Everywhere you go, no matter if it’s an office party or your immediate family gathering, there’s bound to be an assortment of fruit, vegetables, olives, nuts, seeds, crackers, cheese, etc. spread on the tables. This year, learn how to master making the perfect crudité that’s not only healthy, but will guarantee you the title and responsibility of making these each year!
1. Keep it Fresh
This goes without saying, but always choose the freshest fruits and vegetables possible. Check your local markets and farms to see what’s in season and utilize those first. Try pears, apples, citrus, squash, carrots, peppers, etc. Bored with raw? No worries! Try roasted, lightly steaming, or marinating vegetables to give them a little versatility.
2. Color balance
This goes into presentation, but also nutrition. The more color we eat the more antioxidants and nutrients we consume!
3. Texture balance
Pair fruits and vegetables that complement each other with their texture. For example, a soft pear with crunchy apples or roasted soft carrots with crunchy raw red bell peppers, or roasted butternut squash rounds with raw cucumber. The possibilities are endless, but you always want to make sure you have a mixture of those cooked and raw textures to keep it interesting.
4. Dips and extras
Get creative with your condiments and dips! For fruits, try something sweeter like a coconut whip or a drizzle of honey. For vegetables, you can try these dairy-free options: Artichoke Cashew Cheese Spread, Veggie Nacho Dip, Hummus, and Roasted Eggplant Spread.
Here’s where everything comes together. I love serving these spreads on large white platters, wood pizza cutting boards, or large marble slabs to keep the presentation looking special. Arrange the fruits on one side and vegetables on the others, again paying close attention to the colors and textures! Arrange the dips in small round bowls on the tray itself. Fill in extra space with fresh olives, nuts, seeds, or fermented/pickled beets.
McKel Hill, MS, RD, LDN is an internationally known Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Founder of Nutrition Stripped. Nutrition Stripped is one of the top healthy living websites including whole food recipes, meal plans, cooking videos, nutrition advice, t-shirt line of wearable healthy inspirations, and an incredible community of millions of people who are inspired to live a healthier, happier, and more radiant life. McKel lives in Nashville, TN; yet she hosts retreats, and coaches and consults privately for individuals and high profile brands all over the world. The Nutrition Stripped Cookbook will be published in early 2016.