How To Build A Mason Jar Salad (And What To Put In It!)

Mason jars are a popular trend these days. Just do a quick search on Pinterest or Google and you’ll find them filled with many things, such as candles, sand, flowers, cocktails, and (brace yourself) even salad ingredients! That’s right…They’re called Mason jar salads.
Convenient to take to work or school, these ‘salads in a jar’ are gaining popularity. There are loads of super-delicious and unique recipes ideas for these fun DIY packaged salads. But, we’ve got a few of our own, too…

Who Should Eat Mason Jar Salads?

Mason jar salads are a simple way to help maintain a healthy lifestyle when you’re on the go, but they are also ideal for weight loss, meal planning, and for those who are serious about eating right. If you are ready to take your diet to the next level by incorporating more raw foods, and live active cultures into your regimen this could be your new thing!

No matter who you are, you can fall in love with these cute pre-packaged superfood salads. For anyone looking to avoid junk food, processed foods, and the drive-through, Mason jar salads can be a great way to substitute fresh produce for processed foods.

How-To Make a Mason Jar Salad for Beginners

While many Mason jar salad-making pros apply different ingredients to the creation of these trendy DIY salads, let’s start with the basics:
The very first ingredient to add to the Mason jar is the dressing. While store-bought dressing often gets a bad rap due to its high fat content and artificial preservatives, there are some decent options if you are not quite yet an alchemist in the dressing department. Pick your favorite dressing with the most natural ingredients, and add 1-4 tablespoons per 32-ounce Mason jar.

Once the dressing is added, the ingredients will go from thickest at the bottom to thinnest at the top. Start with grains, or legumes for a good source of protein and fiber. These include everything from kidney beans, teff, millet, amaranth, and lentils. Decorate your Mason jar salad with lima beans or black beans beans, chickpeas, or any of your favorite foods in this category. Then you can add the topping ingredients to the salad.

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Salad Toppings

Some of the best vegetables to add into a Mason jar salad include carrots, beets, radishes, bell peppers, and celery. Due to their thickness, coming into contact with dressing won’t affect these veggies during storage in the Mason jar.

The next category is a protein source from animals you may want to add. Keep in mind, if you are intending to eat your salad within 24 hours of packing it, then the meat, cheese, egg, or vegetarian protein substitute goes next. It’s best to add these items the same day you eat the salad. So, if you plan to do your food prep for the week, add these in last.

On top of this protein selection you may add fruits, and softer vegetables. This is where goodies like tomatoes, avocados, dried fruit (cranberries, raisins etc.), or any other juicier produce item can go. This is also another item that can be added at the last minute — if you are prepping for the week — to ensure the crispness of your salad. These items bring vibrant color, and life to your Mason jar creation!
If you want to add lighter grains to your salad such as quinoa, barley, or rice, you can add them to this second-to-last layer. This is also a great time to add nuts such as cashews, sliced almonds, or walnuts to the jar for a satisfying crunch, and a dose of fat-burning omegas.1

Finally, it’s time to add in your salad greens. Any variety of leafy green veggies such as romaine, iceberg, spinach, parsley, dandelion, or kale go here. You can easily add them to the top of your jar, and feel free to chop these ingredients finely for optimal digestibility.

Now it’s time to toss the salad! If you are on-the-go, you can eat your salad straight out of the jar by shaking it up, and down 3-5 times before removing the lid. Just remember to leave some additional space open in the jar during the canning process. Once the top is off, you can dump the jar’s contents out into a bowl, and do some light tossing as well if you are in a more formal eating setting. You can also add any additional toppings here like fresh feta cheese, a drizzle of olive oil, additional greens, or more dressing.

How-To Make a Mason Jar Salad for Advanced Cooks

For those who are more savvy with canning, this second approach to the Mason Jar salad creates a fermented meal rich in digestive probiotics, and enzymes— similar to kimchi. With this methodology, you will be making a custom salad dressing from scratch, and applying it to your ingredients before it goes into the jar.

If you are new to the idea of fermented raw food canning, there are many resources to help guide you through the art of Mason jar probiotic foods including books, and online magazines. Although the process may sound intimidating at first, it becomes second nature after just a few attempts. We promise!

To start, take one large bunch of kale rinsed, chopped, or hand-shredded. Massage the kale vigorously with a tablespoon of olive oil, and a ¼ teaspoon of pink Himalayan sea salt to help break down the fibers in the leaves. If you like a variety of greens in your salads, add some shredded cabbage, or other greens into the mix.

Once the greens foundation of your salad is ready, you can begin decorating it with peelings of root vegetables such as beet, carrot, or daikon radish. These colorful shavings can be made with any peeler, and are more easily digestible than their cubed counterparts. If you are competent in pickling, this is a good time to add a relish of apple cider vinegar drenched favorites such as celery, jalapeños, ginger, and red onion to name a few.

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How-To Make DIY Mason Jar Salad Dressing

A good raw dressing to try out has a citrus base (orange, lemon, lime). Apple cider vinegar is a good complement, or substitute for the citrus.

Next, add in a thickener such as avocado, or a cultured nut, or seed butter (macadamia, hempseed, almond, walnut, etc.) to give your dressing some body.

Finally, season your dressing with any of your favorite herbs such as cilantro, dill, or rosemary, and spices like cumin, dulse, paprika, or black pepper. All of these ingredients can be combined in a high-speed blender to make a thick, and creamy Mason jar salad dressing. Add a dash of sugar if you plan on fermenting the jar for over 48 hours.

Pour this creamy goodness into your salad bowl, and mix until all the contents are in contact with the dressing. From here, you are ready to jar up your superfood ensemble for a slow-refrigerated ferment. Ingredients such as citrus, and apple cider vinegar can keep your salad alive for over a week, only increasing the power of the digestive probiotics.

Recap: 5-Step Layering Technique for a Mason Jar Salad
Here’s a recap of what we discussed above. And it’s in an easy-to-print format so you can laminate and place it on your fridge or in a favorite cookbook for reference.

Here is a 5-step layering technique for any type of Mason jar salad:

1. Dressing. You always want to add the salad dressing in first, so that when you empty the Mason jar it is on top of the rest of the ingredients. As a general recommendation, you can cover the entire bottom of the Mason jar with dressing, and then just add more later if you want to. Just remember that dressings are a source of added sugars, and calories so it’s best to error on the side of less, rather than more.

2. Grains. There are many different grains you can add to your salad for a healthy dose of protein, fiber, and other phytonutrients. They include quinoa, amaranth, farro, millet, and teff for starters, but the options are endless. When added into the Mason jar, this salad ingredient goes second. This is because it’s generally a heavier layer, and you don’t want it to damage the other layers. Not to mention that it soaks up dressing well for even distribution once you open the Mason jar.

3. Everything Chunky. This is the layer that includes anything you want to top the salad with like fruits, vegetables, cheeses, spices, and other add-ons. Use this layer to blend any toppings of your choice. It’s all up to you!

4. Leafy Greens. This is the foundation of your salad, but it doesn’t have to be one dimensional. Mixing textures here can be really fun! Use any combination of leafy greens you like. Iceberg lettuce, romaine, spinach, and kale work well at this top, and final layer. Chop up a combination blend, and place it just below the lid of your Mason jar to get that deep green color you expect from a great salad.

5. Nutrient Boost. You can add freshly chopped herbs, ground spices, and vegetable oils like olive oil, or hempseed to boost the nutrient value. Also, this is a great time to add in detoxing ingredients, like apple cider vinegar, or lemon juice. With these flavorful nutrient boosters, you can cut back on any extra calories from dressing.

mason jar salad | Princeton Nutrients

The Takeaway

Mason jar salads are a fun, and ultra-convenient way to eat more raw foods. As an incredible source of essential nutrients, raw foods make an ideal meal no matter where you go. So, practice packing Mason jar salads to eat at work, while you travel, or even when you just want a fast grab-and-go meal idea. These DIY salad recipes are just a start, but once you get the hang of it…sky is the limit!

1. Emilio Ros. Health Benefits of Nut Consumption. Nutrients. 2010 Jul; 2(7): 652–682.

Bottled vs Tap Water: Choosing the Healthiest Water?

It’s 100 degrees in the shade, and you’ve just come in from walking the dogs. Do you grab a bottled water from the fridge or a glass from the cabinet and fill up from the faucet? Is there such a thing as the ‘healthiest water’?

We’ll examine these questions and more…

Regulating Water

Water is regulated in the U.S. by a few different agencies, each with a different mission. While the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency keeps a close eye on the water that comes from the tap, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration looks out for safety and truthful labeling of bottled water water.

Both agencies have their work cut out for them. Environmental pollutants are seemingly everywhere, and they may also be lurking in your water. These may include pathogenic microbiota, heavy metals, industrial chemicals, and even known toxins not closely regulated by U.S. governmental agencies.

And don’t think that the water you’re drinking from a bottle is any safer. In many cases, bottled water might be more harmful to your health. You see, in many cities, tap water must be filtered, and tested for bacteria and viruses. But government regulations don’t require the same rigorous testing of bottled water manufacturers.

So … which is safer?

Each state and city has different regulations on tap water; you may want to check reports from your city government to find out what’s in your water. These annual reports can help you to determine whether the drinking water in your area is safe. But what about bottled water? Let’s take a closer look at both tap and bottled waters …

choosing healthiest water | Princeton Nutrients

Bottled Water Basics

Whether it is spring sourced, distilled, mineral, or sparkling, one thing is for certain: Water packaged in plastic bottles is something to avoid – at all costs. In addition to the tremendous environmental impact of discarding millions of non-biodegradable plastic bottles into landfills, bottled water that comes in plastic also poses a slew of potential health risks.

It’s not that the water itself is bad for you. It’s that the plastic that contains it could be more harmful than the water coming out of your tap. A recent study published in the journal Food Chemistry confirmed that drinking or storing water inside plastic bottles can cause toxic chemicals to seep into the water, and ultimately, into your bloodstream. The study reported these chemicals include phthalates, diethylhexyl adipate, alkylphenols, and bisphenol A.1

You may have already heard about toxic industrial chemicals found in some food containers, like canned foods. One of the most common, known as bisphenol A, or BPA, can also be found in plastic bottles. This chemical, used as a hardening agent in the production of plastic, has remained on the shelves since the 1960s. And, since its introduction into the food packaging industry, some studies suggest BPA can be found lurking in our bodies. In the early 2000s, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that detectable levels of BPA were found in 93 percent of the over 2500 urine samples of people ages six and older.2

Why is this so alarming? This hormone disrupting chemical has potential links to brain and heart problems, obesity, and diabetes – and it is especially disruptive to young children.3,4

Plastic is photodegradable, meaning it can decompose when exposed to light, particularly sunlight. Because of this, any extra heat or light exposure may cause a water bottle’s constituents to leach into its contents. In addition, It is virtually impossible to know where the bottles have been before they hit the shelves, as well as how much exposure they have had to environmental elements. It is also common for water to be added into the plastic bottle immediately after the bottle is formed – allowing little to no time for the plastic to cure. While this is an efficient manufacturing process, it neglects the fact that at such a hot temperature, the byproducts of plastic may be delivered into the water at its inception.

When shopping for a bottled water, always aim to purchase a BPA-free plastic variety. You can also purchase water in a glass bottle to avoid these potentially harmful health effects.

choosing healthiest water | Princeton Nutrients

Terrible Tap Water

Tap water contamination is a growing concern. In one 2016 study on the quality of tap water, scientists found that supplies for 6 million U.S. residents exceed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agencies lifetime health advisory for poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances, or PFASs. If these substances sound scary, it’s because they are. Studies have shown that these industrial chemicals have seeped into water supplies from military fire training areas, industrial sites, and wastewater treatment plants in some cities. The study concluded that tap water PFAS contamination poses risks to the developmental, immune, metabolic, and endocrine health of consumers.5

Chlorine is also commonly used in city water systems to improve the odor and color of the end product that comes out of your tap. Unfortunately, this chemical is a major acid producer in the body – one which has the potential to damage our cells on contact and harm balanced pH. Chlorine is also known to interact with organic compounds in the body, leading to the development of trihalomethanes – environmental pollutants which can destroy healthy cell tissue.6

Fluoride: Is it Good or Bad?

Fluoride is another chemical commonly added into tap water to improve water quality, but it too may pose health risks when consumed over time. Studies have shown that fluoride toxicity is linked to a variety of different health problems, including brittle teeth, cognitive impairment, hypothyroidism, dental and skeletal fluorosis, and enzyme and electrolyte imbalances.7

The steam distillation process kills bacteria by boiling water, allowing the steam to collect in a glass container. It is a water filtration method known to remove all fluoride and chlorine from water. Other processes, such as reverse osmosis, are also effective in cleaning tap water from your household water supply for drinking and bathing.

Steamed distillation is one of the best ways to clean up the water in your home, making it suitable for drinking. The goal of this process is to reduce the number of total dissolved solids (TDS) in the water as much as possible. Total dissolved solids include all inorganic and organic substances contained in a liquid. Although bottled water tends to be lower on the TDS scale, it is still possible to reduce potential pollutants in tap water even lower than bottled water by using a distiller with an activated charcoal filter.

choosing healthiest water | Princeton Nutrients

A Final Note on Choosing the Healthiest Water

No matter what type of water you choose, having a high-quality water filter is always a good idea. There are many options, including tap filters you can put right on your faucet, steam distillers, water bottle drop-in filters, and even activated charcoal sticks you can drop into any glass (even at restaurants) that also remove heavy metals and other contaminants.

This all may sound pretty scary, but not to worry. There are a few steps to ensure you and your family have the healthiest water:

1. Pick up a pitcher with a quality water filter from your local grocery store.
2. Install a water filter in your house.
3. Subscribe to a monthly water delivery service — just make sure the water comes from a natural source, such as spring. Otherwise, you’ll be spending a lot of money on filtered water…something you can do at home by following suggestion #1.

After all, it’s worth the effort to choose the healthiest water possible—it is one of the most vital nutrients your body needs for good health, and longevity. Drink up!


1. Albert Guart, Francisco Bono-Blay. Effect of bottling and storage on the migration of plastic constituents in Spanish bottled waters. Food Chemistry 2014 August 1, 156: 73-80.
2. Bisphenol A (BPA). National Institute of Environmental Health Services. National Institutes of Health. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
3. Rubin BS. Bisphenol A: an endocrine disruptor with widespread exposure and multiple effects. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2011 Oct;127(1-2):27-34. doi: 10.1016/j.jsbmb.2011.05.002. Epub 2011 May 13.
4. Fanny Rancière, Jasmine G. Lyons. Bisphenol A and the risk of cardiometabolic disorders: a systematic review with meta-analysis of the epidemiological evidence. Environ Health. 2015; 14: 46. 2015 May 31.
5. Detection of Poly- and Perfluoroalkyl Substances (PFASs) in U.S. Drinking Water Linked to Industrial Sites, Military Fire Training Areas, and Wastewater Treatment Plants.
6. Xindi C. Hu, David Q. Andrews. Chlorine in Drinking Water. Background document for development of WHO Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality. Environ. Sci. Technol. Lett., 2016, 3 (10), pp 344–350.
7. Stephen Peckham, Niyi Awofeso. Water Fluoridation: A Critical Review of the Physiological Effects of Ingested Fluoride as a Public Health Intervention. The Scientific World Journal. Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 293019, 10 pages.