So, I had to give it quite a lot of thought about what would be my first post:… cake? smoothie? granola? something else sweet? but I decided to go for something healthy, but not weird-healthy (more of that to come!).
The last couple of weeks I have started making salad in a jar to take to work. Why? As I will often tell Ben: “For one reason, and one reason only…because I can”. I was in fact asked by a colleague why I was bringing my lunch in a jar rather than a lunchbox, and I couldn’t really give a satisfactory reason, but here are a few reasons why you might:
- it’s easy to prepare the night before (or even make 5 on Sunday night for a week of lunches)
- it looks appetising
- – and you can get a rainbow of colours (healthy eating 101)
- There is something satisfying about tipping it onto a plate, rather than eating from a lunch box
- I like to think I am avoiding the BPAs in plastic containers
- Saves on space
- Why not…???
Kathy at Healthy. Happy. Life. makes these recommendations:
Layering Salad Jars:
1) BOTTOM – dressing/liquid
2) Heavy ingredients that hold up well when submerged in dressing – beans, cucumbers, radishes, onion..
3) Heavy items that you may not want directly touching the dressing when stored.
4) Leafy greens/light ingredients that take up a lot of space – spinach, kale, chard, arugula..
5) A small amount of heavy accent items – nuts, seeds, dried fruit, croutons, accent spices
6) TOP – colorful ingredients to perk up your taste buds when you pop open the jar – fruit, edible flowers, herbs
So, the image above is my first attempt at a salad in a jar. I didn’t weigh or measure anything, just took what was in the fridge and ‘ran with it’.
* cucumber (seeds removed) with green olives and chopped dill
* romaine lettuce
* chopped radishes with sunflower seeds and freshly ground black pepper
* soya beans
Once I tipped it out I sprinkled over some crushed Fudge’s Spelt crackers (they weren’t meant to be crushed but there was an accident on my journey to work)
So, I started with some cucumber. I removed the seeds to prevent it from going ‘mushy’, then added a giant green olive chopped up, and snipped some dill – dill and cucumber are great together, and the dill adds a freshness when it’s tipped out (the bottom ends up on the top). I piled on some romaine lettuce – romaine is great See these nutritional tips from Incredible smoothies:
Here are some surprising nutrition facts about this wonderful smoothie (and salad) green:
1 – Protein. Believe it or not, romaine lettuce is 17% protein with 7.7 grams per head. It is also a complete protein! That means that it has all 8 essential amino acids, 9% RDA of some and up to 26% RDA of others.
2 – Calcium. One head of romaine has 206mg of calcium (about 21% RDA). Blend it with calcium rich fruits like papaya and oranges and you’ll get more calcium than a glass of milk!
3 – Omega-3s. One head of romaine lettuce contains 44% RDA of Omega-3 essential fats. Forget the tainted fish oils, reach for some leafy greens instead!
4 – More Vitamin C Than An Orange. One head of romaine contains 167% RDA of vitamin C while an average sized orange contains only 92%.
5 – Iron. One head of romaine contains 6mg of iron, which ads a significant source of iron to the diets of vegetarians and vegans.
6 – Romaine Lettuce is Rich in B-vitamins: Thiamine (B1) – 38% RDA, Riboflavin (B2) – 32% RDA, Niacin (B3) – 12% RDA, Pantothenic Acid (B5) – 18%, Pyridoxine (B6) – 36 %, Folate (B9) – 213%!
7 – Water. One head of romaine provides 16% of your daily water needs with about 20 ounces of water per head!
8 – Rich Source of vitamin A (as beta-carotene) and K. As with most leafy greens, romaine is super rich in beta-carotene with 1817% RDA per head and has 535% RDA of vitamin K.
9 – Low Levels of Oxalic Acid. If you have problems with calcium oxalate kidney stones, romaine lettuce might be a good choice for leafy greens since it is very low in this anti-nutrient.
10 – Mineral-Rich. Don’t let the lighter color of romaine lettuce fool you. This not-so-dark leafy green is rich in minerals. One head contains copper (33% RDA), magnesium (22% RDA), manganese (42% RDA), phosphorus (27% RDA), potassium (33%), selenium (5% RDA) and zinc (13% RDA).
WOW! I added some chopped up radish for colour and sprinkled with sunflower seeds, then weighed it all down with some soya (edamame) beans from the freezer. Ben bought me these after I insisted I didn’t need to put anything else in the freezer, and I’m glad he did – they are lovely and so handy to just take a handful out of the freezer for a snack, or to add to lunch.
It was yummy, so much so that I have made about four more salads in a week – I’ve gone for different ingredients depending on what I have.
WELL DONE if you stayed with me until the end!