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The fuss-free work lunch secret I wish I'd tried sooner

Friday 16 January, 2015 by Laura

Sometimes it seems like such an effort to eat a healthy meal.

Take work lunches for example – you need to have all the groceries in the fridge, either get up super early or get organised before you go to bed to make it, then find a spot in the fridge at work to store it, crossing your fingers that a colleague won't swipe it by accident.

Isn't it so much easier to grab something from a café nearby? Sure, it might be a toasted sandwich that's overloaded with cheese, or a salad packed with vegetables that are so oil-soaked that you're not even sure they count as vegies anymore, but at least you didn't have to waste time making it yourself, right?

Oh how my attitude has changed. I've gone from the sad-sanga girl with lunch envy, to the ever-so-organised (and, yes, just a little bit smug) master of work lunches.

My secret? The humble glass jar.

It's not an original idea, I'll admit, and perhaps I'm very, very late in getting on this bandwagon, but if you're spending enough on work lunches each year to cover a trip to the Maldives, then believe me, it's time to embrace the jar.

I'm currently working through a rotating roster of summer salad recipes. I make five servings on Sunday afternoons and store each jar in the fridge to grab on my way out the door each morning. In the past few weeks my favourites have included delicious spicy soba noodle salads with crunchy veggies, chicken, pumpkin and spinach salads, corn chips and guacamole and snack-size peach crumble!

Salads in jars

Here's a few tips to help you make a jar your new lunch buddy:

  • Do follow the layering rule for salads
    Soggy salads be gone! Start by pouring your dressing in the bottom of the jar and then add (in this order) hard vegetables; beans, barley or pasta; meat, eggs, tofu or cheese; softer vegetables, such as tomatoes or avocado; nuts, seeds or light grains, such as quinoa; and lastly your leafy greens. When lunch rolls around, simply tip the jar into a bowl, toss and enjoy!
  • Don't limit yourself
    Having more time to plan and prepare your meals means they can be truly tasty. Stick some carrot and celery sticks in hommus, soak oats and fruit overnight in yoghurt for brekkie-on-the-go, or even bake a pot pie that you can easily heat up at the office.
  • Do recycle
    Any jar will do the job, as long as you can seal it tightly. Wash out any used jars you have lying around. Big jars are great for mains, but little jars are best for snack-sized treats.
  • Don't forget the rest of the family
    The morning school rush will be less stressful if you've already got lunch sorted. Lunch-in-a-jar is a quick way to knock out several servings in one hit. Plus it's a fun way to get kids excited about healthy food – salads are fun to pack and are colourful too!

Why not give jars a try for preparing your lunch for work this week?

Find loads of tasty recipes you can jar at Live Lighter.

Salad in bowl

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