense of purpose. The meals were small, and manageable for a weekend’s grocery trip, something like a fruit salad, or green bean salad to accompany the peanut butter and jelly sandwich that so often found its way into his lunch box.
Meal prepping has always had some place in our weekly routine, but in the past I’ve never really had a “system.” My system normally consisted of me groaning about making the grocery list and then buying all the food, and then letting my vegetables rot away in the veggie drawer because I forgot about them. Like I said, not a good system. Then I discovered the joy of the salad jar. What’s fantastic about these little jars, is the complete creativity and authenticity you are allowed to have in building them.
Now, I have a system based on what both Vic and I like. They have turned into handy, quick meals that are incredibly filling. Not to mention, they help on those mornings when it’s a little difficult to make it out the door on time…
The truth is, there’s nothing new, innovative or truly groundbreaking about salad jars; however, having a plan, working the plan and being flexible when the plan doesn’t quite work out the way you want it to, is the best lesson any meal prep system could teach.
*The best part about these jars is you can customize them however you would like. Don’t like eggs? Don’t use them. Don’t like tomatoes, skip ’em. Make this yours, and get the whole family involved.
To make about 10 salad jars:
10 pint jars: perfectly fits all of the ingredients below
10 eggs, hardboiled: My method of hardboiling, is relatively easy and always cooks the perfect eggs. Bring a pot, 3/4 of the way full with water, to a boil. Gently add eggs to boiling water, cover and lower to a simmer. Allow to simmer for 13 minutes. At the 11 minute mark, in a colander, create an ice bath. Add the eggs to the ice bath and let cool. Adding the eggs to the ice bath allows them to cool, and creates easily peelable eggs.
1 1/2 c cooked farro: I use the measurements on the back of the bag, and it cooks enough to fill the 10 jars. *Feel free to substitute in any grain you’d like.
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 15 oz can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 pint grape tomatoes
Bagged slaw mix (or some other crunchy vegetable mix). I really add it for the texture…knowing that the health benefits aren’t so bad either.
1 lb chicken breasts: I’ve done these a number of ways, slow cooker, pressure cooker, roasting, sautéing, and finally just started buying the already prepared chicken from Trader Joe’s because I wanted to save time.
3 large carrots, chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
*I prepare a salad dressing to add once I’m ready to pour the salad into a bowl and eat. I make a simple red wine vinaigrette because I prefer the acidity of the red wine. There are so many different dressing combinations, that on a later post I’ll be happy to share with you.
To assemble the jars:
Place cooled farro at the bottom of the jar. It acts as a good anchor and absorbs some of the moisture.
Layer the crunchier veggies, like carrots and celery on top of the farro.
Sprinkle the bell peppers, then the garbanzo beans, and the slaw mix.
Once the chicken is cooled and cut into 1 inch cubes, you will place that on top of the slaw mix, and top with the chopped, hard boiled eggs.
Easy, healthy, and delicious.