How to Make a Healthy and Crowd-Pleasing Charcuterie Board
A dietician at NewYork-Presbyterian Queens shares tips on how to create a fun and nutritious red-white-and-blue themed snack board.
Whether you’re hosting a casual backyard barbecue or a sophisticated outdoor dinner party this summer, a charcuterie board is a go-to favorite for entertaining.
Not only are they visually beautiful and fun, but boards are also an easy way to offer an array of delicious and healthy bite-sized snacks. Get creative and load them up with nutritious goodies, allowing everyone to feel good while noshing.
“Fruits and vegetables are the easiest way to add color, texture, and nutrient density to a charcuterie board,” says Nicole Santos, a clinical dietitian at NewYork-Presbyterian Queens. “They’re also packed with fiber, which is great for heart health, gut health, and [keeping] you satisfied and fuller longer.”
Santos shared with Health Matters some tips to keep in mind when gathering ingredients for a healthy summer charcuterie board.
Eat the Rainbow
The more colors the better. Having a variety of colorful foods on your board keeps things interesting and also provides a variety of nutrients. A festive option for summer is creating a board themed red, white, and blue.
- Red vegetables like cherry tomatoes and bell peppers are typically anti-inflammatory and support heart health.
- Bluish fruits like Concord grapes and blueberries are packed with antioxidants and helpful for brain function.
- White vegetables like cauliflower, white asparagus, or jicama are crunchy options that are packed with fiber, key for digestive health.
Balance Textures and Flavors
Contrasting textures and flavors keep it interesting for your palate.
- Include soft and creamy textures with different cheeses like a spreadable brie or goat cheese, and contrast with a firmer cheese like cheddar or Swiss.
- Add some crunch with crudite vegetables like bell peppers, sliced radishes, and pickled cauliflower.
- For a savory bite, add lean, low-sodium meats, such as turkey slices and chicken sausage, which are also good sources of protein. Nuts, such as almonds and cashews, are a great way to add plant-based protein as well as fiber.
- Sneak in some pops of sweetness with fresh fruit or even yogurt-covered pretzels.
Don’t Forget to Have Fun!
Once you have your charcuterie ingredients, get creative with how you slice and present your food.
- If you have a rectangular board, you can align foods into red and white stripes with a blue corner.
- Take it to the next level by using a small star cookie cutter to cut firm cheeses or watermelon, or even take blueberries and stuff them into raspberries.
- Sprinkle pomegranate seeds and nuts across the board if you like a more rustic look.
Healthy Ingredients for a Red-White-and-Blue Charcuterie Board
- Pomegranate seeds
- Cherry tomatoes
- Turkey pepperoni
- Yogurt-covered pretzels
- Cheeses (white cheddar, mozzarella, Swiss)
- Nuts (cashews, almonds)
- Focaccia slices
- Concord grapes