Make a Health(ier) Cheese Plate

by Anjali @ The Picky Eater on April 18, 2010

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 pair 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 pair it with your cheeses as well (e.g. arugula and Parmesan go great together).

Hope these tips are helpful – enjoy!!

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Lori Lynn at Taste With The Eyes April 18, 2010 at 11:21 pm

I love this post. We are big cheese fans, always looking for healthy ideas, your tips are great!
LL

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Tee April 19, 2010 at 9:37 am

I never thought of making a cheese platter a complete meal. We usually just have it as a snack. Great suggestions for expanding it!

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater May 7, 2010 at 7:22 am

Thanks Lori Lynn and Tee! So happy you enjoyed this post. I’m a big cheese fan as well! 🙂

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Lisa May 13, 2010 at 7:43 pm

I think the fruit also makes the plate look nicer, I do think the picture looks appealing above.

Probably the fruit is the best way to make it healthier. I suspect good quality cheese needs less to let you feel satisfied also.

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater May 14, 2010 at 7:24 am

That is definitely true Lisa – the more fruits and veggies you can incorporate, the better! And yes, high quality cheese is always the most satisfying – I love experimenting with new cheeses to keep my palate interested!

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AnneJ July 9, 2011 at 1:12 pm

Also instead of the green salad you can whip up some homemade dips and pestos with fresh herbs, spinach or other greens, along with lemon, evoo, sun dried tomatoes, etc to get the requisite greens on a cracker :).

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater July 10, 2011 at 7:25 am

Great idea Anne! I might just add those dips alongside the green salad – you can never have too many veggies!

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Vanessa December 24, 2012 at 7:04 am

This looks SOOOO yummy, thank you for the tips!

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater January 7, 2013 at 7:21 am

Thanks so much Vanessa! Glad these tips were helpful!

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