I strongly believe that the best way to be kind to both your waistline and your wallet is to pack your lunch during the week. In an effort to get back on track after some indulgent eating, I am making a point to pack my lunches. I am also working to cut out carbs, sugar, and most dairy. It’s paleo…ish. It’s what I think will work for me, and that’s what’s really important.
To kick off this new eating plan, I made 5 protein packed spinach salads in mason jars for the week yesterday. The salads have diced chicken breast, walnuts, mushrooms, spinach, dried cranberries, a touch of blue cheese, and a balsamic lemon mustard dressing. My original plan was to cut out all dairy, but then I realized that just a teaspoon of blue cheese would make this salad much more enjoyable.
Mason jars are the perfect way to store salads. The wet ingredients are layered on the bottom of the jar, and the greens are placed at the top. Mushrooms and chicken separate the dry and wet ingredients, preventing the spinach from wilting. It’s a system that is effective, and it allows you to make multiple salads ahead of time.
Each salad has 415 calories, 20 grams of fat, and 51 grams of protein. Of course, you could adjust the proportions of the ingredients – I wanted to add lots of chicken so that I could stay full throughout the afternoon. Plus, I bought a bag of apples at the grocery store and brought them to work so I won’t be tempted to visit the vending machine for a snack later.
Before I share the recipe, here are some of my favorite salad recipes:
This Ranch Chicken Cobb Salad has a few of my favorite foods: ranch dressing, bacon, and cheese.
If you want a really hearty salad, make this Sirloin Steak Salad.
A Fried Goat Cheese Salad is a healthier spin on the Midwestern favorite of fried cheese.
10 minPrep Time
10 minTotal Time
- 3/4 cup diced cooked Chicken Breast
- 2 teaspoons Walnuts
- 1 teaspoon Blue Cheese
- 2 tablespoons Dried Cranberries
- 1/4 cup Mushrooms
- 1 1/2 cup Spinach
- For the dressing:
- 3 tablespoons Lemon Juice
- 4 tablespoons Dijon Mustard
- 3 tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
- 2 tablespoon Olive Oil
- Start by preparing the dressing. Simple whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl. Then pour 2 tablespoons of the dressing into a mason jar.
- Add the nuts, blue cheese, and dried cranberries on top. Then add a layer of mushrooms. Dice the chicken, and place it on top of the mushrooms.
- Finish by adding spinach on top. When it is time to eat, simply pour the salad into a bowl and toss together.
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