The Ultimate Packed Lunch: Healthy Salad Jars

The Ultimate Packed Lunch: Healthy Salad Jars

  • Healthy Eating

  • Recipes

  • By Andréanne Martin, Bachelor's degree in nutrition

    It’s time to start gearing up for back to school season! Whether you’re a student, teacher, parent or just looking to master the art of prepping meals, look no further than the ultimate packable lunch: the salad jar.

    Salad jars are a portable, eco-friendly and healthy lunchtime option. You can easily get protein, complex carbohydrates and wholesome sources of fat in a single dish. The beauty of salad jars is that they can be made in advance. Simply build 5 jars (or more, depending on your family) at the beginning of the week to grab and go when you’re rushing out the door.

    With our busy schedules, packed social calendars and hectic weekends, it’s extremely easy to revert to lunchtime takeout when hunger strikes. Salad jars, filled with greens, whole grains, beans and other wholesome ingredients, take less than 30 minutes to assemble, and will give you the healthy fuel you need throughout the week. Not only are packed lunches, like this recipe here, healthier than takeout, they’re wildly more affordable. Bringing a lunch every day will save you up to $50 per week – that certainly adds up over the school year!

    With summer and early fall produce overflowing at markets right now, it’s easy to get inspired and get our salad jar game on point before the school bell rings.

    In this starter salad jar, Bio-K+ probiotics, coupled with lean protein and nutrient-dense vegetables, combine to keep our bodies healthy and our energy levels sky-high. Bio-K+ probiotics improve the health of your intestinal flora, thus reinforcing your natural defences. And, as back to school (or work) means heading into cold and flu season, it’s important for kids and adults alike to maintain a strong immune system. Luckily, eating healthfully, which doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive, is the best defense.

    This salad jar recipe starts out with a base layer of dressing, followed by grains, hearty vegetables, protein and greens. Grains actually benefit from being in contact with dressing. Here, the deconstructed burrito’s brown rice soaks in the flavour from the zippy Bio-K+ dressing, making for a tasty lunch that will keep you satisfied.

    For the healthiest, tastiest and most affordable lunches, head to the grocery store, prepare your salad components and build a week’s worth of edible art lunches. They are as fun to eat as they are to make, and they’re sure to get the conversation started at lunchtime. If you’re still basking in the dog days of summer, these salads are the perfect portable picnic option as they keep well for several hours when transported in a cooler.


    How To Make A Salad Jar: Foolproof Formula

     Get creative with the layers, using your favourite protein, in season produce, grains and flavours. Pick a cuisine, such as Greek, Mexican or Japanese, and use it to inspire your dish. When it comes to preparing your salad masterpiece, the sky is the limit!

    You can eat your salad directly out of the jar if the opening is wide enough. The other (easier) option is to bring a bowl to work or school and eat your salad out of it.


    Per (500 mL to 1 L) Salad Jar: 

    Layer 1: Dressing (2 to 4 tablespoons)

    Layer 2: Grains (⅓ to ½ cup)

    Layer 4: Sturdy Vegetables (1 cup)

    Layer 3: Protein (2 to 4 ounces; about ½ cup)

    Layer 5: Delicate Vegetables (1/2 cup to 1 cup)



    Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burrito Salad Jars with Bio-K+ Lime Dressing

    Serves 4




    1 bottle Bio-K+ Original

    ¼ cup vegan or regular mayonnaise

    1 teaspoon lime zest

    2 tablespoons lime juice



    2 cups cooked brown rice

    ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

    2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

    1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

    1 teaspoon ground cumin

    ¼ teaspoon chipotle chili powder

    ½ teaspoon salt

    Sturdy Vegetables

    2 cups roasted, diced sweet potatoes

    2 cups cabbage (roasted, shredded, cooked or raw)


    2 cups cooked black beans

    Delicate Vegetables

    2 cups shredded raw Swiss chard or baby spinach



    Dressing: In a small bowl, whisk Bio-K+, mayonnaise, lime zest and lime juice together until combined.

    Grains: In a large bowl, mix rice, cilantro, vinegar, oil, cumin, chili powder and salt.

    To assemble salad jars, take four 500ml or 1L Mason jars of 500ml or 1L. In each jar, pour 2 tablespoons of dressing, then top with ½ cup grain mixture, ½ cup to 1 cup sturdy vegetables, ½ cup beans and ½ cup Swiss chard. Seal and refrigerate until ready to serve. Enjoy directly out of the jar or pop in a bowl and dig in!

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    Andréanne Martin Bachelor's degree in nutrition
    About the author
    Andréanne Martin is a dietitian and nutritionist who drives projects that enable her to promote healthy lifestyles in order to help as many people as possible to feel better.
    View all articles by Andréanne Martin
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