Eat Empowered

Give the Gift of Heart-Healthy Charcuterie Boards for Two (or Three or More!) This Valentine’s Day

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Looking for a way to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year without going out to an over-crowded restaurant? Or maybe you’re ditching the Super Bowl festivities and opting for a Galentine’s celebration with your favorite gal-pals? Here’s an idea: Individual charcuterie boards.

Charcuterie boards are simple, fun and customizable. Individual boards are a concept that’s also perfect for these pandemic times as it swaps the communal nature of party platters with your very own personalized meal on a board. With our easy tips, you can also be sure that you and your loved ones are celebrating in style without sabotaging your healthy diets.

Nutritious Life founder Keri Glassman, MS, RD, CDN, loves a good party and adores showing people how to create a healthy spread for any occasion.

“The key with these beautiful charcuterie boards is to keep them balanced—meaning lots of variety—without adding too much food,” Keri says. “Keeping your portions reasonable will make all the difference between an enjoyable Valentine’s or Galentine’s Day meal and an overindulgent one. And who needs that!”

One of the big boons of individual charcuterie boards is that they’re all about assembly rather than labor-intensive cooking. That way you can actually relax and enjoy the day. They also add a gorgeous tableau of colors, textures and a variety of flavors, with something for everyone to love.

The best part? It really doesn’t matter how many people you’re celebrating with, you can create an individual board for any and all of your loves this holiday.

Here are Keri Glassman’s hot tips for healthy Valentine’s Day charcuterie boards.

What to Include in a Healthy Charcuterie Board

Charcuterie Board

Before you begin assembling your boards, you’ll need to have … the right boards! You can use any clean cutting boards that you already have, or even opt for small platters. If you’re looking to splurge a little and really amp up the wow factor, here’s a few of our current favorite charcuterie board options in stores now.

West Elm’s Mixed Marble and Wood Preston Cheese Boards

Mixed Marble & Wood Preston Cheeseboards
(Image: West Elm)

Bamboo Cheese Board and Cutlery Set at Home Depot

Bambusi Bambo Cheeseboard and Cutlery Set
(Image: Home Depot)

Tondo Serving Boards at Crate + Barrel

Tondo serving boards
(Image: Crate + Barrel)

Cheese

Start with cheese. Yes, you read that right!

“Cheese actually is one of my favorite things to recommend to clients who are trying to lose weight,” Keri says. “I don’t recommend eating a lot of it or eating it often, but a little bit of cheese goes a long way with flavor and makes you feel like you’re really indulging.”

Cheese is satisfying and a great source of protein and calcium.

Keri’s tip: Start with a variety of 2-3 cheeses. Mix it up with your favorite aged, hard and soft cheeses, just don’t overdo it. Remember, a little goes a long way with cheese.

Vegetables

Next step: Load your boards up with vegetables. They obviously add a burst of color, but they also add fiber to help fill you up. Veggies are a great source of antioxidants—which we know are important to fight those bad-guy free radicals—and water, which also helps fill you up.

Keri’s tip: Mix up your veggies to make sure you’ve got lots of color on your boards. I like to include radishes, cauliflower, carrots, peppers, blanched asparagus and tomatoes. If you really want to shake things up, add some pickled veggies for a burst of flavor and gut-friendly probiotics.

Dip

Beetroot dip

With veggies, you of course want to add a dip. Dips are a great way to get practically anyone interested in eating raw veggies. The trick here is to make sure your dip isn’t full of unhealthy preservatives, artificial ingredients and too much sodium.

Keri’s tip: To make sure your dip is as healthy as possible, make your own. A great way to add more color to your boards is to make a beet-based dip like this Nutritious Life fave: Beetroot Dip With Crudite. The recipe mixes blended beets with olive oil and Greek yogurt for an earthy, tangy combo with a beautiful, Insta-worthy pop of color.

For more dip ideas, check out 7 Delicious, Healthy Dips That Go Way Beyond Hummus and Guac.

Meats

Charcuterie boards are often about the cured meats that pair so well with cheese, crackers, and olives. Cured lunch meats, though, are not typically a healthy choice.

But there are options here, including high-quality, grass-fed cured meats, or some healthy jerky.

Nuts

The perfect way to add savory notes to your charcuterie board is with roasted, flavored nuts.

Keri’s tip: Skip the store-bought varieties, which can be full of additives and too much sodium, and make your own (healthier!) nut mix. You can toss your nuts of choice with some sea salt and cayenne for a burst of flavor and crunch, or try this recipe for Rosemary Spiced Nuts.

Olives

Olives are delicious in all their briny, bitter glory. They also pair so perfectly with the other charcuterie ingredients.

Keri’s tip: Reduce them in wine to add a little kick, and add a bit of dried rosemary or thyme for some herbal tones.

Crackers

It’s nice to have a variety of cracker options with your charcuterie boards. For your love who might be following a paleo diet, or avoiding grains, make sure to include a grain-free cracker option for them. One of our favorites is Absolutely Gluten-Free flatbread crackers (which are grain-free too!) If you want to up the ante even more, try this simple recipe for gluten- and grain-free nut and seed bread. It’s packed with protein, omega-3s and antioxidants, and it’s delicious.

Sweets

What’s Valentine’s Day without adding some sweets to your board for your sweetheart? Keep those sugars natural and avoid the pitfalls of too much added sugar, which can cause all sorts of digestive discomfort and health concerns with prolonged over-consumption.

Instead of a jam or marmalade on your boards, think dried fruits such as apricots, cherries and figs. Pair it with some fresh fruit. This can include grapes, raspberries and whatever else is in season where you live.

Of course, who are we to shun the ultimate Valentine’s Day sweet: Chocolate-covered strawberries? Yes, chocolate typically has added sugars, but some types of chocolate are healthier than others and … it’s Valentine’s Day, so indulge a little..

Keri’s tip: Remember the tip about indulging in a little bit of cheese? The same applies for chocolate. Indulge consciously, and satisfy your sweet tooth while you’re at it!

Enjoy!

We’ve given you all the tools you need to create some colorful charcuterie boards for a cozy evening at home with whomever you plan to spend Valentine’s Day with–even if it’s by yourself. (Hey, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with some self-love! In fact, it’s always a great idea. Fill your cup first, girl, and nurture yourself before you can nurture others.)

Once your cup runneth over, share the love (and antioxidants, fiber, healthy fat and protein!) with these healthy, creative and customized charcuterie boards.

(Images: Shutterstock)

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