Healthy Habit Hack: Fresh Salad for a Week+

August 22, 2017

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When it comes to making the whole 'vegan' and 'healthy' thing work, meal planning and prepping is a must.  I've mentioned before that I try to prep as much as possible on Sundays so that everything is set for the week, but the question that I get most often is about how I keep things fresh until the end of the week.  How am I eating for lunch on Friday what I prepped on Sunday?  I figured I could start by telling you about how I can make salad on Sunday and keep it fresh all week long.


I always try to get more vegetables in my day.  Pretty much both lunch and dinner I try to have at least some of my salad on the side, so I make a giant batch of it on Sundays so I'm not chopping veggies every day of the week.  Because if I did that, I would never bother.  Who wants to chop veggies at 6 pm after working and commuting all day?  Not this girl.  Plus, in another patented lazy girl move, I like to chop my ingredients in a food processor instead of by hand and this way I only gotta clean it once a week.  Secret?  Mason jars and handheld vacuum seals.

TOOLS

Wide Mouth Mason Jars - wide mouth mason jars are widely available now, you can find them easily at Target or order them on Amazon.  For the cheapest prices though, keep your eyes open at thrift stores.  There's a variety of sizes, mine are 32 oz.
Handheld Vacuum Sealer (I have this one, it's a few more dollars but I love it)
Wide Mouth Jar Sealer

So it is an investment at first, $13 for the vacuum ($21 for the one I have), $9 for the sealer, and then your mason jars, but it's really worth it in terms of time saving and convenience.  And you can store tons in mason jars, I really like having them around regardless.  I honestly think this will save you money in terms of not wasting food.

PROCESS

First up, clean and chop your salad ingredients.  This system will keep lettuce and spinach just fine, believe it or not!  I don't like lettuce, and for everything else I just vary it up by week depending on what I can get good deals on.  Some ingredients I love are spinach, cabbage, red cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, onion, garlic, pepper, it's pretty limitless!  The only thing I won't put in is uncooked broccoli - it doesn't go bad but it really smells.  But cooked is fine.  You can also blanch it, which means boiling it for a few minutes and then moving it immediately to ice water, which works for the other veggies too if you're planning on keeping them for a long time.  I don't bother with blanching.

Once everything is ready, spoon the salad into your jar or jars.  Place the round flat lid on top, and, before putting the ring on, place the jar sealer on top.  Press the handheld sealer over the hole on the top of the white jar seal and press the button.  (I don't own the hose attachment they sell, I don't find it necessary.)  Remove the jar seal and flip the mason jar upside down to make sure, but the stuff should stay secure.  Screw the ring on and place your jars in the fridge.

To open the jars, unscrew the ring and use the edge of a spoon to pop the flat lid off.  Pour out as much as you'd like and if you want to save the rest?  Vacuum seal it right up again!  It's kind of pretty glorious.  And that's it!  Simple, right?  Just be sure to add any salad dressing after your serving is on your plate, and not in the mason jar.

If you're wondering, health-wise - vacuum sealed veggies and fruits last in the fridge for 2 weeks.  If you freeze them?  2 years.  Not even messing with you.  I only keep stuff for a week, but still.  Even if you don't want to prep salads on Sundays like I do, if you've ever thrown out produce because it went bad, I really recommend this system for you.

I plan on doing more 'what I eat in a day' type posts to give you some ideas for vegan meals and saving money, but I thought this would be a good place to start since it's pretty consistently something I make every single week.  Hope it was helpful!  Let me know in the comments if you meal prep and what systems you use for keeping things fresh.


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