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June 2022

Build a Better Charcuterie Board

 

From parties and Instagram posts to magazine covers and influencer videos, charcuterie boards are definitely trending—and for good reason. These fun and easy platters offer infinite opportunities for personalization, flavor, and texture. Just select your plate, board, or platter and start building!

Here are some ideas to help keep your creation on the healthy side.

Fill it up with fruit

With so many types of fruit to choose from, it can be hard to pick just a few. Seasonal fruit offers a sweet way to add color and texture. Consider berries, cherries, apricots, peaches, and melons in warmer months, and grapes, pears, and apples when temperatures cool.

Dried fruits like cranberries, figs, and raisins can provide texture, but bear in mind that they may have added sugars.

Tip: Want to stop cut up apple, pear, and peaches from browning? Before plating, mix them in a blend of 2 tablespoons of honey to 1 cup of water.

Bring on the veggies

As with fruit, your vegetable options are nearly endless. Fresh crudités like carrots, bell peppers, pink radishes, and celery are classic choices, along with snap peas, green beans, and cucumber.

For an added twist, stack lettuce leaves on your platter for making wraps. Romaine, butterhead, and leaf lettuce offer a sturdy structure and healthy doses of vitamins and minerals.

Pick your proteins

If meat is a must, look for unprocessed and low-fat items. For healthier fare, limit deli meat and include more of these options:

  • Sliced leftover chicken or turkey breast

  • Hard-boiled eggs

  • Roasted chickpeas

  • Nuts, such as almonds, pecans, and walnuts

  • Grilled shrimp

Choose your cheese

True: Cheese is often high in unhealthy saturated fat and sodium. Also true: It provides plenty of protein, calcium, vitamins, and other nutrients. For most people, moderation is the key.

To bring balance to your board, offset a saltier favorite like Brie with a lower sodium option such as Swiss—and offer more of the latter. Read nutrition labels, and look for low-calorie, reduced-fat, or fat-free versions of cheese.

Firmer cheeses like Swiss, cheddar, and mozzarella are naturally low in lactose. But if you want to avoid dairy entirely, you can find dairy-free cheese, too.

Go-to grains

Whole grains are linked to a host of health benefits, such as lowering risk for heart disease, helping manage weight, and supporting healthy digestion. So whether you prefer baguettes, bagel chips, crackers, or pita wedges, aim to make half of the grains you eat whole-grain.

If you’re following a gluten-free diet, be sure to check labels and look for alternative grains, like buckwheat, flax, or quinoa.

Online Medical Reviewer: Brian McDonough, MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Renee Watson, RN, MSN
Date Last Reviewed: 3/1/2022
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