On-the-Go Protein: Pack It Into a Mason Jar

There’s no doubt protein is a nutritional superstar. It’s used to build almost everything in the body, including hair, nails, bones, muscles and more. Eating it can help you lose weight, stay energized and feel full. But you have to make sure you’re getting enough. It’s recommended  that most women eat about 46 grams a day while men should take in about 56 grams.

The other important thing to know is that not all protein is created equal. A burger might be loaded with protein, but it definitely wouldn’t be considered healthy. That’s why it’s good to know about better protein sources like quinoa, edamame and lentils. These plant-based proteins aren’t just healthy, they’re also super easy to incorporate into your lunches. And what better way to do so than mixing them with other ingredients in a mason jar?

Here are three salads for your next protein-packed lunch-on-the-go:

Garlic Quinoa Salad
Serves: 4
Recipe inspired by Don’t Waste the Crumbs
¼ cup lemon juice
1 garlic clove
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons honey
⅛ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup flax seeds
6 cups loosely packed kale (torn into bite-size pieces if large)
2 medium carrots, sliced into ribbons with a vegetable peeler
6 tablespoons cooked quinoa (measure it after cooking)
6 tablespoons sunflower seeds
6 tablespoons flax seeds
Orange or grapefruit wedges (optional)
Put all dressing ingredients except flax seeds in a blender and run on low for 20 to 30 seconds, or until the garlic is no longer in large pieces. Add flax seeds slowly and blend until combined. Divide the dressing evenly between four quart-sized mason jars. Divide the remaining ingredients between the jars, layering in the following order: carrots, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, quinoa and kale (citrus goes on top if you’re using it). When you’re ready to eat, shake the jar to distribute dressing throughout.
Nutritional information per serving (yields 4 servings; serving size 2 cups) 290 calories, 20g fat, 2.2g saturated fat, 231mg sodium, 28.7g carbohydrates, 10.8g protein, 5.4g sugar

Thai-Style Chicken Quinoa Salad
Serves: 2
Recipe inspired by Top With Cinnamon
1 cup cilantro, loosely packed
1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
¼ red chili (more if you like things spicy)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons apple juice or pomegranate juice
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon miso paste
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/3 cup dry quinoa, rinsed
1/2 cup cubed rotisserie chicken
1 small carrot, grated
¼ cup pomegranate seeds
3 cups baby spinach leaves
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Add all dressing ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Chill until needed (this recipe makes more dressing than you need, so store the extra in the refrigerator). Place coconut oil onto a baking tray and put into oven to melt. Place the sweet potato cubes on the baking tray and toss to coat in coconut oil. Roast in oven for 30 minutes. Put quinoa in a small pot filled with 2/3 cups water. Let simmer for 10 minutes on low heat, then turn off heat and leave covered for 5 minutes. Assemble salad in two mason jars in the following layers: 3 tablespoons dressing, carrots, quinoa, chicken, sweet potato, pomegranate seeds and spinach. When ready for lunch, shake salad into a bowl.
Nutritional information per serving (yields 2 servings; serving size 2 cups) 427 calories, 18.9g fat, 9.6g saturated fat, 352.7mg sodium, 48.9g carbohydrates, 16.8g protein, 8.5g sugar

Corn and Edamame Salad
Serves: 4
Recipe inspired by SheKnows
2 cups cooked corn
2 cups shelled edamame
1 cup chopped radishes
2 tablespoons chopped green onion
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1/4 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons white miso paste
2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce (optional)
Combine corn, edamame, radishes, green onion and cilantro in a large bowl. In a small bowl, mix canola oil, rice vinegar, white miso paste and chili garlic sauce (if using). Stir dressing into salad mixture and divide between four mason jars. Refrigerate for an hour. When ready for lunch, shake and enjoy.
Nutritional information per serving (yields 4 servings; serving size 1½ cups) 297 calories, 17.1g fat, 1.1g saturated fat, 183.3mg sodium, 25.9g carbohydrates, 12.7g protein, 5.2g sugar

If you’re still confused about all of the different ways to get protein, learn more with these blogs:


Photo credit: Nerissa’s Ring

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