Radical Self-Care, Jarred Lunch

When you’re picky about the quality of food you ingest, it’s tough to eat out. When you’re concern for the environment inhibits reliance on single-use disposable containers, it’s nearly impossible to get take-out. Given that nearly every day I’m away from home at lunchtime, I need another option. Bagged lunches got boring a decade ago, and I wanted some variety from my standard green smoothie.

Last year I saw a post on Facebook about layering a salad in a Mason jar. I was intrigued but didn’t pursue it until yesterday. I had an extra long day and needed to pack two meals for the road. And as I was carrying everything on my back, it needed to be simple and efficient. In addition to my smoothie, I made a really hearty salad with organic vegetables and humanely raised smoked turkey breast. I followed the general instructions on this website and was really quite pleased.

jar salad

I had a thirty minute layover at the train station and found myself an area with a breeze and a shaded empty bench. I shook my jar to distribute the dressing and mix things up and dug in. I immediately  had a good laugh because my plastic fork was too short to really reach into the jar and was completely incapable of spearing carrots. I did the best I could turning the jar on its side and scooping, and aside from my technical difficulties, I was really quite pleased. The lettuce was crisp and none of the vegetables had gotten soggy.

If grabbing food on the go isn’t your thing because of cost, dietary needs, or lack of convenient options, jar salads can really be helpful. The ease of transport earns this concept a dozen gold stars. As with any packed lunch, variety is crucial, but that is only limited by the preparer’s imagination. Some pomegranate seeds would have been a nice addition to my recipe. Or pumpkin seeds. Or roasted sweet potato. Or chickpeas. Or …. well you get the idea! Just remember to bring a proper fork.

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