Our new normal for millions of families out there consists of one or both parents working from home along with their kids starting online school. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about many challenges and opportunities as we navigate this new reality.
Our daughter, Hannah, started 11th grade and our son, Evan, has started 8th grade – both are set up at their own desks and computers for the next nine weeks of in-home learning until cases in Texas go down. This semester, kids are expected to log on to their live classes and attend lectures at structured times. If you don't log on in time, you are late! The structure is much needed, but it does present with the need to have things ready ahead of time. That includes lunch.
Lunch breaks are typically limited in time just like it was for in school lunches. Although here in homes, parents are also trying to navigate their own lunch breaks at the same time as the kids -- and that can cause a bit of chaos trying to navigate a well-rounded plate that is fast, tasty & easy for all.
Problem Solved with Charcuterie Boards
Enter in my idea of a charcuterie board for family lunches. Charcuterie (pronounced "shahr-ku-tuh-ree") is a French word combining the French words for flesh (chair) and cooked (cuit). Technically, charcuterie boards are cured meats with accompaniments such as cheese, fruits and spreads. But now charcuterie boards have expanded to basically anything you want. If you wanna just be practical, you can call it simply a food board.
Charcuterie boards are a perfect option for multiple families going in and out of the kitchen at different schedules. Just grab a plate and pick off what looks interesting! It's so easy to make a board that has various colors, textures that tantalize the eyes with curiosity.
Make Your Own Charcuterie Lunch Board
For this one that I made, I literally pulled what I had out of my refrigerator after grocery shopping in preparation of starting the kids back to school. Make it super easy or get more fancy. It's up to you. But you want to have a variety of food groups. We teach kids and adults that a meal is at least 3 food groups consisting of some protein, grains / starch and then some produce – fruit, vegetable or both. The variety of food groups naturally balances the plate with all that the body needs and is the most satisfying way to eat.
Step #1: Pick your actual board. One thing that I didn’t think about was it fitting back into my refrigerator! I have this basic, large 20x15 white cutting board that really make the colors of food pop very nicely. Be sure to pick one that you can cover with plastic cloth wrap and pop back in the fridge for the next day. You can easily add to it with more selections or switch them up for the next day.
Step #2: Choose your items. Pick at least 2 of each: protein, fruit, vegetable, grain/starch and dips. Space out the colors and textures so the board looks balanced. Consider choosing some items that your family already likes and eats, but fold in some new things. Items that cannot be picked up by hand should go in little ramekins with spoons or knives (beans, dips, spreads).
Step #3: Eat! Encourage families to experience the flavor profiles as foods are combined such as fruit and cheese, or sour and sweet – or even crunchy with smooth textures. A charcuterie board really allows for the experience of various foods to complement each other.
Explore Your Own Charcuterie Boards
We have started a charcuterie board on Pinterest to get some of your creative juices flowing. Check them out!
My friend and dietitian colleague, Robin Plotkin, recently started a side business called Board Mama. She makes customized charcuterie boards for people special order. for anyone in the Dallas area. Other fun things Robin offers are virtual charcuterie board group classes (you don't need to be local) and she even makes “Barkcuterie” boards for your favorite pup! Check out the Board Mama website and be sure to follow them on social media for ongoing inspiration.
If you need more customized ideas for your family, consider meeting with one of our dietitians. We offer in-person and virtual consultations. Virtual sessions can be done across the country – no need to live where we are headquartered in Texas. Give us a call today at 888-422-8070 and learn more about how insurance covers most visits. You can also visit us online at lemondnutrition.com.
No information on this site should be used to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition.