Lunch in a Jar

A couple that I know just celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. The key to their success? Well, according to the husband their happy marriage is all because his wife has packed him his lunch every work day for their whole married life. At first, this revelation made me feel really…guilty. I can honestly say that in 13 years of marriage I have never sent my husband off to work with a homemade lunch. Sure, this has meant he has some extra candy machine visits or drive-through stops, but how can I squeeze in making lunch for a man who leaves the house at 5:45 each morning? Already I have a house to clean, meals to cook, four kids to home-school, and sometime in there I have to get a shower (really, won’t he appreciate a clean wife more than lunch?) The old man’s marriage advice was fresh in my mind when I saw pictures of layered, jarred salads on the Bountiful Basket’s Facebook page. These seemed healthy, fresh, and most importantly easy. And so, in an effort to keep our happy marriage happy, and armed with an arsenal of salad-in-a-jar recipes, I have decided to try packing lunches this year.

As I’ve read up on the process I’ve learned that layering salad in jars has a lot of benefits. Salads can be made up to five days in advance, and all ingredients including dressings, toppings, and fruits are included. The secret to keeping the contents crispy and fresh for the whole week comes in the layering.

  • Bottom Layer- Dressing or Liquid- oil/vinegars, creamy, fruit juice only- be creative. Tip: When using oil/vinegar dressing- a run through the blender will keep it from separating.
  • 2nd Layer- Heavy ingredients that will remain fresh in the dressing- beans, cucumbers, onions
  • 3rd Layer- Heavy items that should not directly touch the dressing while stored- tomatoes, avocados, meats, grains/pasta
  • 4th Layer- Any Leafy Greens- be sure these are VERY clean and dry before putting in the jar
  • 5th Layer- Heavy, dry items- nuts, seeds, croutons, spices, dry fruit
  • Top Layer- Sensitive, flavorful ingredients like fresh fruit slices, herbs, grains/pasta, edible flowers

With so many flavor combinations and creative options this is a lunch that won’t fall into a rut. Of course I know that packing a lunch is not really the secret to a successful marriage. But this relatively simple act will help my family stay healthy, and let them know I love them- and isn’t that the real secret? So, if the true key to a loving family is showing consideration and kindness, I will keep cleaning, keep schooling, and start sending some healthy lunches packed with love. Happy Cooking!
Visit these web sites for some great layered salad recipes.


  1. Hi JoAnn.
    I love your idea for Salad in a Jar. Unfortunately I’m not very imaginative, but I can follow instructions.
    Would it be possible you list more of your salad combinations/layers?

  2. It does seem like such a simple thing but it can mean so much. I made my husbands lunchs too and to this day that is one of the “high-points” of the marriage.

  3. JoAnn Williams

    Thanks Karmen and Diana- I am so glad that you liked it. I am happy to report that I have been faithful to my commitment almost- 4 days a week. Salad in a jar has been his favorite lunch option- he even likes it more than breakfast burritos! We discovered a new favorite layered salad recipe- raspberry vinaigrette, sliced strawberries, chopped spinach, feta cheese (in that order).

  4. This was hoot that I so related to. My husband is often out the door before my eyes open.

  5. Karmen Kiler

    I love this! Thanks for the tips JoAnn!

Leave a Reply