How To Make Healthy Meal Prep Salads For Lunch

Learn how to make healthy meal prep salads in less time, using the right storage containers, fresh produce, and protein. Healthy meals are easy when you plan ahead!

meal prep salads in mason jars with wood lids

If making salads isn’t your favorite thing to do…and you think the process takes too much time, I’m here to help. The secret to enjoying healthy salads at home is to prepare several at a time. That way you are doing everything just once, instead of 3 or 4 times! It’s a huge time-saver, and so rewarding when you place those beautiful salads in your refrigerator.

Meal prep salads are brilliant, and there are countless ways to personalize them with ingredients you love. What follows is a basic salad with vegetables and protein. Included are variations, but it’s definitely a recipe that can be adapted to your own tastes.

ingredients for meal prep salads

Prep day: gather the ingredients for mason jar salads.

  • 4 wide mouth quart size mason jars or meal prep containers
  • salad dressing of your choice
  • chopped English cucumber
  • chopped carrots
  • red onions
  • cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes
  • pulled rotisserie chicken or chopped chicken breasts
  • feta cheese, cheddar cheese, parmesan cheese, blue cheese, or goat cheese
  • hard-boiled eggs
  • bacon bits
  • romaine lettuce or leafy greens of your choice
  • mini croutons
making meal prep salads in mason jars

Additional ideas for fresh vegetables and additions.

  • green onions
  • black beans
  • chickpeas
  • cooked + chopped sweet potatoes
  • brussels sprouts
  • green or red bell peppers
  • creamy avocado slices
meal prep salads layered in mason jars

Assembly

The easiest way to assemble your salads is to line up the containers, and fill them in layers. The order of assembly is important. A good rule of thumb when filling the jars is to leave the top third available for the lettuce, and fill them all the way to the top.

  1. The dressing should go in first, so it’s on the bottom. (This will guarantee that your lettuce doesn’t get soggy.)
  2. Next are the hard vegetables: carrots, cucumber, onion, tomatoes, celery, etc.
  3. Now it’s time to layer the soft items. Chicken, cheese, hard boiled egg, fruit, avocado, etc.
  4. Last is the lettuce. It should always be the last item to go in the jars.
salads prepped in mason jars

Storage

Cap the mason jars tightly and place them immediately in the refrigerator. Depending on the freshness of your ingredients, they will last for up to a week. (The fresher your ingredients, the longer they can sit in the refrigerator.)

meal prep salad in pyrex bowl

Serving

When you are ready to dig into one of your delicious salads, remove it from the refrigerator, and turn the container upside down. Let the dressing flow through the salad layers for a few minutes. Dump the salad into a bowl. Make sure to scrape all of the dressing out of the jar with a spatula. Season, toss, and enjoy!

Weight Watchers Points

My daughter helped me calculate the Weight Watchers points for one jar of this salad. If you use fat free Feta cheese, and leave out the bacon bits, each jar is just 3 points. It’s a filling and healthy meal, and it won’t “eat up” a bunch of your daily points!

meal prep salads in ball jars

Salad Prep Tips

  • A great way to avoid a soggy salad is to thoroughly drain your salad greens on a clean cotton kitchen towel, paper towel, or use a salad spinner. Make sure the greens are dry before adding to your containers. 
  • For best results use very fresh ingredients.
  • Bottled salad dressing is perfectly fine. I use it all the time. If you prefer homemade dressing, a super easy idea is to combine 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil with 1/4 cup of one of the following: apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, or lime juice.
  • Successful meal prepping depends on an accurate grocery store list, so make sure to write everything down!
  • The ingredients and amounts listed in the recipe card below are simply suggestions. Meal prep salads should be made according to your family’s tastes.
  • A quart sized mason jar salad is definitely a meal. The jar can also be divided into 2 or 3 side salad servings.
layered meal prep salad in mason jar

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meal prep salads in mason jars with wood lids

How To Make Meal Prep Salads

Learn how to make healthy meal prep salads in less time, using the right storage containers, fresh produce, and protein.
Rate this Recipe Print Recipe Pin Recipe
5 from 3 votes
Servings: 4 jars
Author: Ann Drake
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 8 tablespoons Bolthouse Farms Ranch Salad Dressing (2 tablespoons per jar. Or use salad dressing of your choice.)
  • 1 1/2 cups cucumber (chopped)
  • 1 1/2 cups carrots (chopped or shredded)
  • 1/2 large red onion (chopped)
  • 24 grape tomatoes
  • 12 oz. chicken (cut into small chunks)
  • 4 oz. feta cheese (crumbled)
  • 4 eggs (hard boiled + chopped)
  • 3/4 cup bacon bits
  • 1 tablespoon mini croutons
  • 2 romaine hearts (cleaned and chopped)
  • 4 quart sized wide mouth mason jars

Instructions

  • Prepare all ingredients.
  • Begin layering the ingredients in 4 mason jars.
  • At the bottom of the jars, add the salad dressing.
  • In layers, add cucumber, carrots, onion, tomatoes, chicken, feta cheese, egg, and bacon bits.
  • Add the chopped romaine last.
  • Cover tightly and refrigerate.
  • To serve, dump the entire jar into a bowl.
  • Using a spatula, scrape out all of the dressing.
  • Season to taste, add the mini croutons, toss, and enjoy!

Nutrition

Calories: 706kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 43g | Fat: 45g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 10g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 263mg | Sodium: 1490mg | Potassium: 946mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 14358IU | Vitamin C: 24mg | Calcium: 278mg | Iron: 3mg
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If you make this recipe, and love it, please come back to leave a comment and a 5-star review. I would really appreciate it, and it would help me so much. Thank you!

This meal prep recipe is sure to become one of your favorite salads, so definitely share it with the whole family. 

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10 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Thank you a really delicious, great idea!

  2. MARY-ANN (FROM CANADA!) says:

    Thanks, Ann! What a great time saver! I am going shopping tomorrow for all the ingredients and will then make up the salad jars. This is such a great idea! Thanks for sharing with us.

  3. Lea Kagel says:

    Question: Is the two tablespoons of dressing to be divided by four? That would only be 1/2 tablespoon per salad
    Thanks for the great salad prep ideas. Will definitely try!
    Lea

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Hi Lea…thank you for asking about this! It’s 2 tablespoons per jar. I corrected the ingredients in the recipe card. Enjoy!

  4. Anne Marie Gorman says:

    5 stars
    When I worked these were my go to lunches. Great idea and easy to prepare days ahead of time.

  5. Hello I love your idea for the salads in the jars, but can I use regular Mason jar lids?

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Yes for sure! Regular mason jar lids will work great. Enjoy!

  6. These are awesome…where do you buy mini croutons?

    1. Ann Drake says:

      I got mine at Kroger, but I’ve also seen them at Walmart. They are right by the regular croutons. Enjoy!

  7. Brilliant. Why didn’t I ever think of this!