Wellbody Blog

At Professor Wellbody's Academy of Health & Wellness, we understand there's only one thing harder than making healthy behavior changes: Sticking to them! We all need a little help from our friends, and that's the purpose of the Wellbody Blog, a friendly online gathering spot--a community well--where you can dip into health news; wellness tips; recipes; latest research about nutrition, exercise, sleep and hygiene; plus, real stories from virtual neighbors who are also trying to change their lives for the better. Start from wherever you are; share ideas, information, inspiration. At Pacific Science Center, we believe each of us can do something everyday to improve our health and well-being.

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Wellbody Tip: Life-changing Lunchable Mason Jar Salads

If you brown bag, this is for you.

masonjarsaladAt Wellbody Blog, we, too, eat al desko, so we understand what it’s like to want to pack a healthy lunch, but not have enough time, or leak-proof containers, or lids that fit.

That’s why we love mason jar salads. Pack five days worth of salads into wide-mouth, quart-size mason jars, stash the jars in the refrigerator and pop one into your reusable lunch bag every morning as you head out the door. You’ll save time, stress, money, the environment and your health. Does it get better than this?

The secret is to pour the dressing into the bottom of the jar. Then add layers of hearty ingredients and top with feathery greens and an air-tight screw-on lid. Separating the greens from the liquids will help prevent the salad from getting soggy. (Remember – to save time a la Henry Ford, you’ll assembly-line a week’s worth of lunch salads on Sunday night or Monday morning. Friday’s lunch will stay crisp suspended in your cryo-chamber a.k.a frig for five days—but only if the delicate greens aren’t coated with dressing.)

At lunchtime, shake the jar to distribute the dressing and then tumble the gorgeous, fresh, healthy veggies onto a plate and toss. Or eat by the forkful straight out of the jar.

For detailed step-by-step illustrated instructions on making a mason jar salad, read this cooking lesson on thekitchn.com.  Here are more mason jar lunch tips from Erica at Northwest Edible Life. Erica is an accomplished urban homesteader and former professional chef -- a local goddess of all things healthy, delicious and economical.  

For recipes, search “mason jar salad” on Pinterest. Or toss together your own creative concoctions—how ‘bout chickpeas, persimmon slices, pomegranate seeds, arugula and nasturtium flowers?

Tip: If you don’t want to futz around with two-piece canning lids, one-piece plastic lids cost about $1 each. You can find wide-mouth quart-size mason jars for $1 to $2 each. 

Health notes: Why eat salad for lunch instead of microwavable corn dogs or a satisfying slice of warm, greasy pizza?

Poor diet is the top risk factor for disease and death in this country—even beating out smoking. One in three adults and 17 percent of children and teens are clinically obese and at risk for diabetes, cancer and heart disease. Even if you’re thin, poor diet puts you at risk for major and minor heath problems.

A diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help prevent and calm the type of inflammation that triggers serious, and sometimes fatal, chronic diseases. Yet only 1 in 20 Americans younger than 50 eat the recommended amount of vegetables, according to federal health and agriculture studies.

Maybe that’s because it seems so much easier and cheaper to buy fast-food fried chicken at lunch than to pay for an expensive, uninspiring wilted salad. And it’s feels easier to slap together a processed sliced meat and cheese sandwich than to prep veggies every morning, let alone find an appropriate container to carry them. 

Try the mason jar salad experiment. Let us know how it works out for you.  Share recipes and tips by commenting below or emailing professorwellbody@pacsci.org.

 

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Guest Friday, 31 October 2014