It’s already March – how are those New Year’s resolutions going? For most of us, they’ve started to fizzle by now. If you had the best intentions to eat a little healthier and include more fruits and vegetables in your eating plan, it’s time to recharge those resolutions and get creative. What better way to enjoy nutrient-rich foods than by sharing them with those you love in a plant-forward bountiful board!
When it comes to “boards,” you are probably most familiar with the trendy charcuterie board. The word, “charcuterie” itself is a French term that refers to a type of shop that sells meats as well as the cured meats served in that shop. While you can definitely include meats and other protein in your sharable board, today, we are all about the plants!
Fruits and vegetables are the answer to create a colorful, appetizing board perfect for spring! All forms of produce can fit from fresh, frozen, canned, dried, or even juice! For fresh, look for what’s in season in your area. Great spring options include crunchy carrots, roasted asparagus, or tart berries. For convenience and complexity, use frozen spinach or broccoli to make dips or spreads to serve alongside whole grain crackers; adding much needed variety and texture to your board. Canned or dried fruit can be served alone or on top of mini parfaits with yogurt and whole grain granola to add a touch of sweetness. For a refreshing and hydrating twist, fill small cups or glasses with 100% juice and add them strategically to your spread. Don’t forget about other varieties of plant foods too including pickled veggies, marinated olives, toasted nuts and seeds, hummus made from canned beans, and fresh herbs added for color and aroma.
To build your board, start with a few whole or largely sliced pieces of fruit or vegetables. Next, add any bowls or dishes for spreads and dips since these are bulky and typically take up the most space. This is also when you could add a protein source like cheese or meat if you choose. Then, start adding any decorative elements such as fresh herbs or creative cuts of produce. Lastly, add whole grain crackers and condiments and fill in the remaining gaps with fruits, pickles, and nuts. And voila! You’ve created a beautiful and bountiful board, bursting with nutrients and flavor, which also happens to help you meet your health goals. It’s a win-win-win!