Last night, my husband and I wanted a slight change of pace for dinner, and we wanted something a little lighter to match the awesome spring weather we’ve been experiencing. We LOVE wine and cheese – so I thought I’d figure out a way to make the traditional cheese plate a little healthier and more of a meal for dinner. Of course – the key word is “healthier” – because it’s all relative. You can’t make a good cheese plate without GREAT cheese – which will always have a lot of fat and calories. BUT – you can make the other parts of the cheese plate healthy so that, when the cheese is eaten in moderation, you end up with a pretty good meal! Here are my tips for making a healthier cheese plate below – enjoy!
1) Great Cheese: So ok, this isn’t the healthiest option for dinner, but if you’re gonna eat cheese – do it right! Get some super high quality cheeses from your local market – Trader Joe’s actually has a great cheese selection. We opted for a good brie, a smokey cheddar, and a rosemary and olive oil infused asiago. SO GOOD!
2) ADD FRUIT! This is a great way to get a lot of fiber and a filling option to pair with the cheese. And don’t skimp on it either – we used 1 bosc pear (thinly sliced), 1 fuji apple (thinly sliced) and lots of red grapes. Between two people that is a lot of fruit and a good amount of fiber (bosc pears and apples have 4-5g of fiber each!)
3) Add Nuts! Specifically – walnuts. They taste great with cheese and are loaded with fiber and healthy omega 3 fatty acids. Yum.
4) Find Good Whole Grain, Low Calorie Crackers: A couple good options: 1) Kellogg’s All Bran Fiber Crackers (18 crackers are only 130 calories and have 5g fiber!) 2) Pepperidge Farm Baked Naturals Wheat Crisps (17 crackers are 140 calories and have 2g fiber).
5) Add a yummy whole fruit spread (with minimal sugar) and honey: Both pare great with cheese and are good for you!
6) Make thin crostinis out of whole wheat, freshly baked bread: Trader Joe’s has a great freshly baked Organic Whole Grain Loaf (1/9 of a HUGE loaf has 180 calories, 6g fiber and 7g protein!)
7) Drink Red Wine: If you like red wine – pick it over white wine in the grocery store. It has healthy antioxidants and tastes sooo good with cheese!
8 ) Add a light salad on the side: This is a great way to get some healthy greens, and you can pare it with your cheeses as well (e.g. arugula and Parmesan go great together).
Hope these tips are helpful – enjoy!!