Five Mason Jar Meals for Quick Lunches and Breakfasts

By Angela Tague in Healthy Feeling

Every weekend, I make a list of recipes I want to tackle. This allows me to pick from fresh, healthy options that are ready to grab when I need an easy breakfast, portable lunch, or quick dinner. One approach is mason jar meals. Simply layer the ingredients in a glass mason jar, refrigerate, and you have an instant meal waiting to be enjoyed within the next two to three days.

Mason jar recipe

I prefer using glass containers since they can be washed and reused multiple times. Disposable plastic bowls and baggies clog the landfill and add to my weekly shopping budget. No thanks. Plus, glass doesn’t contain toxic chemicals that contaminate the food it’s storing—making it safer for you and your family, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Here are five single-serving recipes you can use for mason jar lunches or breakfasts (or even a late-night snack):

Overnight Blueberry Cobbler Oats

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup dry quick oats
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup milk, regular or non-dairy
  • 1/2 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1 Tbsp. almonds, sliced

Measure the oats into the mason jar. Mix the cinnamon into the milk and then pour the concoction over the oats. Top the mixture with the blueberries. The berries will partially sink into the moistened oats—it’s normal, don’t worry. Sprinkle the almonds on top, seal with a lid, and let the oats soak overnight (or for at least two hours) in the refrigerator. Enjoy!

Apple Cinnamon Crunch Oats

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup dry quick oats
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 apple, diced
  • 1 cup milk, regular or non-dairy
  • 2 Tbsp. raisins
  • 1 Tbsp. pecans, chopped

Similar to your blueberry cobbler, start by placing the oats into the bottom of the mason jar. Mix the cinnamon and apples into the milk, then add them to your jar to combine with the oats. To finish, sprinkle the raisins and pecans on top. Seal the jar and let this mix soak for at least two hours in the refrigerator before eating.

Zesty Italian Pasta Salad

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup cooked pasta, cooled
  • 1 Tbsp. black olives, sliced
  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 chopped mixed veggies (such as bell peppers, onions, or artichoke hearts)
  • 1/2 cup lunch meat cubes (such as ham or turkey)
  • 2 Tbsp. zesty Italian salad dressing, creamy or oil-based

When making pasta for dinner, boil extra noodles to have on hand for this recipe. You can refrigerate that extra macaroni so it’s already cooled when you make this salad. Grab those leftover noodles and place the pasta, olives, tomatoes, vegetables, and meat in the mason jar. I like to use up leftover vegetables from previous meals or excess from my garden. Drizzle the dressing over the ingredients. Place the lid on the jar, and give the pasta salad a gentle shake or two to blend. Let the salad marinate in the refrigerator for at least an hour before eating.

Rainbow Layered Salad

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 Tbsp. salad dressing
  • 1 cup leafy greens (such as baby spinach, romaine, or red leaf lettuce)
  • 1/4 cup grape tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup carrots, shredded
  • 1/4 cup yellow sweet bell peppers, diced
  • 1/4 cup purple onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup canned chickpeas, drained
  • 1 Tbsp. roasted sunflower seeds

Pour the salad dressing into the bottom of the jar. Layer in the greens, followed by the rest of the vegetables and chickpeas. Top with the sunflower seeds, and you’re ready to seal the jar. Refrigerate the salad, and when you’re ready to eat it, give it a gentle shake first to spread the salad dressing more evenly.

Sweet Asian Quinoa Salad

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa, cooled
  • 2 Tbsp. teriyaki or sweet and sour sauce
  • 1/2 cup edamame
  • 1/4 cup carrots, shredded
  • 1/4 cup cabbage, shredded
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced

To start, scoop the quinoa into the empty jar. Then drizzle the sauce over the quinoa and add the vegetables. Keep in mind you can save time by using 1/2 cup of bagged coleslaw mix (sans dressing) for the cabbage and carrots. Give the salad a quick mix with a spoon, place the lid on, and refrigerate.

Do you make mason jar meals? They’re such a great way to use up leftovers and create fast, healthy meal options. What are your favorite ingredients to layer? Tell us on Twitter!

Image source: Flickr | Pixabay

This article was brought to you by Tom’s of Maine. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of Tom’s of Maine.

Why It’s Good

Taking a little time to prep several mason jar meals at once ensures you have something healthy to eat when you run short on time. This versatile food prep method can easily be customized for work snacks, kid's lunches, or on-the-go breakfasts. Using glass jars is better for the environment and your family's health, too.