Meal Prep with Mason Jars

Meal prepping with mason jars helps save time, money, and food waste.

It seems like a daunting task, but meal prepping for one person can be intimidating, but for an entire family of six can be overwhelming.  Not only did I decide to meal prep for my whole family, but I wanted to do it sustainably.

Sustainable Meal Prep

I’ve always tried to live sustainably, but for our family, we have had to ease into the process. From changing our skincare, household cleaners, and now I am trying to be a “Less Waste” family, which I don’t think that’s a term but my goal is to be a “Zero Waste” family.  I probably should run this by my family, but like most things, my influence will help guide my family to different choices. 

Mason Jar Meal Prep helps to reduce waste.

Reducing our plastic and waste is much more challenging than I expected. Just when I think I am doing good, I see a bright plastic container, and I purchase it.  But for the most part, our kitchen is glass and stainless steel. I  try to buy pollution-free plastic and BPA free plastic, but sometimes I shop on impulse and realize my mistake afterward.  So, I would not say I am a Zero Waste Blogger, but I aspire to be, and meal prepping without plastic is one way I feel I can make an impact.  

Meal prepping with Mason Jars Investment

Mason Jars seemed like an inexpensive, simple way to meal prep for a family of six.  The initial prep took some thought, but very quickly, I think I have created a straightforward system to have meals prepared for everyone.  I figured even if my crazy idea isn’t sustainable my investment in Mason Jars will be they are great for storage, we use them as drinking glasses and last until you break. Whether I continue this meal prep, which so far I have or not, the investment wouldn’t go to waste. 

Meal prepping with mason jars has many benefits:

    1. Sustainable
      Using glass containers unless we break will have for years to come.  There is nothing to throw away.
    2. Less Food Waste
      With pre-portioned food that is custom to each family member, we are throwing away very little food these days—getting the most out of our groceries.
    3.  Make better food choices.
      We live by convenience.  The more natural something is better and once you figure out your system. Meal prepping with mason jars becomes super easy, almost methodical. It also has excellent fresh options available on hand, which makes it easy for my family.  Most of my family members loved the meal prep with mason jars, except for one.  They loved the convenience and appreciated having the option to customize their meals while having healthy food choices. Most of our food choices were because we weren’t getting the nutrients we needed, so we ate mindlessly.  When you have healthy choices at your convenience, its easier to make a better decision. It also creates ownership of how your family members nourish their bodies.  They get options to choose from, but they are all excellent options. It’s quite empowering for my six years old to make her lunch.Check out my Instagram Highlights. I share several meals Mimi “made by herself,” she felt like a big girl and gave this mom so reprieve from meal assembling which has been a part-time job since the pandemic. I swear these kids eat all day. Now they have jars to grab and go.
    4. Budget-friendly
      There is an initial investment of Mason jars, but Mason Jars are inexpensive storage compared to plastic disposable.  Once you purchase your jars, you pretty much have them for life.  Your grocery budget will also decrease, which may allow you to buy more organic options over conventional.

Meal Prepping with mason jars can help maximize your budget.

Some ways I suggest to make the most of your food budget:

  • I recommend buying in bulk in both protein and produce.
  • Consider frozen organic vegetables over fresh. I always recommend fresh vegetables, but sometimes frozen are more affordable.  For your salad jars, FRESH IS BEST; nothing is worse than a soggy salad.  I also sometimes buy fresh produce and freeze it myself, which is another idea. Meal Prep in Mason jars will save you time and money and afford you to have organic options for your family.

Ways to successfully Meal Prep with Mason Jars

  1. Start small.
    I started prepping for three days. I made three options for every meal; breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
  2. Make food your family will always eat and keep it simple.
    I gave my family three options for meal jars: Rice & Broccoli, Pasta & Mixed Vegetable, Salad Jars.  I substituted my pasta and mixed vegetables for cauliflower rice and mixed vegetables. Gluten-free pasta doesn’t hold up as nice the second day, so I was concerned and made the switch.
  3. Make all your food first.
    The initial meal prep took me three hours because I had to make all the protein, chop all the vegetables, make the rice, and pasta.  I made enough for an entire week but only prepped for three days because that is all the space I had for our jars. My second meal prep of the week took forty-five minutes. All I had to do was measure and pour down the line each item like an assembly line. I felt like a rockstar!
  4. Better convenient food options.
    I think our problem is that we want food quickly. Prepping, planning and preparing is too much work, so we go out to eat, the order in, pop it in the microwave.  The three-hour time investment has saved me so much time throughout my week.
    Some days I make dinner, but on the days when I don’t want to, there is no guilt.  I have perfect portioned meals ready for my family to eat at will.  We only sit together for one meal throughout the day is “free for all.” Meal prepping with mason jars has made better food options available to my children.

Meal Prep with Mason Jars Menu and Recipes

I tried to keep my menu simple but with variety.

Breakfast

No Sugar Protein Mug Cakes: Chocolate Chip, Blueberry, and Strawberry 

Super Simple to make these mug cakes.

 

Lunch or Dinner

Salad Jars

Base:

  • Kale, Spinach, Lettuce Mix or Spring Mix or Romaine
  • Shredded Carrots
  • Cucumbers (in Jar Divider)
  • Sliced Rainbow Peppers

Salad Toppings Ideas:

  • Roasted Sunflower Seeds
  • Sliced Roasted Almonds
  • Cranberries & Glazed Pecans
  • Tortilla Strips
  • Dates, Apples and Pecan Blend
  • Bacon Bites

Sauces Ideas:

  • Tomato Sauce
  • Chimichurri
  • Pesto
  • Teriyaki
  • Orange Ginger Sauce
  • Garlic Parmesan
  • Cilantro Lime

Others considerations for Meal Prepping with Mason Jars

  1. Sterilize and Sanitize-  If you have a dishwasher that gets hot enough to sterilize, that is probably the easiest way. If not, making sure after you clean your jars that you boil and sanitize them is essential to avoid growing bacteria in your Mason Jar Prep Jars.
  2. Airtight- Make sure that you properly seal the jars by removing as much air as possible. This helps keep the food fresh.
  3. Refrigerator space- This was my problem because we have a small standard refrigerator. Make sure you have enough room for all the jars you prepare.

 

Meal Prepping with Mason Jars is a lifestyle change.

The Mason Jar Meal Prep has been great for my family to get on track. Make better decisions and give me comfort in knowing they are conveniently eating healthy without the additives of processed food.  

Our pallet has changed as well, and eating out does not have the same appeal as it once did.  This little experiment seems to be an excellent solution for my family.  I will continue the Meal prep with mason jars four days a week.  That way, we can fit them all. I plan on making family meals, but if I am too tired, my family can have a nourishing meal ready for them. It’s a great solution. 

I share the entire experience on my INSTAGRAM Story Highlight! Check out how we ate for a week with the Mason Jar Meal Prep.

Have you ever tried to meal prep with mason jars before? Or meal prep for the family?

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