I created this over the weekend to assist me in my ongoing weight-loss journey. It’s no ordinary crisper drawer, and there are no moldy, fuzzy, wimpy and limpy veggies in here. In fact, because I’ve vacuum sealed the lettuce in those jars, I can fill up this drawer with enough salad fixin’s to last an entire week and not have to worry!
I got this idea when doing some canning research at home one night. I was looking for “meals in jars.” I was actually looking for recipes like beef stew and chicken soup that could be pre-canned and ready to eat. How convenient to just grab a jar off the shelf and have a ready-made lunch that didn’t require refrigeration?
Well, I happened upon a site called Salad in a Jar and was immediately intrigued. The author’s main point on her site is that you can eat a big salad for lunch every day and not feel guilty about having a dessert also. Well, my goals are different, but I like the main thought of having a salad for lunch most days.
Here’s how you, too, can create a Salad Drawer.
Clean out a crisper drawer. You probably have veggies in there, anyway. Just go ahead and get them ready to be cut up for salads.
Cut up your lettuce. I used iceberg and Romaine, but I suppose you could use any kind you wanted. Note: the author of Salad in a Jar indicated that the more delicate lettuces don’t hold up as long.
Fill your jars with lettuce. I pack might pretty tightly.
Then, you need to vacuum seal them. Just storing the lettuce in a jar won’t prevent browning and wilting. They must be vacuum sealed. I bought a FoodSaver with a jar attachment just for this purpose. (You know I love buying kitchen gadgets! I will use this for other things as well.)
Do enough for an entire week, if you want. The lettuce doesn’t start to show age for at least 7 days, if it was fresh to begin with.
Decide on what you want to use for your salads. As you know from my posts about being a Salad Artist, I like to get creative and use different meats, cheese, beans, dressings, nuts, etc., on my salads.
Put everything in pre-portioned containers so that you know exactly what you are eating. Portion control matters! A serving of salad dressing is usually 2 tablespoons, not ½ cup. Nuts and other topping are usually by the tablespoon, too. Don’t take a chance on making your healthy lunch unhealthy by not paying close attention to portions and just piling on the toppings. Trust me – once you get used to lesser portions, you won’t miss all that extra fat and calories.
Put it all in the drawer and mix & match each day.
This week I have lettuce, carrots, mandarin oranges, tuna, All Bran (for crunch), raisins, dried cherries and pre-portioned dressings. Next week, I’ll probably put beans, cheese, chicken and nuts in there.
Be creative! Be healthy! Eat Salad!
Update: I made my salad and it was so pretty that I had to take a picture. Someone then asked me to compare the cost of what I brought to a typical fast food meal. After some quick math, I determined that today’s salad cost me $3.71. An average meal at McDonalds is over $5.00. So, if any of you have people who argue that they can’t eat healthfully on a budget, please share my post with them.