We begin again …

September always feels like the start of a new year to me – a holdover from first days of school for 17 years in a row, I guess. Vacation time is winding down, but oh what a great summer it has been.

September is about lots of firsts – first day in a new school or new job, first day with a new teacher or a new committee, or maybe the first day in a new soccer league or getting back to the gym after taking the summer off.

Regardless – these new beginnings bring more structure to our days and maybe the feeling that we have a little less time available than we did during the lazy days of summer.

September will present a first to me as well. I have worked from my home office since 1995 and had my own consulting business since 1999. But this September I will be setting up shop at the Georgetown Naturopathic Wellness Centre where my company, Alpha Vitality Nutritional Coaching will be providing holistic nutritional services as part of a wellness team.

So to help me ease into having more structure in my day, I’m going to make lunch to take to work. I did a test run by preparing hearty salads in large glass canning jars (we used to call them quart sealer jars). Once work begins, I’ll make one for each day I’m in the office.

Are you interested in making 5 days of salads on Sunday night to make your week a little easier? I’ve adapted this from a cover photo I saw in Chatelaine.

Step One – start with clean one-litre jars with tightly fitting lids

Step Two – Make a simple vinaigrette

Vinaigrette: (note this will dress 5+ salads) 2 tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1 tbsp grainy mustard, ¼ cup fresh herb (eg basil, cilantro, oregano, sage, thyme) freshly ground pepper to taste

If you like a sweeter tasting dressing, you can add 1-2 tsp maple syrup


Step Three – divide dressing among the 5 jars and put in something hearty that can act as a barrier between the dressing and the greens – I used red pepper but carrot would work well too


Step Four – The combinations are endless. There are lots of great vegetables at your local farmers’ market to inspire. For these salads, I layered corn, black beans, grape tomatoes, cucumbers and spinach. Note: if you have leftover cooked whole grains e.g. quinoa, brown rice – that makes a great additionImage

Step Five – Seal well and store in refrigerator


Step Six – When ready for lunch, invert and shake. Pour onto a plate and enjoy!

Also I’m going to take my own filtered water in a 2-litre container with my name on it and put it in the refrigerator at work. My job will be to finish it all before I leave for home and I’ll have an excuse to move a little by walking to and from the fridge to pour it. Bonus – I know I’ll be well hydrated for my commute home.

I hope you will pop in and read my blog from time to time. If you or anyone you know is looking for nutritional coaching, please keep me in mind.

Appointments can be made at:

Georgetown Naturopathic Wellness Centre (GNWC) 905.873.2361

  1. September is always my new year as well. Funny how that feeling doesn’t leave you.
    Best of luck Elle, you’re going to do amazing work! Love the ideas for the salad, just saw this myself and was going to incorporate that this week! (was also going to blog about it too, lol)

    • Blog away Pat – the more people that read about how tasty whole food can be, the better!

  2. Good luck with your new beginning! This is a terrific idea for portable lunches. I have a box of mason jars in my basement that are definitely going to get done use!

    • Thanks Cathy! I bet lots of people have mason jars in their basement : ) … or they can easily find them for purchase right now, during canning season.

  3. Kay Compagnoni said:

    Definitely going to try this. I take lots of salads for lunch and the more I can make ahead the better.
    Good luck with the blog Elle.

  4. Spencer Hopping said:

    El, Excellent start to your new career. I will hoist an herbal bitters in your honour and look forward to your future blogs. I know you will be right at home in your new environment!

    • Spencer – May I ask what kind of herbal bitters you use? Thanks

  5. ahayestce said:

    El: Love this idea and thanks for including the pictures. Looking forward to more ideas from your blog. Good Luck with your new vocation!

    • A Hayes – I’m so pleased that you like the photos. Photography is another passion of mine, so having the opportunity to combine writing about food and taking photos of the food is pure joy!

  6. Cathy said:

    Great start to your new career, El. Congratulations!!! Keep those ideas coming. I’m going to pass the salad in a jar idea on to a friend tonight!

    • THANKS Cath! I’m so happy to have the idea out and about. I hope your friend will see how easy it is to eat well.

  7. Rena Keenan Buhler said:

    Congratulations Elinor! Looking forward to learning with you through this wonderful blog!

    • Rena – I want to hear more about the Urban Aboriginal Healthy Living Program at the Timmins Native Friendship Centre.

  8. Deb Harper said:

    Heh El……way to go! Great salad idea….I’ll be watching for more!!

    • Deb – Thanks for your encouragement. You can subscribe to be alerted to each new blog post.

  9. Val Parke said:

    Elinor: Love the Salad-in-a-Sealer concept. (My Grandmother McLeod always called them sealers never jars!) She would fill hundreds of sealers every autumn with produce from her huge farm garden. I’ll start with five – looking forward to my lunches next week.

    • Maybe we should copyright “Salad-in-a-Sealer”. So great to hear from you Val.

  10. Kathryn said:

    I have always wanted a better way to pack a salad for lunch! And I am looking for alternatives to sandwiches. Thanks Elinor!

  11. Stuart Humphries said:

    Great idea. I will try these in my lunch starting on Wednesday. If the deer stay out of the garden, I won’t even have to hit the grocery store. Cheers. Stuart in Haliburton.

  12. margo said:

    Felicitations on your new endeavour,, El. Photo caught my eye. Such an appealing and practical idea – but still does not make me yearn for the good ol’ pre-retirement days! Looking forward to more tips. Margo

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