Picking The Right Number And Variety Of Meals
Figuring out how many meals to make and what to include in each meal can sometimes be tricky.
The best way to plan ahead is to first decide on which meals youd like to focus and which meal-prepping method fits your lifestyle.
Then, check your calendar to decide the number of breakfasts, lunches and dinners youll need for the upcoming week.
Also, remember to account for times youre likely to eat out for instance, on dates, at brunch with friends or at client dinners.
When selecting which meals to make, its best to start with a limited number of recipes that you already know. This will ease your transition into meal planning.
That said, its also important to avoid picking only one recipe for the whole week. This lack of variety can lead to boredom and wont provide your body with the nutrients it needs.
Instead, try picking meals that contain different vegetables and protein-rich foods, as well as varied complex carbs such as brown rice, quinoa or sweet potatoes. Integrating a vegetarian or vegan meal into the mix is another way to add variety.
The right number of meals depends on your individual routine and needs. Variety is key to providing your body with the vitamins, minerals and other beneficial compounds it needs.
Few people look forward to spending hours in the kitchen while meal prepping. This is only natural since the key incentive for meal prepping is reduced cooking time.
The following methods will help streamline prep and cook times.
When Ready To Serve
Warm the protein and chop it bite-size, if needed. Add the protein to the pre-made salad greens and vegetables. Add the toppings of your choice, although Fritos are never optional.
Squeeze lime generously over the salad, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Or toss with your favorite salad dressing.
Love these salads? Check out the eBook for How To Eat A Salad Every Day for more fantastic salad recipes, dressings, and tips to simplify your salad making!
With this eBook, if youre grocery shopping, meal planning, or just trying to eat a little bit healthier, youll have this information at your fingertips whenever you need it.
Can You Freeze Salad Toppings
Your standard salad toppings are not freezer-friendly. Frozen lettuce? Sog city. While you can freeze a number of vegetables like peppers or onions, they are best for cooking after thawing, not for using in salads.
However, there are many ingredients that you can use as salad toppings that can be prepped and stored in the freezer until ready to use.
Cook, cool, and package in small portions the following:
- cooked proteins
- cooked chopped egg
- shredded or crumbled cheeses
- frozen peas and corn make great salad toppings, no need to cook them in advance, just thaw and add to your salad
More Meal Prep Recipes You’ll Love
- Blueberry Baked Oatmeal
- Vegan Cauliflower Taco Meat
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Kale Barley Salad With Feta And A Honey
This vegetarian salad is anything but boring. Kale? Barley? We know, we know. The name is a little lackluster. Trust us on this one, though. This dressing is seriously fantastic, and the kale soaks it right up. The barley lends a bit of a softer texture and a nutty flavor to the dish. Its balanced out nicely with the honey-lemon dressing. And cheese. Dont forget the cheese. This vegetarian dish really has it all.
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Meal Prep Spinach Beet And Chicken Power Salads
Chicken breasts are classic diet food. Thats because theyre high in protein yet low in calories.
So if youre trying to lose weight, youre probably eating lots of chicken breasts. But after a while, chicken breasts, broccoli, and brown rice get kind of blah.
Theres definitely nothing blah about this Power Salad. First of all, lets talk about chicken breasts.
Chicken breasts are notorious for being bland. Not these ones theyre bursting with garlic and herby flavors.
But thats not all this Salad is packed with sweet veggies like carrots and beets. This helps offset the bitterness of the baby spinach.
And youre topping your Salad with toasted pumpkin seeds for crunch. And the crowning glory is the apple cider vinegar dressing.
All Ill say is make extra youll thank me later. To make the dressing, youll need shallots, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey, salt, and pepper.
Mix your shallots and olive oil in a blending jar. Then add the rest of your ingredients.
Puree until smooth using an immersion blender. I recommend this immersion blender here.
Its pretty powerful, and it comes with a blending jar and whisk.
What Size Mason Jar For A Salad
I like these ones! These jars are 32 oz for a nice, hefty salad and have a wide mouth. I also love using glass jars instead of plastic for meal prep, so you dont have to worry about plastic chemicals in contact with your food as its sitting. You also want to avoid having lots of extra space in the jar, because extra oxygen can cause food to spoil more quickly.
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Chicken Salad Mason Jar Salads With Creamy No
A protein powerhouse, this chicken salad makes for a delicious lunch. The Mason-jar layers will make your mouth water and keep the ingredients fresh. The walnuts and grapes take this salad to the next level. You wont mind brown bagging it thanks to this elevated and easy meal! If your meal prep plan already has lunch covered for the week, this makes an excellent dinner option.
Variations For Meal Prep Salads
- meatballs or falafel, hummus, tzatziki, feta cheese
- tuna or shrimp, potato, tomatoes, green beans, vinaigrette
- chicken, fruit, nuts, goat cheese crumbles, vinaigrette
- turkey, bacon, avocado, onion, blue cheese, hard cooked egg, ranch
- ham, cheddar, peas, corn, tomatoes, egg, cheddar cubes, ranch
- black beans, tomatoes, sliced jalapeños, avocado, shredded cheese, salsa, sour cream
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Beetroot Avocado Feta Salad
Looking for another quick salad idea? This Beetroot Avocado Feta Salad is a keeper.
It takes just 15 minutes to make and is super tasty. Thats because youre pairing beets with feta.
So you have some sweet and salty action going on. The mixed grains and pumpkin seeds add chewiness and a crunchy, nutty texture.
And the baby salad leaves and basil make this Salad nice and fresh.
Besides being tasty, this Salad is quite nutritious. It is rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.
And it contains a ton of fiber. In fact, it provides more than 1/3 of your daily fiber needs.
So, eat that Salad!
Tips For Meal Prepping Salad Recipes
Salads are probably the easiest meals to prep ahead of time, which makes them perfect for busy weekdays. Heres how I like to meal prep salads:
- Cook your proteins: if youre adding a protein to your salad that needs to be cooked, cook this a day ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator until youre ready to assemble your salad. Learn all of the best ways to cook chicken here!
- Chop your produce: do your fruits & veggies require dicing or chopping? Probably! Chop them all up one day and store them in the refrigerator for easy assembly.
- Make your dressing: whether youre making multiple salads or just one, I recommend making the dressings ahead of time and storing them in the fridge as well.
Once these are complete you can either keep the ingredients separated and quickly assemble multiple salads throughout the week, or add your ingredients together in a jar or meal prep container without the dressing for an even faster option!
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Looking For More Meal Prep Ideas
If you love the combination of quinoa and chickpeas as much as I do, you’ll want to check out these sweet potato quinoa bowls.
- Roasted Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad
- Quinoa Edamame Salad with Peanut Sauce
- Southwest Quinoa Taco Salad
- Hummus Bowls with Roasted Veggies
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Salad Dressings Perfect For Meal Prep
Bring your bowl of leafy-green goodness to life with a flavorful dressing!
If you havent made your own dressings before, youre missing out. The salad dressings from the grocery store are often full of unhealthy fats. When you make your dressing at home, you know exactly what youre getting in every bite.
Give homemade salad dressings a try. Youll be surprised at how easily they come together with ingredients you probably already have on hand.
Making a nice vinaigrette with olive oil means you can avoid a dressing packed with cholesterol, sodium, sugar, or carbohydrates.
Get started with these recipes:
Mix and match your dressings and toppings to create a new flavor every day. The same greens and veggies dont ever get boring when you dress your salad up with these popping flavors!
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The Perfect Healthy Lunch Recipe: Easy Meal Prep Cobb Salad
There is nothing like a flavorful, fresh salad for a quick and hearty lunch. This cobb salad recipe is perfect for meal prep and will give you an easy lunch option that you can grab and go all week long.
Cobb salads are one of my personal favorites because they are hearty and packed with protein. Chicken, bacon, and hard boiled eggs are all full of the protein your body needs to feel great.
Keep reading to learn how to meal prep this easy cobb salad!
How To Build A Mason Jar Salad
The trick to a successful mason jar salad is getting the layering right! You dont want to have wet tomatoes sitting on top of your lettuce or it will be soggy within a few hours. Instead, try this order starting on the bottom:
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Thai Chicken Soba Noodle Salad Jars
Need some more post-workout, macro-friendly meal prep salad ideas? These salad jars are a great option.
All I can say about them are Yum! Youve got chicken accompanied with delicious Thai-inspired ingredients like soba noodles, green onions, and roasted salted peanuts.
The broccoli slaw adds some crunch, while the red peppers add some sweetness. And the satay sauce is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.
Its creamy and has a nice balance of sweetness and umami. The dried ginger adds some heat.
Besides being tasty, these salad jars are packed with protein.
So, theyre awesome for a post-workout meal. With a dish like this, you may want to work out more often.
Mason Jar Salad Ideas
Mediterranean salad in a jar
Layer the following ingredients : chickpeas, feta, chicken, pepperoncini, feta, kalamata olives, sundried tomatoes, chopped romaine. Top with red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, and oregano before shaking and enjoying! Serve with pita bread on the side.
Cobb salad in a jar
Layer the following ingredients: cucumbers, tomatoes, black olives, chopped hard-boiled egg, feta, chopped turkey bacon, chicken, and romaine. Add Ranch dressing before serving.
Buffalo chicken salad
Here is the recipe! Add the chicken and feta first and then top with salad greens and cilantro. Add your dressing before shaking and serving.
Mexican chopped salad
Layer the following ingredients: cooked black beans, cheese, salsa, rice, chicken, bell pepper, cilantro, red onion, and greens. Before serving, add cilantro-lime vinaigrette and chopped tortilla chips.
We love tuna and chicken salad in our house. Heres my go-to tuna salad recipe! Add some to the bottom of the jar, top with celery, olives, and salad greens. Add dressing and chopped avocado before serving. Id have this with a piece of fresh sourdough.
Beet, goat cheese, and basil
Layer the following ingredients: cooked beets, crumbled goat cheese, protein of choice, fresh basil, and salad greens. Top with your favorite balsamic vinaigrette before enjoying.
Curry chickpea salad
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How To Make Chicken For Chicken Salad
Alternatively, you can make this Garlic Butter Baked Chicken Breasts instead. Its up to you.
Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad
If you havent tried a shaved brussels sprouts salad yet, you are missing out!
This salad has all the flavors of fall: apples, dried cranberries, pecans, and more, all nestled in a bed of shredded brussels sprouts.
The whole thing is tossed in a flavorful and creamy lemon mustard dressing, too.
Looking for a crunchy, refreshing salad packed with flavor?
This shrimp and watermelon salad is both sweet and savory, with a delicious sesame ginger dressing.
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How Long Does Chopped Chicken Salad Last
You can keep this chopped chicken salad in the refrigerator for three to four days, which makes it a perfect meal prep solution.
This recipe will make four servings. You can divide the chopped chicken salad into four portions and be prepared for lunch for the next four days.
I recommend always keeping the dressing and the salad separate when you wont be eating it right away. The longer the dressing sites on the lettuce, the more likely it will be soggy when you eat it. To keep all of your ingredients crisp and fresh, wait to put the dressing on until you are ready to eat.
You can also freeze the baked chicken and pull it out whenever you feel like making this salad!
Bbq Chicken Chopped Salad
Salads are good and all. But more often than not, salads involve lots of chopping.
And with all that chopping, requires patience. Not to mention, watching your fingers.
This BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad doesnt require a whole lot of chopping. Thats because youre using a bagged salad for part of the veggies.
So, it takes a lot of the work out of making the salad. And its pretty tasty too.
Thats because you are using a variety of tasty ingredients. Like shredded rotisserie chicken, hard-boiled eggs, crunchy bell peppers, sweet cherry tomatoes, and creamy cheddar cheese.
Now, you will still need to cut up some veggies. But not a whole lot- just cherry tomatoes, half a bell pepper, and an avocado.
To make cutting your avocado easier, and to save your fingers, you can simply use an avocado slicer like this.
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How Do You Meal Prep A Salad
To meal prep a salad its important to use very fresh ingredients. Lettuce, carrots, and other items that are at their end of their prime arent going to last very long and will leave you disappointed.
Make sure to use fresh ingredients. Wash them well in cool water. I like to wash veggies with white vinegar first to kill surface bacteria and then rinse with water. Spin or pat dry.
Having your ingredients very dry is the key to a long-lasting meal prep salad. Moisture will hasten decay.
How Do You Keep Salads Fresh For The Week
Here are our hacks to keep salad fresh all week:
- Choose firm salad greens. Youll need to pass on the baby spinach and use stronger leaves like romaine lettuce or cabbage.
- Hold the dressing. Adding the salad dressing just before eating is the best way to keep your salad fresh and crisp.
- Build it upside down. If you want the dressing in the same container, add the dressing to the bottom of the container before adding the other ingredients. Next add the protein, fruits, and veggies, and then add the greens. When youre ready to eat, give your container a shake or use a fork to toss it all together.
- Flat containers are better than tall containers. The mason jar salad makes a pretty picture on Pinterest, but salads built in mason jars can squish the greens and make a soggier salad. Using a larger, flat storage container will help spread out the veggies and the weight. If you do go for the mason jar, build your salad upside down.
With these simple tricks, you can meal prep salads and keep them fresh.
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