Healthy Recipes

15 Healthy Make-Ahead Meals That Will Solve Your Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner Woes

15 Healthy Make-Ahead Meals That Will Solve Your Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner Woes
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15 Healthy Make-Ahead Meals That Will Solve Your Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner Woes

Ah the power of convenience and preparation.

The chief reason people have a hard time eating healthy is because they get to a place where they are hungry, and too tired to make something healthy.

One of my friends mom’s always used to say, “in general the shorter amount of time something takes to prepare the higher chance it will be unhealthy.”

Of course there are exceptions to this rule, but I think she was on to something.

Have you noticed how mason jars have become like the container for healthy things.  I could throw some jelly beans and whipped cream in one and you might have thought it was healthy.

The following recipes are in fact healthy, but also happen to be in mason jars.

If you plan on making some of these, do it ahead of time for when you’re too tired to cook something healthy.

These are the “I have no willpower left jars.” or “Don’t make me think about what I’m eating today jars”.

Feel free to write that on the bottles.  Lets get started:

No Cook Overnight Refrigerated Oatmeal Surprise

 

Oatmeal is a solid go to staple of any diet, and there are so many different ways you can use it.  Your morning coffee might get replaced with this after trying so beware.

Combining Greek yogurt and nuts allows you to get a nice boost of protein early in the morning.  We recommend trying the 30 before 30 challenge.

This means you try and get 30 grams of protein within 30 minutes of waking up.  One easy way to do this as well is with smoothies.

I would suggest mixing some of your favorite protein powder with this recipe to get up to the 30 grams.

Ingredients

  • old fashioned rolled oats (avoid instant, quick, or steel-cut)
  • Greek yogurt
  • milk (I use almond)
  • flax seeds

Instructions

  1. Add oats, milk, yogurt, and flax seeds to mason jar.
  2. Leave enough room so you can shake to combine, if packed to tight it makes it harder.
  3. Add one of the following combinations:

Blueberry and Honey

Apple Cinnamon

Banana and Dark Chocolate

Almond Papaya

Store in the fridge to let it combine.

Sweet Blackberry and Grilled Peach Red Quinoa Parfaits

 

I’m one of those people who have a hard time eating in the morning, at least that’s what I say.

I found out what the two keys were to getting something in my stomach in the morning:

1. You have to force yourself to eat in the morning for at least 21 days, or step 2 doesn’t work

2. This is the key, you have to try multiple meals or recipes and you’ll find something you can actually tolerate (or like) to eat.

The reason this recipe works in the quinoa.  I’ve found when I pair things normally thought of as savory foods with breakfast style ingredients I have an easier time eating.

Ingredients

• 2 peaches, halved and pitted
• 1 cup cooked and cooled red quinoa (follow package instructions)
• 1 cup blackberries (or mixed berries)
• Two containers or roughly 1 cup Greek yogurt (plain or otherwise)
• 4 teaspoons raw honey
• 4 teaspoons slivered almonds

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Place the peaches cut-side up in a baking dish.
  3. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, until the flesh has softened.
  4. Remove the peels, if desired, and chop the peaches into about 1/2 inch pieces.
  5. For the layers I like to add the 2 tbsp. of quinoa in the bottom, then 2 tbsp. blackberries, an 8th of the peachers, 2 tbsp yogurt, half tsp. raw honey and half tsp. slivered almonds.
  6. repeat the layers until almost full, then garnish with extra fruit or almonds.

Paleo Egg Breakfast in a Jar

 

Eggs pack a huge nutritional punch, which is why we have 2 different egg recipes in here.

Yes the parfaits and yogurt recipes look amazing, especially when you’re looking at eating eggs with broccoli.

I have never had so much energy and consistency as I have when I can eat eggs and vegetables in the morning.

Try working one of the two egg meals 2-3 times per week into your diet and you’ll see what I mean.

Ingredients

  • 4 or 8 large eggs
  • 3/4 lb button mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 4 slices of bacon, cut into chunks
  • 2 greens onions, finely chopped
  • 1 handful steamed broccoli
  • 1 tbsp. chives, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. almond flour
  • ½ cup of chicken stock
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. clarified butter or ghee
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. In a skillet placed over a medium-high heat, add the bacon and the cooking fat and cook for about 7 to 10 minutes, until brown.
  2. Add the mushrooms and the green onions to the bacon and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Add the almond flour and combine everything together, then add the chicken stock and lemon juice. Bring to a boil and cook until a nice texture is obtained.
  4. Prepare 4 glass jars and rub some cooking fat on the bottom and inside edges. Pour some of the bacon and mushroom mixture evenly in each jar and break one or two eggs on top. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
  5. Place the 4 jars into a big cooking pot, making sure they are stable and add water until it reaches the middle of your jars. Bring to a medium-high heat and cook 15 to 20 min or until the eggs are cooked the way you like them.
  6. Once the cooking is done, remove the glass jars from the pot using a jar lifter, being careful not to burn yourself on the very hot jars. Set aside until cool enough to handle, sprinkle some chives on top and serve.

Great Granola Breakfast (yup, in a mason jar)

 

We all love granola don’t we?  Probably because it’s turned into a sugar filled chocolate dipped bar in the stores.

If you’re going to do this right you have to make some home made granola.  If you’ve never tried, the recipe I included below might get you hooked.

This is another one of the fruit and yogurt ones, which can add variance to your morning, but we suggest these only every once and a while.

Ingredients

  • Mixed frozen berries (I get the antioxidant blend from Costco)
  • greek yogurt
  • granola (see below for my favorite)
  • banana
  • sprouted seeds (chia, broccoli, etc)

Instructions:

  1. Layer bottom with dark berries. I used about 1/3 cup organic frozen* raspberries
  2. Spoon greek yogurt. 1/4-1/2 cup
  3. Add your favorite granola, 1/4-1/2 cup. I like this one
  4. Half chopped banana (the more ripe it is the more sugars it will have developed.)
  5. Sprinkle 1 tbsp sprouted seeds

Optional: I like to mix some of my protein powder into the yogurt, up to you.

Mason Jar Baked Eggs for Breakfast (high protein)

 

This has to be my all time favorite breakfast.

If you don’t like asparagus replace it with a green vegetable you like (sorry white potatoes doesn’t work here).

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp. avocado oil
  • 1/2 large onion
  • 1 bundle of asparagus
  • 10 eggs, beaten
  • 3/4 cup grated cheese (I often use this opportunity to finish off any odds and ends)
  • salt and pepper.

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 380 degrees.
  2. Slice onion to desired size. Cut base of asparagus off then cut remainder into 2-3 pieces.
  3. Heat oil in a large skillet and add onions. Cook until browned. Add asparagus and cook for about 5 minutes, we want these to still have some crispiness (is that a word). Season to taste with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper.
  4. Lightly grease jars with avocado oil. Place a portion of the vegetables in each jar. The majority of the jar should have vegetables.
  5. Beat eggs and divide evenly between the mason jars. Add 1 tbsp. of cheese on top of each jar and stir gently to mix.
  6. Place the jars on a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes (middle rack). Thy should be done when the tops are brown.
  7. Pop a lid and store or eat.

 

Delicious Chickpea and Pearl Barley Mason Jar Salad

 

Some people are new to pearl barley and can feel a little intimidated by it at first.
 
I felt about barley how I did about brown rice 5 years ago, it was like “what is this rice, that’s brown?”
 
Give it a try, super easy to make and very hearty.
 
I like to put the barley in a separate container for this one then throw the goods on top when I’m ready to eat.
 
Ingredients
  • 1¼ cup Pearl Barley
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium clove garlic (minced is my pick)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
Classic Greek dressing
  • 1 cup avocado
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, (I like mine minced)
  • 1 tablespoon dried or fresh oregano
  • 2 tsp. Dijon/grainy mustard
  • 1½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. raw honey
Chickpea and celery salad
  • 2 cans chickpeas (or 3 cups cooked chickpeas), drained and rinsed well
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • ⅔ cup chopped red onion (if red is too strong you can go yellow)
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • ⅓ cup Greek dressing or avocado oil and lemon juice
Greens and garnishes
  • Mixed greens, roughly chopped if you have time (1-2 handfuls per salad)
  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds
  • Handful dried raisins
  • Olives, pitted and thinly sliced (optional)
  • Ricotta cheese (optional)
Instructions
  1. Bring 1 cup barley and 2 1/2 cups water or broth to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer; cook, covered, until tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, 40 to 50 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes. Makes 3-3 1/2 cups.
  2. Dressing: Combine all ingredients in blender or blender bottle and mix until emulsified.
  3. Chickpea and celery salad: In a large bowl, combine the chickpeas, chopped celery, red onion and parsley. Stir in enough dressing to lightly coat the salad. Toss and set aside.
  4. Toast the pumpkin or sunflower seeds in a skillet over medium-low heat, Make sure you keep them moving, then set aside.
  5. Now to the assembly line. In a quart-sized mason jar (32 ounce), layer the chickpea salad at the bottom along with an additional tablespoon or two of dressing (enough to lightly coat the salad when you turn the jar upside down). Top with cooled pearl barley, then greens (leave some space at the top). Finish with a sprinkle of ricotta and olives.

Upgraded Vegan Cobb Salad in a Jar

 

Like most salads you can decided how healthy it is based on the dressing.

This recipe has a lot of vegetables that will help reduce inflammation in your body, along with the apple cider vinegar.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup diced grape tomato
  • 1/4 cup diced naval orange
  • 1 cup diced avocado
  • Lime wedges (for avocado freshness)
  • 1 cup White Miso-Marinated Tofu
  • 1/2 cup Diced Tempeh Bacon
  • 1-2 handfuls mixed greens
Easy Apple Cider Vinegar dressing
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup avocado oil
  • 3 tbsp. minced shallots
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. raw honey
Instructions
  1. This is a Cobb salad so you want to add a little bit of everything all mixed together so you get a perfect bite each time.  Only use the dressing when you’re ready to eat or it will get soft and soggy.

Zucchini Pasta Salad with Kale and Avocado Dressing

 

The replacement of zucchini for traditional pasta is an incredible health hack.
 
This dressing includes avocado which contains some amazing fats, that actually promote fat loss.  We’ve talked about how this works in the past.
 
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 1/2 cup edamame beans
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped orange bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes
  • baked chicken, chopped
  • Optional:
  • 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 tbsp. olives
Avocado Kale Dressing
  • 1/2 cup baby kale
  • 1/2 avocado
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp. avocado oil
  • 2 tbsp. Greek yogurt, plain
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Spiral or shred or thinly slice zucchini. Set aside.
  2. In a blender mix dressing ingredients until smooth.
  3. Pour 1/2 the dressing into the bottom of 2 mason jars.
  4. Add celery on top of dressing.
  5. Add peppers on top of celery then top with edamame or chicken.
  6. Sprinkle feta cheese then add tomatoes and olives.
  7. Last place 1/2 the spiraled zucchini into each mason jar.
  8. Cover and refrigerate. Last up to 5 days.
  9. Once ready to eat, shake that jar and add dressing.  Consume.

Refreshing Yam, Apple and Wild Rice Salad in a Jar

 

Yams or sweet potatoes are a staple in my diet because of their versatility.

You can use them in both savory and sweet dishes and get all the benefits from these nutrient rich bombs and fight your fat.

Ingredients

  • 1 large yam, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 tbsp. avocado oil
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Wild rice (take your pick), cooked and cooled
  • Chopped fresh apple (I like Honey Crisp)
  • Raw honey yogurt dressing (recipe below)
  • Toasted almonds
  • Diced red onion
  • Shaved or cubed aged white cheddar
 Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450, toss cubes (lightly) with avocado oil, spread out evenly on a baking sheet.
  2. Sprinkle salt & pepper
  3. Roast (flipping once) for 20-30 minutes (depending on how think you cut them), until golden and slightly crispy on the outside, and creamy-tender on the inside. Watch to make sure you don’t burn them. Cool.
  4. Toss together cool roasted yams, cool wild rice, pear, arugula, and a spoonful of dressing.
  5. Top with almonds, red onion, and white cheddar. Serve with fresh ground pepper.
  6. To assemble in jars, add a scoop of dressing, followed by rice, yam, arugula, cheese, and apple.
  7. Add nuts and onions when ready to eat.
  8. Refrigerate up to 5 days
 
Honey Yogurt Dressing
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 3 tbsp.  raw honey
  • Juice from 1 large lemon
  • 1 tbsp. finely chopped chives
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
Use a blender bottle and shake until well mixed. (no I don’t work for a blender bottle company :))

Taste the Rainbow Mason Jar Salad

 

 Have you heard you’re supposed to eat the rainbow?
 
This certainly looks colorful but it brings with it a ton of vitamins and nutrients most people don’t get in a entire week.
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup dry red quinoa
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 tbsp. avocado
  • ¼ cup crumbled ricotta
  • 1 cup mini grape tomatoes
  • 1 orange pepper
  • 3-4 radishes
  • 1 cup yellow chickpeas
  • 1 cup shelled edamame
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 4 cups purple kale
Instructions
  1. Cook ½ cup dry red quinoa per package instructions and cool. Toss the quinoa with the juice of one lime, a tablespoon of avocado oil, and crumbled ricotta. Set aside.
  2. Prep your salad ingredients by slicing the grape tomatoes, chopping the orange pepper and radishes, measuring out chickpeas and edamame, and chopping your celery.
  3. Assemble 4 mason jar salads with equal parts of the quinoa mixture on the bottom, followed by sliced grape tomatoes, diced orange pepper, diced radish, ¼ cup chickpeas, ¼ cup edamame, ¼ cup celery, and 1 cup of spinach.
  4. Will stay refrigerated for up to 4 days.

 

Finger Licking BBQ Pulled Pork Mason Jar Dinner

 

We had to throw this one in here because it tastes amazing.  Oh and it’s probably the healthiest BBQ you’ll have.

Ingredients

  • 2 cans baked beans
  • 1 recipe of quick and easy cole slaw
  • 1 recipe Finger Licking BBQ Pulled Pork
  • jar of dill pickles
  • Layer beans, slaw, bbq pork and then top with a pickle garnish.

Quick and Easy Cole Slaw Recipe

  • 1 bag shredded coleslaw mix
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (I like Bragg’s)
  • 1/4 cup avocado oil
  • 2 T mayonnaise
  • 1 T raw honey
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. celery seed
  1. I use a blender bottle to mix dressing
  2. Mix into coleslaw

Finger Licking BBQ Pulled Pork

  • 4 lb. pork shoulder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • large can tomato sauce
  • 12 oz. bottle chili sauce
  • 1 chopped sweet vidalia onion
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 2 T raw honey
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 T Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  1. Place pork in a crock pot.  Add enough water to cover.  Depending on your crock pot around 6 hour cook time.
  2. In the final hour, stir the tomato sauce and next 10 ingredients in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  3. Pull the pork and mix with sauce.

Asian Inspired Noodle Salad in a Mason Jar

 

I wish I could have gone on and on with these recipes because there are so many more I could include, especially Asian inspired.

You can certainly add or substitute many of the vegetables that you prefer.

Ingredients

For the Salad:

  • 4 ounces soba noodles
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup shelled edamame, cooked
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and shredded
  • 4 green onions, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 cup crunchy rice noodles

For the Spicy Hot Peanut Dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 4 teaspoons sambal oelek
  • 4 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup avocado oil
  • 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds

Instructions

  1. In large pot of boiling water, cook noodles according to package instructions. Rinse under cold water and drain.
  2. Meanwhile, make Spicy Peanut Dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together peanut butter, sambal oelek, rice vinegar and soy sauce. While whisking, slowly drizzle in oil until all oil is incorporated. Stir in sesame seeds.
  3. Divide Spicy Peanut Dressing equally among 4 pint-sized mason jars. Divide soba noodles over dressing. Layer remaining ingredients, ending with rice noodles. Top with lids and refrigerate up to 5 days. To serve, pour onto plate or bowl, stir and enjoy.

Shrimp Lovers Dinner in a Jar

 

I am a shrimp lover so this one made the cut.  You can again replace the shrimp with protein of your choice.
Try tilapia, cod, or another white fish.
 
Ingredients
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped white onion
  • ¼ cup finely chopped cilantro or parsley
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons chopped fresh jalapeno
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided
  • 1 pound peeled cooked shrimp, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 2 firm-ripe avocados
  • 2 cups shredded lettuce (I used iceberg)
  • ½ cup coarsely crumbled tortilla chips
 
Instructions
  1. Stir together tomatoes, onion, parsley, chile, ketchup, 1 tablespoon lime juice, and ½ teaspoon salt.Stir in shrimp and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Mash avocados with remaining 1 to 2 tablespoons lime juice and ½ teaspoon salt.
  3. Divide lettuce among jars and layer shrimp mixture, avocado, and crumbled chips on top.

Mason Jar Vegetarian Soup. Beans, Beans and More Beans.

 

Beans are another solid staple in any diet, as they provide a ton of power per square inch.

If you’re looking to feel full for a long time this will be a go to recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound pinto beans
  • 1 pound split green peas (or lentils)
  • 1 pound great northern beans
  • 1 pound black beans
  • 1 pound kidney beans
  • 1 tbsp. black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp. ground dry mustard
  • 2 tbsp. dehydrated onions
  • 2 tbsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 2 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried rosemary
  • 8 bay leaves
  • 4 vegetable bouillon cubes

Instructions

  1. In each of the four Mason jars, layer 2/3 cup of pinto beans—shaking the jar gently to level the beans. Then repeat with 2/3 cup of green peas and so on ending with the kidney beans. Set jars aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine all remaining spices except bay leaves and bouillon cubes.
  3. On a 10″ x 10″ piece of parchment paper, spoon 3 tablespoons of the spice mixture in the middle. Place two bay leaves and one bouillon cube on top. Fold parchment around spices to make a small spice packet. Seal with tape or stickers. Repeat three more times to create four total packets. Squish the packets into the top space of each of the four bean jars. You can also package the spices into plastic zip-top baggies if you prefer.
  4. Place lids on jars, cover in fabric and ribbon and label as desired.

Grilled Beet, Grapefruit and Quinoa Salad

 

Beets have an incredible cleansing effect in the body.
 
I’ve found several great ways to prepare beats along with juicing them to bring incredible energy to my life.
 
Ingredients
 
Quinoa Salad
  1. 3 cups quinoa, cooked
  2. 2  grilled beets, diced
  3. 2 grapefruit, segmented
  4. 1 1/2 tbsp. sunflower, toasted
  5. Balsamic Vinaigrette
  6. Kosher salt, to taste
  7. Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
Balsamic-Honey Vinaigrette
  1. 1/2 cup Balsamic Vinegar
  2. 1/8 tsp. Mustard, Dijon
  3. 2 ea. Garlic, cloves
  4. 3/4 cup Oil, grapeseed
  5. 3 tbsp. Water, room temperature
  6. 3/4 tsp. raw honey
  7. Kosher salt, to taste
  8. Fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

Salad
  1. In a large bowl combine quinoa, beets, and sunflower seeds.
  2. Don’t over dress the salad (you can always add more) and season to taste.
Vinaigrette
  1. Place vinegar, garlic clove, and mustard in a blender until smooth.
  2. If you blender has an opening in the top pour the oil in slowly to thicken. (I will use a blender bottle if I don’t have a blender handy)
  3. After all of the oil has been added, pour in 3 tbsp. of water, and raw honey.
  4. Season to taste and devour!

Sushi in a Jar (My favorite)

 

Ingredients

3/4 cup cooked short grain brown rice
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon raw honey
1-2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 sheet nori, cut into 1″ X 1/4″ pieces
1/4 cup shredded carrot
1/4 cup cucumber matchsticks
1/2 an avocado, diced
lime juice
pickled ginger, to taste
wasabi paste, to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat vinegar and raw honey in a sauce pan for about a minute then pour over brown rice to make “sushi rice”.
  2. Next layer the ingredients in the order you prefer.

Whew we made it to the end together.  Please let me know which ones you liked the best, and if you want more ideas on something specific.

Article originally published on RootsandSprouts.com republished with permission

Image Source: 

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