As we continue into 2014, we are always looking to find creative ideas of what we can bring for lunch. As a student who is always on the go, I have to think of meals that will work with my on the schedule, since I am primarily on campus, and that are healthy at the same time. Living in the Bay Area, I can easily get trapped in some café, diner, etc. So I figure while we can spend dollars and dollars on one meal at a restaurant/eatery, I can use that same money to have meals for the week.
One creative meal that I am definitely going to implement into my routine is the “Salad On The Go”. What better way to use a Mason Jar!! Pure Genius I tell ya!!

So here you go…Packing for the Perfect Salad in a Mason Jar (Makes 1 salad)
What You Will Need
Ingredients

-1-4 tablespoons salad dressing (how ever much you desire)-Your choice of mixed raw and cooked vegetables, fresh and dried fruit, nuts, cheese, and other salad ingredients-Salad greens 
-Wide-mouth canning jars (mason jars) with tight-fitting lids: pint jars for side salads, quart jars for individual meal-sized salads, 2-quart jars (or larger) for multiple servings
-Large bowl, to serve
Instructions

Equipment
-Wide-mouth canning jars (mason jars) with tight-fitting lids: pint jars for side salads, quart jars for individual meal-sized salads, 2-quart jars (or larger) for multiple servings
-Large bowl, to serve
Instructions
1. Salad Dressing: Pour 1 to 4 tablespoons of your favorite salad dressing in the bottom of the jar. Adjust the amount of dressing depending on the size of the salad you are making and your personal preference.
2. Hard Vegetables: Next, add any hard chopped vegetables you’re including in your salad, like carrots, cucumbers, red and green peppers, cooked beets, and fennel.
3. Beans, Grains, and Pasta: Next, add any beans, grains, and/or pasta, like chickpeas, black beans, cooked barley, cooked rice, and pasta corkscrews.
4. Cheese and Proteins (optional): If you’ll be eating the salad within the day, add a layer of diced or crumbled cheese and proteins like tunafish, diced (cooked) chicken, hardboiled eggs, or cubed tofu. If you’re making salads ahead to eat throughout the week, wait to add these ingredients until the day you’re planning to eat the salad and add them on top of the jar.
5. Softer Vegetables and Fruits (optional): Next, add any soft vegetables or fruits, like avocados, tomatoes, diced strawberries, or dried apricots. If you’re making salads ahead to eat throughout the week, wait to add these ingredients until the day you’re planning to eat the salad and add them to the top of the jar.
6. Nuts, Seeds, and Lighter Grains: Next, add any nuts or seeds, like almonds, walnuts, and sunflower seeds. If you’re making a salad with lighter, more absorbent grains like quinoa or millet, add them in this layer instead of with the beans.
7. Salad Greens: Last but not least, fill the rest of the jar with salad greens. Use your hands to tear them into bite-sized pieces. It’s fine to pack them into the jar fairly compactly.
The basic idea when packing salads in jars is to start with the heaviest and most non-absorbent ingredients with the dressing on the bottom of the jar and work your way up through the lighter ingredients until you end up with the salad greens themselves. As long as your jar doesn’t accidentally tip over you in your bag, the delicate greens will be well-protected from the dressing until you’re ready to eat.
8. Storing the salad: Screw the lid on the jar and refrigerate for up to 5 days. If you’re including any cheese, proteins, or soft fruits and vegetables, add these to the top of the jar the morning you plan to eat your salad.
9. Tossing and eating the salad: When ready to eat, unscrew the lid and shake the salad into the bowl. The action of shaking the salad into the bowl is usually enough to mix the salad with the dressing. If not, toss gently with a fork until coated.
Everything stays separate and dressing-free until you toss the salad together in the bowl — never eat another soggy lunch salad. When you’re ready to eat your salad, just unscrew the cap and shake it into a bowl. Everything gets pretty compacted in the jar, so some vigorous shaking may be needed! This shaking also helps to toss the salad ingredients with the dressing. Once the salad is in the bowl, you can toss it some more with your fork to make sure everything is evenly coated.
With the lid sealed tightly, these salads can last for several days in the fridge — up to 5 days or so. If you’re making salads with soft ingredients or perishable proteins, like avocados, tomatoes, hardboiled eggs, or cooked chicken breast, wait to add those ingredients until the day that you plan to eat the salad. Also, if you have a vacuum-sealer attachment for your canning jars, vacuum-sealing the salads right after assembling them will keep your greens and veggies even crisper and fresher. 
Thus, these salads can last for days in the fridge so we can make a week’s worth of lunches ahead of time.
Happy Eating!!
~Grace “Zimi” Gipson