Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Layered Salads

I'm sure a lot of you have seen these floating around pinterest or on blogs you follow. Quite a few months ago my girlfriend (hi Frances!) told me about these mason jar salads (she knows I have a slight obsession with mason jars, anyone who has peeked inside my pantry, looked at my candle holders etc would figure this out quickly) but I was so skeptical to actually give it a try. But I was creeping her boards and decided they would perfect for our family!

I've really noticed how slack we have been on the healthy eating habits since I got pregnant (mostly because of food aversions to everything I was living off pre baby #3) I still don't love cooked vegetables (except in soups) but I do love them raw or as a salad, especially coleslaw. I'm incredibly lucky to have two great eaters for kids they also LOVE raw vegetables and salads. Yet more often than I care to admit to, we eat a box of noodles, a canned soup, or oven baked chicken strips for lunch cause it seems sort of no brainer and easy, effortless which this exhausted mama needed in trimester 2 and I've fallen back into the habit of giving them something dry and grain filled (though somtimes it's nuts instead) to munch on while I'm getting dinner ready to keep them out of my hair, but they are just as happy to steal pieces of the vegetables I'm prepping, a platter of veggies and dip would be ideal. Yet for some reason, the thought of chopping up bunch of mixed vegetables for a snack or lunch side or making a salad for lunch, feels daunting and like way to much work is involved especially on those days when we are walking through the door from the library or a morning play date at 12:03.

We were catching a 5pm ferry on Thursday, so I suggested to hubs that we order sushi, instead of eating gluten filled ferry foods and on wednesday evening I chopped up a bunch of vegetables. We, including my 2 year old and almost 4 year old, snacked on the vegetables while waiting in the ferry line up and then devoured the sushi on board. At one point in the car I thought my youngest was trying to get the hot chocolate but she was actually trying to hoard the last 2 carrots for herself... and it really made me clue in "I need to continue to encourage such great eating habits and get us back on track" we also sat next to another family in the dining area of the ferry with two young kids who barely touched their "pirate packs" they kept offering food but the kids had no interest, and you could see a look of "envy" while Bugs and S inhaled vegetable, California, avocado and sweet potato tempura rolls.

My husband goes through phases of being great at taking a lunch to work and then a week of missed meals or eating out...he also loves salads, but our evenings always feel so exhausting and jam packed he rarely wants to assemble a lunch, unless it's easy leftovers.

My sister also lives with us and she commutes to the city for work, so most often she is toting breakfast, lunch and snacks with her and in a few months school starts so she will be bring extra snacks and a supper. That's a lot of food to carry with you on transit! I packed hers in a tall screw top ziploc plastic container to help lighten her load, instead of glass mason jars.

Come June we will have a baby joining our crazy (but loving) home, so I have decided that I need to get into some good habits that make everyone's life easier. Have my fridge and pantry full of ready to go snacks, lunches and even some breakfasts. So we can all just grab something and go. I don't want to feel trapped at home because of a baby and I certainly don't want to be going through the McDonald's drive through every week. I want to be able to enjoy breakfast at home and get out with the kids, head to the splash park, a friends house, the library, play group, the zoo, wherever, without also having to think about snack packing and lunch making that morning, and I definitely don't want to be doing it all the night before either.

So I have been pinterest searching and googling, and making lists, to trying to come up with a plan to have at least 3 days worth of food ready to go, grab and go style in our fridge. I also want some pantry ideas, so far I have decided to have homemade instant oats ready to go, bags for my sister and a jar for us to scoop out what we need, personal baggies of trail mix. I hate using bags, but I do plan to reuse them as much as possible, and I need some healthy convenience in my life right now ha. And I'm looking for a gluten free granola bar recipe to test you can tell oats have majorly creeped back into my life and I'm okay with it, it's better than toast or muffins for breakfast!

Yesterday I chopped up some kiwi's, watermelon, pineapple and oranges for super tasty fruit salad (can't wait to add some local berries to the mix come summer!) I just left it in a large container, but will definitely be picking up a bunch of fruit salad sized containers :) I also decided to give the layered mason jar salads a go....for my sister and husband, I haven't tried it yet. I only made 3 incase they were a bust. Got a text from my husband at lunch "It's the most amazing thing ever" and from my sister "it's tasty!" probably helps that they didn't make it, salad is one of those things I (almost) always think taste better when someone else has made it for you.

Want to know what I did?

  1. Homemade balsamic dressing I don't measure, but it was olive oil, splash of white vinegar, balsamic vinegar and for fun I threw in a pinch of epicure souvlaki seasoning
  2. Grape tomatoes
  3. sliced cucumbers
  4. red peppers
  5. sprinkle of coleslaw, cabbage is so good for you!
  6. hubbies had boiled eggs, my sisters did not
  7. and spring mix lettuce 
So my plan is to have my fridge full of layered salads, portioned veggies with dip, frittata "pizza slices" and fruit salad. I also like to make overnight fridge oatmeal for the mornings we have something planned a little earlier or if we have been sleeping in for a few days and I have a feeling will oversleep the following morning, but I have read they don't last more than a few days so I don't plan to make too many of these, plus I prefer we start our mornings off right with some eggs, it fuels my girls much longer!

Any other thoughts or tips for healthy eating on the quick? I want to make this a habit before June, so that it feels as second nature as brushing your teeth once the 3rd one joins us. How do you make your life easier when it comes to food prep, lunch packing etc?

If you haven't yet tried the layered salad, do it and share your recipes/method! I'll be sure to post more as we test them out, and also share how they taste on day 3, 4, 5.


  1. I JUST read about these somewhere! I'm glad that they worked for you - I may have to try them myself. Did you use the smaller jars, or the largest ones? (I can't remember the sizes... I think the smaller ones are pints?)

    1. Eek, I'm not sure they are taller ones, probably hold 3 cups? I can measure when I get my lazy bum off the couch!


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