It's not always easy to eat well and on a budget when you're away from home. When preparing a lunch for work or school, it is difficult to avoid packaged foods, as they are convenient for transporting. Sitting down to a fresh salad is a food-conscious choice, but preparing your own salad ahead of time can be difficult, as packaging and transport tends to turn even the freshest prepared salad into a soggy mess. The trick to keeping a salad from going soggy is all in the packaging.
Things You'll Need
- Tall plastic locking container or Mason jar
- Miniature plastic locking containers
- Plastic zip-close bags
Wash out a medium-size plastic storage container that is taller than it is wide. Salads and fresh vegetables keep best inside hard-walled containers, as they help prevent the possibility of crushing. Tall, plastic locking containers are the most convenient, although Mason jars also work well.
Fill the container with the heaviest items first. Crushed vegetables release excess liquid, which leads to sogginess. To avoid crushing vegetables, place the heavy items, such as cooked beans, carrots, green beans, chopped onion or chopped fruit, on the bottom of the container.
Fill a small container with the oil or dressing, and snap the lid on tightly. Place it directly on top of the vegetables in the tall container. Unless you purchase individual manufactured packets of salad dressings or oils, you must have small locking containers to hold the liquid items. You can find appropriate containers at most kitchen and home stores or supermarkets.
Fill small plastic zip-close bags with cheese, nuts or croutons to keep them from becoming soggy. Cheese “melts” when it comes in contact with moisture, while nuts and breads absorb moisture like sponges. Place the bags on top of the dressing containers or keep them separate.
Pack the lettuce or other salad greens loosely on top of everything in the tall container, leaving a small space at the top. Close the container so it won't leak. The lettuce should be the last thing in the container so it is not crushed.
Place the closed container inside an insulated lunch bag along with an ice pack to keep it cold. Lettuce and vegetables wilt in damp, warm conditions, so it is crucial you keep your salad container cool to avoid sogginess. If possible, refrigerate the salad container once you arrive at work or school.
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