Mason jar meals are easy, portable and on-trend. And since we "eat" with our eyes first, Mason jars are a gorgeous way to show off all the textures, colors and layers of food before you even take a bite. This nutritious collection of mason jar recipes, which you can put in a calorie tracker to journal your daily intake, includes balanced breakfasts to kickstart your day, colorful lunch options that will keep you energized, and restaurant-style dinners that are crowd-pleasers. Whether you use a Mason jar to store your meal, transport it on the go, or as a vessel to shake it up, these 13 recipes will inspire you.
1. Almond Milk and Honey Porridge
If you need a change of pace for breakfast, this porridge is it: It's sweet, satisfying and easy to prepare. Quinoa is one of just a few grains to qualify as a complete protein, meaning it contains all of the nine essential amino acids, or "building blocks," of protein. Our bodies can't produce these amino acids on its own, so quinoa is an especially smart choice for vegetarians. It also contains vitamin E, B vitamins, magnesium, calcium, potassium and fiber. A pinch of nutmeg, pure vanilla and honey pairs well with quinoa's naturally nutty flavor. Almond butter adds richness and omega-3 fatty acids, which can help prevent heart disease and stroke. You can make this porridge at night and store in Mason jars. Then simply reheat with a spoonful or two of almond milk right in the jar the next morning. CALORIES: 215
2. Chicken Curry Salad With Greens
This chicken salad is creamy, flavorful and packed with protein and healthy add-ins like carrots, raisins and almonds. While most chicken salads use high-fat mayonnaise as a base, this salad uses a creamy combination of mayonnaise and low-fat, plain Greek yogurt to reduce fat and calories. For a dairy-free version, try replacing the yogurt with unsweetened coconut yogurt. Curry powder gets its rich yellow color from turmeric, which has long been used for treating a variety of ailments. Turmeric contains the antioxidant curcumin, which may reduce inflammation and digestive challenges and even help prevent the growth of cancer. Roasting chicken with the skin on and bone in (remove before serving) locks in flavor and moistness. Roast a week's worth of chicken ahead of time so you can it all week long. After layering the chicken salad and greens in the Mason jar, just shake and eat! CALORIES: 266
3. Hearty Chicken, Vegetable and White Bean Soup
This delish dish is a cross between a light stew and a flavorful soup and perfect for a Mason jar. It's full of protein from lean roasted chicken, carbohydrates from white beans, carrots, spinach and tomatoes and good-for-you fat from extra-virgin olive oil. The combination of protein, carbohydrates and fat will help to keep your blood sugar stable and prevent an after-lunch energy crash. Try roasting your chicken with the breastbone in and skin on -- that will make the chicken more flavorful and tender. To save time, chop your vegetables while the chicken is roasting in the oven. And if you're really pressed for time, skip the roasting and buy a rotisserie chicken. This recipe makes a big batch, so you'll have plenty on hand for quick grab-and-go meals all week long. CALORIES: 294
4. Fruit Soup With Toasted Nuts
Looking for a lean and easy breakfast recipe? This fruit soup is loaded with creamy, protein-rich Greek yogurt, colorful, fiber-rich berries and topped with crunchy nuts. While a medley of berries like strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries will give you a variety of vitamins and antioxidants, you can also customize the fruit soup by choosing your favorite berries. This version is topped with pistachios, which are high in the unsaturated "good fats" and can be found already shelled in the bulk section of your local market. The delicious combination of protein, carbs and fat will help you to burn fat, boost your metabolism and feel energized all day long. Just pour into a Mason jar and serve with a spoon! CALORIES: 277
5. Creamy Chicken, Apple and Cashew Salad
Did you know that a lunch balanced in protein, carbohydrates and fat can help you ward off an afternoon energy slump and sugar cravings? This salad has an ideal balance of lean, muscle-building protein, all-natural carbohydrates and fat to keep you focused and help you to power through your busy day. Try making roasted chicken in bulk for the week for portable, protein-packed meals like this one. Chopped green apples and dried cranberries add bite, sweetness and fiber, while peppery arugula delivers vitamins A, C and K and fiber. A handful of cashews adds iron and manganese, which helps to support a healthy metabolism. CALORIES: 319
6. Steak Burrito “Minus the Tortilla” Jar
Traditional burritos include a large flour tortilla stuffed with nutritionally void white rice, a high-calorie meat and a ton of sour cream and cheese. In fact, most burritos have upwards of 1,200 calories and 60 or more grams of fat! Skipping the tortilla and serving it in a Mason jar saves 300 calories or more. Using a lean flat-iron steak adds protein, and swapping out white rice for brown rice boosts the fiber content. A salsa made of vitamin C- and potassium-rich tomatoes, garlic and fresh cilantro adds tons of powerful flavor with very few calories. Romaine lettuce is high in potassium, vitamin C and fiber and adds color and crunch. Customize it by adding healthy toppings like cheddar cheese, Greek yogurt instead of sour cream, cilantro and chopped avocado. Marinate the steak the night before for ease of prep the next day. CALORIES: 403
7. Overnight Apple Pie Protein Oats
Overnight oats are very trendy right now, mainly because they are easy to make, nutritious and absolutely delicious! This version has an added boost of protein powder to give you the fuel to power through your day. Sauteed apples add fiber and flavor reminiscent of apple pie. Chia seeds help to thicken the overnight oats and boost the calcium, fiber and protein content. CALORIES: 355
8. Turkey Basil Meatballs
Typically, meatballs and sauce means too much fat and calories. Include a plate of pasta and the carbohydrates start to add up too. By swapping regular ground beef with 93-percent-lean ground turkey you save 10 grams of fat per serving. Sweet basil, garlic, Worcestershire sauce and a touch of all-natural tomato paste add flavor and moisture to these delectable meatballs. Look for a tomato sauce with real tomatoes (not tomato paste) as the first ingredient. And skip nutritionally void white pasta for whole-wheat pasta, "zoodles" (zucchini noodles), roasted vegetables or even brown rice to boost the fiber content. Eating it from a jar helps control the portion size. CALORIES: 222
9. Upside-Down Cereal and Protein Milk
Busy morning? Don't sweat it! This recipe is loaded with metabolism-boosting protein and healthy carbohydrates to fuel your busy morning and get you through your day. The "milk" is made of creamy Greek yogurt (which has 20 grams of protein per cup), a shot of vanilla-flavored whey protein powder and calcium-rich almond milk. A breakfast high in protein helps to kick-start your metabolism and prevents sugar cravings later in the day. This recipe used Nature's Path Gluten-Free Sunrise Crunchy Vanilla Cereal. You can substitute your favorite cereal -- just aim for at least three grams of fiber per serving. CALORIES: 316
10. Portabella Mushroom, Spinach and Caramelized Onion Omelet
No matter the time of day, eggs are an easy and impressive source of protein. One egg has roughly seven grams of protein as well as disease-fighting lutein, which may help prevent macular degeneration of the eyes, and choline, which aids in healthy brain development and memory. To reduce the fat while increasing the protein, simply enjoy one or two egg whites for every whole egg. Adding a handful of fresh, sauteed vegetables boosts the vitamin and fiber content and flavor. To go dairy-free, simply skip the cheese. Portable and versatile, they also pair well with your favorite toast or fresh fruit for breakfast, a salad for lunch on the go or dinner. CALORIES: 138
11. Shepherd’s Pie in a Jar
What do you get when you layer lean, deliciously seasoned beef with sauteed vegetables like leeks and carrots and top it with a cloud of creamy pureed parsnips and parmesan cheese? Shepherd's Pie in a jar! This is comfort food done light and made portable for easy eating. Lean ground beef adds muscle-building protein. Leeks, carrots, peas and sweet corn boost the fiber and add all-natural, healthy carbohydrates. Swapping fat-laden mashed potatoes for pureed parsnips saves calories and helps to increase your vitamins A, C and K intake along with potassium and folate. CALORIES: 420
12. Shrimp and Vegetable Salad With Coconut Peanut Sauce
Layering colorful, antioxidant-rich vegetables and lean protein in a jar is an exciting and nutritious way to enjoy a salad. This salad is not only full of vitamins and fiber, it also has an ideal balance of protein, carbohydrates and fat to help your body naturally release stored fat and boost your metabolism. Shrimp is a source of lean protein and helps to balance the natural carbohydrates in the dish. A creamy, all natural sauce made of heart-healthy peanut butter, coconut milk, garlic and a touch of soy sauce and honey ties all of the ingredients together. CALORIES: 365
13. Acai Banana Berry Smoothie
When you're busy it's all too easy to skip meals. The challenge is that when you forget to eat, your blood sugar levels drop, slowing your metabolism and leaving you hungry, irritable and likely to overeat at your next meal. A balanced and nutrient-packed smoothie in a Mason jar is portable and takes only minutes to make, shake and drink! Acai powder is made from the acai berry, also known as the "beauty berry." It has the highest concentration of antioxidants compared with other fruits. Acai powder, which you can find at your local health-food store, is a convenient way to enjoy the powerful benefits. CALORIES: 288
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