There are very few things that I love more than a good charcuterie board. This time of year is full of gatherings and people stopping over. A charcuterie board is a simple but elegant way to feed a crowd and allow people to pick and choose items that they want to eat. While I love charcuterie, I am a firm believer that not all charcuterie boards are created equal and I have come up with five tips to help you up your charcuterie board game to make a healthier charcuterie board for your next gathering or fun, casual meal.
- VARIETY: With so many people who have dietary restrictions and food sensitivities, have lots of choices for everyone. Having an assortment of meat, cheese, olives, fruits and/or veggies, dips, crackers (like my absolute favorite Simple Mills Fine Ground Sea Salt Crackers that those who do and do not eat gluten love!), nuts, pretzels, bread sticks, dark chocolate, etc.
- HEALTHIER CONDIMENTS: Add in healthier condiments and dips to accompany the items on the charcuterie board such as mustards, hummus, yogurt based dips, homemade pesto and raw honey.
- BETTER MEAT CHOICES: While cured meats are inherently salty, choose options that aren’t also loaded with preservatives! Look for organic meats, meats labeled “all natural” and meats labeled “uncured” (they’re still cured, just typically in a more natural way!) when choosing your meat for charcuterie boards. Many times, prosciutto is made with just ham and salt. While these are better choices, don’t eat tons of these cured meats as the salt content is typically pretty high!
- BETTER FRUIT & NUT CHOICES: Use better dried fruit and nuts! If you are adding dried fruit, check the label for added sugar, oil and preservatives. If you are buying nuts, look for ones that are raw or dry roasted (roasted but using no added oil).
- HAVE FUN: Be creative and don’t stress about it! You can’t mess this up!
If you follow Based Wellness on Facebook or Instagram, tag me in your next charcuterie creation so I can check it out!
One of my friends asked me for some meal ideas and after I responded, I realized that a lot of people freak out when they are thinking about making healthier changes to their diet because they picture themselves constantly hungry and chewing on a boring salad for every meal. Luckily, this is not the case and to prove it, I have compiled a long list with ideas of simple ingredients you can mix and match to create flavorful, healthy meals. Checkout the downloadable version of the list below! Print it out or pull it up on your phone when you are at the grocery store or poking around in your fridge to inspire you!
Some Ideas To Get You Started:
- Southwest Salad:
Romaine + Quinoa + Black Beans + Corn + Onion + Tomato + Avocado + Salsa
- Greek Salad:
Romaine + Garbanzo Beans + Green Peppers + Cucumber + Tomato + Artichokes + Hummus
- Pad Thai:
Zucchini Noodles + Edamame + Red Peppers + Carrots + Sugar Snap Peas + Tofu + Peanuts
- Chicken Soup Bowl:
Chicken Broth + Brown Rice + Grilled Chicken + Broccoli + Radishes + Parsley
- Asian Noodle Soup Bowl:
Vegetable Broth + Rice Noodles + Shrimp + Kale + Mung Bean Sprouts + Scallions + Sesame Seed Oil
This is a great way to use up leftover produce from the week or to throw together a quick lunch or dinner that can be easily tweaked for a variety of preferences in a family! For a fun spin on dinner or to feed a group, pick one or two items from the base list and put out a bunch of toppings, proteins and dressings to let everyone make their own!
In case you have been living under a rock…it’s THAT time of year, ya know the one where there are a bunch of holidays coming up and everyone is getting sick. This time of year, while super festive, can be extremely chaotic and stressful and also full of sniffles and coughs. It’s common for people to reach for vitamin C once they’re already sick (I know I always did!), but the latest studies and evidence show that ingesting Vitamin C post cold onset does not help in reducing the length or severity of the illness. While the aforementioned holds true regarding the general population and while further research may be conducted, some studies have shown that taking vitamin C daily could help reduce the likelihood of contracting a cold in those who are at risk for vitamin C deficiency, those who subject their body to extreme, rigorous exercise and those who, for whatever reason, have prolonged periods of exposure to cold temperatures.
Despite the lack of evidence for using vitamin C to reduce the duration and severity of colds, vitamin C is absolutely crucial to our health and the majority of us are able to get the amount our bodies need just from our diet alone, without supplementation. Vitamin C is an antioxidant, plays a role in helping with the regeneration of vitamin E (another antioxidant), helps to metabolize protein and is necessary for our bodies to produce collagen. In summary, vitamin C is important for our body to function, but you shouldn’t necessarily expect a recovery miracle from using it while you’re sick with a cold!
So what can you do when you have a cold? Aside from rest and drinking lots of fluids, the most recent studies and reviews show that Zinc is actually helpful in combating colds by reducing the severity and duration of symptoms when consumed within 24 hours of when your symptoms begin. Zinc can be found in dietary sources such as oysters, beef, pork, chicken, yogurt and cashews. Since the richest dietary sources of zinc are found in meat, vegetarians should consider supplementation, as should people with gastrointestinal issues (they could have decreased absorption capabilities) and women who are pregnant and breastfeeding (the fetus of a pregnant woman requires a lot of zinc and breastfeeding can cause zinc depletion).