No question about it, charcuterie boards are all the rage right now. While it’s certainly not a new idea, according to TimesColonist.com, sausage-style food in France dates back to the 15th century. Whether for the holidays or just for an everyday get-together, a classic charcuterie board is a great way to keep entertaining .
While these delicious spreads are tons of fun, they’re not necessarily known for being terribly healthy. After all, Oxford Languages defines charcuterie as “cold-boiled meat”. A charcuterie board is traditionally known for offering a wide range of sausages and cheeses.
But that doesn’t mean you have to come to terms with certain decisions. There are certainly ways to increase the nutritional power and prepare a healthy, low-calorie sausage board with ingredients that you and your guests will still love. Here are some of our best tips.
Step 1: make a smart selection of low-calorie cheeses.
Cheese is pretty much a staple on the sausage board and probably not something you want to leave out entirely. But you can do it smarter cheese choices to keep your board healthy. Look for reduced fat versions if you can. And remember – like anything else, this is about moderation. A little bit of your favorite cheese won’t derail your diet. It only becomes a problem when you go overboard. If you have a favorite cheese work it into the board, but when you load your plate just limit the number of pieces you take.
Step 2: load up fruits and raw vegetables.
One way to increase the health of your sausage board is to make sure it’s abundantly filled with fresh fruits and raw vegetables. Grapes that are still on the vine are a beautiful and colorful addition to any board. But you can also shred any of your favorite seasonal fruits to add to your display. Rainbow carrots, mini peppers, radishes, cherry tomatoes and sliced cucumbers are essential for the charcuterie board.
Make sure to use a variety of healthy dip options for your veggies, including low-fat dressing, hummus, or maybe even peanut butter. Let your imagination run wild and get creative! After all, charcuterie is so much fun because you can try new things. Having lots of fun dips will make it easy to have more healthy alternatives. You could even add a few Yogurt dip for the fruit!
Check out these 20 healthy dip recipes for the perfect quick and easy starter! >
Step 3: choose whole grain crackers.
The crackers or mini bread slices often found on sausage platters can create a carb loading dilemma. It’s very easy to quickly fill these less than outstanding options.
You can make healthier cracker choices like whole grain or whole grain options that add more fiber to your board. Look for crackers or breads that have a whole grain as their first ingredient. You can also look for sprouted seed or nut crackers for a delicious, crispy note!
If you want to go the extra mile, you can even make crackers yourself. These Sweet potato crackers or this Pumpkin and cranberry crackers would make excellent additions to your plate. When you make your own components, you have complete control over the ingredients you eat.
Step 4: don’t overload the board with meat.
Sausage products often make up a large part of a traditional sausage board. The problem with many cured meats is that they are usually high in salt and contain nitrates. To make your board healthier, limit the number of cured meats and delicacies that you offer and try to use low-sodium options with no added honey or sugar.
Better yet, replace them with a healthier choice. Perhaps instead of salami or hot peppers, use some deli-style smoked turkey. Or maybe you can cut some lean proteins like grilled shrimp or blackened grilled chicken into thin strips. Here, too, you get creative and think outside the box.
Step 5: wrap it up with extra protein.
In addition to some healthier meat dishes, you can also consider making your sausage board high in protein with some healthy options like hard-boiled egg slices or nuts. You could even think about adding some roasted chickpeas.
At the end of the day, the choice is yours. There are no hard and fast charcuterie board rules that you need to follow. In fact, one of the best aspects of creating a board is being able to get creative and really make it your own. When you are in control of the ingredients you can ensure that your board is delicious and nutritious.