The Jar Salad vs The Lunchbox
Call me unfashionable, but when it comes to packing a healthy full meal salad for a Paleo meal on the go, I prefer filling a lunchbox as opposed to a jar. Jar Salads look good, sure, but – let’s face it – they’re best when tipped upside down into a big bowl so that the dressing which was on the bottom dribbles all over the contents. It’s only by doing this that you really get to toss the salad. Sure, you can turn the jar itself upside down and shake it a bit, and dig down deep, but it’s just not the same as mixing it all up. Another down side of tipping it the lot into a big bowl is that you then have to wash the bowl, as well as the jar. Which is fine for situations where you’ve a kitchen with washing-up facilities and perhaps a space to store your bowl, but when you’re on holiday, out hiking, or on a day-trip, you want life’s necessities to be much more compact and efficient.
Hence the beauty of a lunch box.
How To Avoid A Soggy Salad
The problem, they say, with a lunch box, is that the salad leaves will go soggy because they’ll be in contact with the dressing, but the solutions to this are simple:
- A Small Jar. Place your salad dressing in a well sealed small jar. Give it a good shake and pour it onto your salad when you’re ready.
- Italian Style. Rather than fixating on a fancy dressing, do as the Italians do and use just oil and vinegar. Drizzle a little of each over the salad just before popping the lid on. When you’re ready to eat, you’ll find they’ve nicely trickled through.
- Think Lemon. Rather than vinegar, pack a couple of lemon wedges onto the top of your salad, and give a squeeze at the last minute. Fresh, and without the sulfites!
- Pesto. Rather than – or as well as – oil and acid, dollop a large spoonful of pesto onto your salad. Thicker than a salad dressing, it won’t leak all over the place, and it’ll pack a punch of flavour.
Wrap Your Fork, Serviette and Lunchbox with a Japanese Wrapping Technique
With a lunchbox, it’s easy to carry your serviette and fork. I once learnt a Japanese wrapping technique which is excellent for a packed lunch. Cloth is used instead of paper. A very large square serviette works best, but I usually do it with a tea towel. The cloth holds everything together nicely. Once unwrapped, the cloth becomes your placemat, and something you can use for wiping your hands. Once you’ve finished eating, wrap your lunchbox up again and the cloth will prevent oil drops from spoiling your bag.
Here’s how it’s done.
- Lie the tea towel out as a horizontal rectangle.
- Place the lunchbox in the centre. If it’s a rectangle lunchbox, place it along the diagonal line.
- Place a serviette and a fork onto the lid of your lunchbox.
- Fold in the two opposing diagonal corners, forming two loose tails.
- Fold in the two tails and tie them.
Use a frozen water bottle to keep the salad chilled.
Simple, ingenious, and a perfect way to pack your healthy lunch on the go.
Some ideas for a packed lunch:
What Went Into My Lunchbox – check out this to see how I typically pack a full complete meal into a box.
Basil, Mint and Lemon Pesto – a lovely alternative to a salad dressing
Rosemary, Fennel and Garlic Beef Burgers – any size, any time, and full of flavour
Better than Waldorf – a main meal salad which is crisp, fresh and complete.
Hope you find this idea useful – it’s one I use all the time.
How do you pack your lunchbox – both to keep it fresh, and to keep things tidy in your bag or backpack? Let me know in the comments!
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