Megan and I ran Hood to Coast this past weekend. In case you haven't heard of it, it is a 200 mile relay from Mt. Hood, Oregon all the way to the beach. It took our team of 12 something like 27 hours, so we were running at all hours of the night. I had never done anything like this and IT WAS SO FUN!
Although neither Megan or I knew our teammates very well, it did not take them long to realize that we take eating seriously.
Neither of us could fathom preparing for such a race without immediately thinking about what to eat.
We both came uber-prepared with huge, heavy bags of food (wish I had a picture!) As silly as we may have felt lugging around all that grub, and despite the wisecracks, it paid off. We were well-fueled and we ran fast! Both of us averaged about 7:30 miles. Despite sleep deprivation and lack of training on my part, we were bursting with energy and feeling good. By the end, and to our delight, our teammates were asking us to prepare food for the entire team next year!
Mason jars were a key part of our fueling. They carried our iced coffee (essential!), homemade watermelon electrolyte drink a-la-Megan, and my veggie-rice-scramble (the mason jar was a perfectly compact way to squeeze in some veggies over those 2 days).
Even in my everyday life, mason jars make life easier. Here's how:
1. Fewer food decisions.
Of the hundreds, maybe even thousands, of decision we have to make everyday, what, when & how much to eat can really bog you down. By preparing your meals in advance and packing them in mason jars, you decide at the beginning of the week how you want to fuel your week. Then, later in the week when you're maybe feeling tired and overly-hungry, you're not faced with hard decisions about what to have for lunch - it's all ready for you. That's a good feeling.
2. Easy storage and transport.
When packing food in advance, it is important that your vessel is easy to carry & fits well in your bag. This may sound mundane, but details make up your day and it matters if things flow well. I love that mason jars are spill-proof, easy-to-transport and make my food look pretty!
3. Feel good about what you eat.
Mason jars help portion out your food. If you follow the guide below for how to pack your jar, you can feel confident that you're giving your body the right balance of nutrients you need, but not overdoing it.
How to Make Mason Jar Meals
- Wide-mouth, pint-sized mason jars + lids
- Paper towels (optional)*
- Start with ~1/8 cup of sauce or dressing at the bottom of the jar (See here for dressing & sauce inspiration)
- Add ~2-3 oz of lean protein like organic meats, eggs, tofu or beans
- Layer on ~1/2 cup whole grains
- Pile high with lettuces and veggies. Get crazy colorful (it should be as much fun to look at as to eat, well almost.)
- Finish with a flavor boost. Add bright flavors with fresh herbs like basil, cilantro or mint or make it crunch with a sprinkle of nuts or seeds.
*If you use lettuces and you won't eat the jar for a few days, fold up a paper towel and place it between the greens and the lid to prevent them from getting soggy.
For a bonus dressing recipe and to read more, check out DIY Mason Jar Meals by Barre3.
Share your favorite mason jar meal combos & flavors with us in the comments below! We love getting new ideas!
With Love & Zest,