Mason Jar Meal Prep: Convenient and Creative Lunches

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In today's fast-paced world, meal prepping has become a game-changer for busy individuals (especially parents) seeking healthy and convenient options. One of the trendiest and most versatile tools for meal prep is the iconic mason jar. Mason jars not only keep your meals fresh but also are visually appealing-who wants to eat an ugly lunch? 😉 Let’s explore the art of mason jar meal prep and discover delicious recipes to make your work lunches top-notch! At the end of the blog post, scroll for the ingredients and steps to create 10 hearty mason jar lunches!

Why Choose Mason Jars for Meal Prep?

Mason jars offer several benefits that make them ideal for meal prepping:

1. Portion Control. Ball Mason jars for example come in various sizes, 16oz, 32oz, etc. allowing you to portion out meals perfectly and avoid overeating.

2. Convenience. They are portable and stackable, making them easy to store in the fridge or pack for on-the-go meals. 

3. Versatility. I love the Mason jar trend over the last decade, and it is here to stay! Mason jars can be used for salads, soups, overnight oats, smoothies, and more, accommodating a wide range of meal options. 

4. Eco-Friendly. Reusable glass jars are a sustainable alternative to single-use plastic containers.

5. Easy to clean. Have you ever brought leftover spaghetti to work in plastic storage then to have to keep looking at the red-orange stain left behind? Glass does not stain, and it is so easy to clean.

Mason Jar Meal Prep Ideas 

1. Mason Jar Salads

Layer your favorite salad ingredients in a mason jar, starting with dressing at the bottom and topping with greens to keep ingredients crisp. Shake and enjoy!

2. Overnight Oats

Combine rolled oats, milk (or yogurt), and toppings like fruits, nuts, or seeds in a mason jar. Refrigerate overnight for a quick and nutritious breakfast. For drinkable overnight oats (like Oats Overnight) pulse oats in a blender and add pea protein, maple syrup, cinnamon, and peanut butter powder. There are lots of different flavor combinations you can try. 

3. Soup in a Jar

Prepare hearty soups or stews and portion them into mason jars. Reheat for a comforting meal at work. 

4. Smoothie Jars

Pre-pack smoothie ingredients (frozen fruits, greens, protein powder) in mason jars. Add liquid, blend, and enjoy a fresh smoothie anytime.

5. Grain Bowls

 Layer cooked grains (quinoa, rice), proteins (chicken, beef), and veggies (roasted butternut squash, bell peppers) in mason jars. Heat and serve for a balanced meal.

Cashew Chicken (left) Chicken BBQ (right)
Roasted Bell Pepper Salad (left) Mediterranean Salad (right)
Thai Salad (left) Greek Salad (right)
Kale Blueberry Salad (left) Antipasto Salad (right)
Hamburger salad (left) Mediterranean Quinoa Salad (right)

Mason Jar Meal Prep Tips

Use Wide-Mouth Jars

Wide-mouth mason jars are easier to fill, especially for salads and grain bowls. We like using wide-mouth jars because it makes eating with a fork or spoon easy, and there is no “shoulder” to try and maneuver food from. 

Use Leak-Proof Mason Jar Lids

I have a slight obsession with Ball mason jars, so I add them to my collection now and then. Just look at how cute the honey bee mason jars are! Every time I buy mason jars, I always make sure to get leak-proof mason jar lids. These lids are dishwasher-safe and freezer-safe. I also like that they don’t rust! These lids keep the contents of the meal from leaking into your lunch box. 

Strategize Layers  

Start with dressings or sauces at the bottom, followed by hearty ingredients like grains or proteins, and finish with delicate greens or toppings to prevent sogginess. If I am including cheese as a topping for the salad, like feta for example, I store it separately in mini stainless steel containers.

Prep in Batches

Dedicate a day to batch-prepping mason jar meals for the week ahead. This saves time and ensures you have grab-and-go options ready. I meal prep on Sundays, because mason jar meals are typically good for 4 days in the fridge. On Monday, I only need to make one meal for the 5th work day.

Mix Up the Salad

Use a collapsible bowl if you want more of a tossed salad. My husband mentioned salads can be difficult to eat from the jar because the layers are harder to evenly mix, compared to a grain bowl. I found this collapsible bowl that fits perfectly in his YETI lunch box, and it is microwave-safe and dishwasher-safe. 

Get Creative with Mason Jars

Beyond meal prep, mason jars can be used for storing homemade sauces, organizing pantry staples, and even serving desserts like layered parfaits or individual pies. The possibilities are endless! Check out my blog post on how I use them to store breastmilk

Embrace the simplicity and efficiency of Mason jar meal prep to streamline your weekly routine and savor nutritious meals with ease. Whether you're a seasoned meal prepper or just starting out, mason jars are a delightful addition to your kitchen arsenal. Share your favorite mason jar meal prep ideas and recipes in the comments below. Let's inspire each other to make mealtime both practical and delightful!

10 Mason Jar Meal Ingredients List

The great thing about these Mason jar meals is that many ingredients are shared across multiple recipes, making grocery shopping and meal prepping much simpler!

  1. Cashew Chicken 



Cooked Chicken thigh

Sauteed Onion

Sauteed Bell Pepper

Asian Sauce (sesame seeds, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, garlic, sesame oil, brown sugar)

Cooked Quinoa

  1. Chicken BBQ 


BBQ sauce

Chicken breast



Cheddar cheese 

Diced onions 

  1. Hamburger salad 


Thousand Island sauce

Burger meat

Grilled onion

Diced pickles

Diced tomatoes

Iceberg lettuce 

  1. Roasted Bell Pepper Salad 


Romaine lettuce 

Roasted red bell peppers

Cherry tomatoes
Balsamic Vinaigrette  

  1. Simple Mediterranean Salad

Romaine lettuce

Kalamata olives

Cherry tomatoes 

Pickled red onions

  1. Thai Salad 



Shredded Purple cabbage

Shredded carrots

Diced cucumbers



Thai peanut sauce (peanut butter, minced ginger, maple syrup, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sesame seeds, crushed red pepper flakes)

  1. Greek Salad



Tzatziki sauce 

Shredded purple cabbage


Cherry tomatoes

Kalamata olives

Marinated artichokes

Pickled red onion

  1. Kale Blueberry Salad 




Poppy seed dressing (poppy seeds, Greek Yogurt, apple cider vinegar, honey)

  1. Antipasto Salad 


Cherry tomatoes

Green olives

Kalamata olives

Pickled red onion

Marinated artichokes

Roasted red bell peppers



Balsamic vinaigrette

  1. Mediterranean Quinoa Salad


Extra virgin olive oil


Kalamata olives

Pickled red onion


Greek yogurt


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