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No microwave that you can use at school? Or maybe you have a couple of them at work but everyone wants to use them during lunchtime, and you just don’t want to wait. What if you’re on a job site and you’re eating outside—what do you do? Same goes for not having a refrigerator handy when you need one. Our thermal Food Jars can keep that salad chilled or keep your soup hot. And with some clever prepping in the morning, you can save time by letting our Food Jar finish the cooking by using its superior thermal insulation properties. Yes, it’s true! Check out this month’s recipes made especially for our Zojirushi Food Jars.
Our recipes this month were tested with our Zojirushi Food Jars for the specific volume capacity of our smaller 12oz. and larger 17oz. jars. Be sure to use the correct ingredient measurements, depending on which jar you own. And for a better balanced meal, always remember to bring side dishes to add to your lunch, like fresh produce or whole grains.
The USDA MyPlate Guide
According the U.S. Department of Agriculture, there are 5 food groups that should be included with every meal to maintain a healthy diet. Their MyPlate Guide illustrates this very simply so we can all remember what to eat. Their site provides loads of information on healthy eating—take a look! choosemyplate.gov
Ramen salads are everybody’s favorite summertime refresher. Make this tangy one at home and keep it chilled for hours until you’re ready to dig in!
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Our Japanese version of a spicy Chinese classic. The secret to this one is how this dish keeps heating in our Food Jar, infusing the tofu with more flavor as it sets!
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Easily prepare this dish in the morning before you go, then fill your Food Jar with all the ingredients and let the jar complete the process. By lunchtime, your Saucy Pasta is ready to eat!
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As school season gets into full speed and time gets harder to manage, the trend toward Meal Prepping is becoming more popular with everybody interested in saving time in the morning. Meal Prep is a way to plan out your menu for the week by cooking in advance and pre-portioning your meals ahead of time. There are a number of benefits to sticking to a plan like this, and the most important one isn’t just to save time. The health benefits are essential to anyone following a strict diet—you can control precisely what you eat and how much. Even if you don’t need to be so strict, it’s easy to eat better by planning a more balanced meal with portion control. It saves money too, as you’re not likely to overshop or buy on impulse if you’re pre-planning for the week.
Although it may seem intimidating to do all this planning, it’s really not that complicated if you set it up right. With the added benefit of Zojirushi Food Jars and Lunch Jars, your lunches can be fabulous!
Prepare your basic ingredients in advance like proteins, vegetables and starches and store them so you can multi-purpose them for different dishes. Cooked chicken breasts are easy to use for stir-frys, pasta dishes, soups, even for sandwiches; or versatile beans are great for Mexican dishes, salads, chili, and more. You don’t necessarily have to cook these basics either—you can simply buy a rotisserie chicken and shred that up, or get a bag of frozen shrimp and use it for a Chinese dish or a seafood salad.
Be sure you get a balanced diet for the week by following a healthy formula. Keeping a stock of 2 proteins, 4 vegetables and 1 starch can give you the right ingredients you need and help maintain a good balance*. If you want to go meatless some days, one of the proteins could be tofu, which can be used in a stir-fry or be marinated like this month’s Mapo Tofu. The vegetables can be fresh cut, roasted, or to save time, bought at the store like salad greens. For the starch, cook a generous amount of healthy brown rice or a large tray of roasted potatoes, and you’re all set!
The great thing about our Zojirushi Lunch Jars is that they come with compartment containers already, so it’s easy to sort out your ingredients and keep them separated in the proper portions. What’s even better is that the thermal insulation means the dishes you bring aren’t restricted to room temperature only. You can literally expand your Meal Prep dinners to your lunches at work or school, too!
When you go shopping for ingredients, prepare a list. This will prevent impulse shopping and unnecessary waste. You’ll also have everything when it comes time to prep—the last thing you want is to be caught without something you need. Also think about your schedule for the week. What if you have dinner plans for a night, or a lunch meeting at work? You’ll need to adjust your ingredients to fit the number of meals you’re going to prepare; why waste food? Of course you can freeze what you don’t use for later.
There are numerous recipes these days for One Pan Meals, another way people are cooking efficiently by combining all the ingredients on a baking sheet or in a saucepot to make a balanced dish that contains all the necessary proteins, starches and veggies all in one. Cook one time and you’re done! Makes for the least amount of dishes to wash, too.
Zojirushi Food Jars were almost made for this kind of dish. Roasted veggies and fish, chicken and rice, Thai noodles…yum! And served still warm for lunch without a microwave!
Lastly, keep in mind that the more adventurous you can get with your recipes, the more expansive you can get with your planning. Get BOLD with your sauces, marinades and spices and cook up a storm! Remember you have some basics pre-cooked—just add pesto to your chicken, or Miso to your beef cubes, or curry to your rice salad. Meal Prep isn’t so calculated that it needs to get boring; it’s just more efficient. Look up a few Meal Prep sites that can help enormously in learning how to plan—they offer hundreds of creative recipes as well.
sources: *USDA MyPlate, Harvard School of Public Health
Our Lunch Jars come with stackable containers, each with special functions. The thermally insulated section can keep foods chilled or hot for hours, while the room temperature section allows you to bring a variety of foods as well. This makes it ideal for meal prep portioning and sorting essential food groups.
Both Lunch Jars and Food Jars come in a variety of sizes—choose the one that fits your appetite for the day!
Soups and stews are no longer a problem for lunch. Who needs a microwave when you can carry them in leakproof containers that stay hot for hours?
A word about our Lunch & Food Jars and food safety…
Be sure to preheat or pre-chill your jars before filling with food, to maximize their thermal properties—this will help to keep your foods safe from spoiling.
Avoid foods that spoil easily. Adding unheated dairy products to cooked food is not recommended, like topping with sour cream or cheese. If cheese is used as an ingredient, make sure it has been adequately cooked with the food.
All parts are designed for easy cleaning. Be sure to maintain cleanliness to avoid bacteria growth.