My Mom raised me to love fruits and vegetables, as a toddler I was asking for and feeding myself slimy boiled okra, which I still love! I'm so thankful that I do not have to train my taste buds to like nutritious food, thanks Mom! Any time I feel sluggish or generally bleh, I immediately do a mental check list... have I had enough water? Am I hungry? Was the last thing I ate nutritious or junky? Generally, when I'm well hydrated and full of healthy stuff I find it easier to put a positive spin on things, so I try to make it a priority by planning ahead to feed my self nutritious things.
Essentially every Sunday I take over the kitchen an make MAD SALADS that I store in mason jars (how Brooklyn of me) and each morning grab one from the fridge to take to the office. Not only do I free my evenings up by pre-prepping mine and NPR's lunches, I ensure I don't get caught up in the rigamarole of life and lose track of fueling myself properly.
My layered jars are essentially a gigantic vitamin, they look pretty and people at work are ALWAYS jealous of my lunch. :) I have a few tricks up my sleeve when it comes to these beauties...
Pro tip 1-Variety is the spice of life. Every week my salads and dressing are different, but each week I have a rainbow of veg plus a mix of crunch, smooth, spicy, sweet and savory.
Pro tip 2-Layer wet stuff at the bottom. These jars of goodness get dumped out on to a plate come lunch time, allowing me to mix everything around. In order to preserve the contents better layer "wet" things at the bottom; that means cucumbers, bell peppers, beets, etc should be your first layers.
Pro tip 3-Cram that lettuce in. Don't mush it too a pulp, but don't be afraid to pack it in. Generally, my quart jars are 1/2 mix ins & 1/2 greens.
Pro tip 4-Save the nuts for last. I feel like there is a dirty joke in there somewhere, but seriously, some good crunch is important for salad variety, save your crunchies for the very top.
Pro tip 5-Avoid dishpan hands. I use about 8-10 dishes when making these lovlies, and here's a dirty little secret.... I hardly wash ANY of them. For the most part my salads are vegan, as long as my dishes don't touch any animal product, raw or cooked, I don't wash them. I'll give them a good hot rinse ensuring all the debris is gone but there aren't many bad germs on raw veggies and PS. dirt is good for you.
Supreme Salad mix ins:
Sweet ad ins: rasins, apples, pomegranate seeds, beets
Crunchy ad ins: roasted beans (edemame or chick peas), roasted or raw seeds (pumpkin/pepeitos or sunflower seeds) or nuts (almonds or walnuts)
Smooth ad ins: avocado is my main source of silky smooth yumminess. I'm minimizing my dairy intake, but I have been known to make homemade ricotta and that shit goes great with a salad.
Spicy: generally my spice comes from a small amount of jalapeno chopped in the salad or from sriracha in the dressing
Savory: when flavoring my protein (legumes or beans) I use many spices to keep things interesting
I'll layer in one mix in from each of the above categories along with a bounty of veggies and lettuce (romain, kale, spinach, "spring mix", arugala, whatever looks good at the store) and call it a day.
Oil: olive oil or if I have a Asian or fruity salad I use a mix of olive oil and coconut oil
Acid: citrus, ACV, or any "fancy" vinegar. Lemon or ACV goes well with everything, orange is nice for a sweet touch.
Aromatic: garlic or shallot
Fun stuff: sriracha, various spices, really the sky is the limit
Classic dressing recipes call for 3 parts oil, 1 part vinegar, I use 1:1 and mix in everything else to taste in a small jar that I take with me to work on Monday and use for the week.