A charcuterie board, otherwise known as a “grazing board,” are all over the Pinterest pages right now. Master one and you have earned your spot in the ‘2020 Hostess Hall of Fame from the Party Planners Association of America.” Not a real thing? Bummer. In any case, I’m not one to back down from a challenge, so I tried my hand at my own charcuterie work of art for my husband and I’s first Easter as newlyweds. Adorable, right? I thought so.
As I browsed Pinterest for inspiration, I quickly realized a few things about creating the perfect spread. One, there are no rules for grazing boards. Literally anything goes. Want a giant cheese ball in the middle surrounded by candied figs and cake balls with sprinkles? You do you, boo. Second, as a nutrition coach, I realized that from a calorie intake perspective, these charcuterie creations can get out of control quick. I wasn’t looking to eat my weight in cheese, so I set out with the goal of creating a perfect balance of savory and sweet, mixed with a dose of protein and veggies, and carefully monitoring the spread for a flavor balance our bellies would also enjoy.
Seeing that I follow a more strict gluten & dairy free diet, it was going to be tricky to ensure that this grazing board contained items I could eat, and maybe even sneak a few “healthier” options past my husband’s palate! I paid particular attention to the following items I knew I could control:
- Opt for uncured, nitrate free meats. Traditional deli meats tend to be very high in sodium & preservatives.
- Search for non-dairy cheese options. Many adults have trouble digesting / absorbing cow’s milk proteins, and ingesting high amounts can cause digestive upset!
- Add color with fruits & vegetables. This will help control the overall calorie intake from too many rich selections and spreads!
- To add a sweet component, try a dark chocolate (80%+). The natural antioxidants found in dark chocolate are an added bonus!
With the assembly help of my handsome husband, we were pretty proud of the final product, and had many social media requests to share the details of our creation! I purchased most of the products at Natural Grocers (no paid affiliation here…I just like their selection of whole food products).
- Keebler Club Crackers (<– hubby’s favorite…there’s no substitute in his mind 🙂
- Crunchmaster Multi Grain Gluten Free Sea Salt Crackers
- Pink Lady Apple, sliced
- Strawberries, sliced lengthwise
- English Cucumber, peeled & sliced
If you are ready to take your party hosting skills up to the next level, give a charcuterie board a try! Look for ways to incorporate a balance of food groups, and leave your guests lots of options when it comes to accommodating a variety of palates and dietary restrictions. I’d love to see what you come up with, or any product additions that you make to your own custom creation! Be sure to share and tag @thelodownonfitness on social media.