Only a few years ago, mason jars were pretty much strictly for canning. Now, most likely thanks to social media, they’re as trendy as green juice and coconut oil. Sure, they can house wedding centerpieces and tiki torches, but even better: They make portable, portion-control meals a cinch—some don’t even need a second of cooking! Plus, hello food porn! Who knew salads looked even more appetizing stacked?
But don't worry if you don’t feel like you #nailedit on the presentation. Taste buds know that it’s what inside that counts, and these recipes are sure to please.
This beaut calls for grilled peaches to up the sweet ante, though fresh work just as well in a time-crunch. Layered with nutty quinoa, creamy Greek yogurt, crunchy pecans, and soft blueberries and drizzled with maple syrup, it’s a symphony of textures so delicious we’d make it for dessert too.
Mason jar breakfasts aren’t all layered parfaits, oats, and chia seeds. Hearty combinations like this one work just as well, making eggs portable without putting them on an English muffin or bagel. Instead, toss in a jar with bacon, spinach, and cheese, and nuke in the microwave for a speedy, healthy meal.
Turtle chocolate lovers, this one’s for you. If you’re not familiar with the sweet, it’s a delightful combo of chocolate, caramel, and pecans mixed together. This a.m. meal keeps it healthy with medjool dates as a surprisingly perfect stand-in for caramel, plus cocoa powder, unsweetened almond milk, oats, and of course the pecans. Decadent and delish!
That’s right—flapjacks to go! Made with real ingredients rather than prepackaged mix and vegan (or not, if you desire), this version cooks in the microwave and is all the light, fluffy, fruity goodness you expect off the griddle. Plus the jar makes for easy portion control since a stack of pancakes can go down pretty easy.
Gotta love a recipe that doesn’t require cooking. Oats and chia seeds soak up milk, vanilla, and cinnamon overnight to make a thick pudding-like treat. Alternated with Greek yogurt, berries, and peanut butter and topped with granola come morning, this nutritious meal takes just minutes to put together and is perfectly portable. Take that, Mickey D’s.
Who you callin’ half pint? This meal comes in a smaller container but still packs satisfaction from egg’s protein. Asparagus may help ease a hangover, so consider making these before a big night, then warm one up once you finally crawl out of bed.
Can’t go wrong with the classic: fruit, yogurt (try goat yogurt, which has less sugar than yogurt make from cow’s milk), granola (we recommend homemade to control the sugar), and bananas. Mix protein powder into the yogurt for extra flavor, and switch up the other ingredients based on what’s in season and what you want!
Despite the slew of oat recipes out there, morning mason jar options for Paleo eaters do exist. This one takes a hash of sausage, sweet potatoes, onions, and eggs scrambled with coconut milk—a source of appetite-suppressing medium-chain fatty acids—and bakes everything in the jars. Make a few and have breakfast set for the week.
Waking up with chocolate is approved when it’s this healthy and balanced. Yet it’s so creamy and rich thanks to chia seeds, yogurt, and soaked oats, it tastes like a treat. Top with extra bananas, walnuts, and honey, and it’s ready to go.
Zucchini noodles with a Greek yogurt-avocado dressing—what’s not to like? Mixed with red bell pepper (which has more vitamin C than an orange), tomatoes (for lycopene), buttery edamame, crunchy celery, and salty feta and olives, if you’re not drooling yet, there’s something wrong with you!
With fewer calories, less fat, and the same amount of protein as ham, we’re not sure why we didn’t think to put shrimp in a cobb salad before. There’s still the cheese, egg, and bacon in this recipe, plus a variety of vegetables that can be adapted as you like.
The breakfast fave takes a walk on the savory side in this recipe that’s loaded with flavor, texture, and nutrients. We’re talking chickpeas, raisins, cucumbers, olives, tomatoes, walnuts, pistachios, and mint, with a Greek yogurt-based ranch dressing to bring everything together. Warning: This will inspire you to experiment with other fun ways to try savory yogurt!
There’s something about fruit in a salad that gives it an exotic feel, and this version is no exception. With mangos, avocados, black beans, corn, and quinoa, this colorful, fiber-packed salad has a Tex-Mex feel with a little added sweetness. The blogger describes it as “kick ass,” so be sure you put your name on it in the company fridge—you don’t want this stolen!
Rice-shaped orzo is actually pasta. This would make a nice picnic dish that’s lighter than traditional pasta salad yet hearty. The zesty orange-balsamic dressing—made creamy with Greek yogurt—goes beautifully with the grilled chicken and sweet roasted red pepper.
For links to 27 healthy and portable mason jar meals, go to Greatist.com.