When I was a teenager, my mom picked up a habit that she’s kept ever since — keeping a plate of crudités in the fridge at all times. It’s her favorite way to have a healthy snack on hand, and now it’s mine, too!
If I’m rummaging around in the kitchen for a snack, my usual M.O. is to grab whatever’s most convenient. All too often, that’s not the healthiest option — my husband’s tortilla chip arsenal is always close at hand, and lots of recipe writing means lots of leftovers.
With just a little bit of advance preparation, though, it’s easy to make a healthier choice in the moment. Here are some tips on ways to plan and make a delicious snack-ready crudité platter!
Tips for Keeping a Crudité Platter On Hand
1. Make it a habit. Whenever you’re heading to the grocery store, take an inventory of the vegetables you’ve got on hand. If you don’t have the makings for a crudité platter, add them to your grocery list.
2. Buy your favorite vegetables. The ones you’re going to enjoy snacking on. I know that might go without saying, but I’ve sometimes fallen into the trap of eating things because they’re supposed to be good for me. Whether it’s crunchy red peppers, tender-crisp blanched green beans, or refreshing sticks of jicama, everyone has their crudité of choice.
3. Set aside some time on Sunday night to get your crudités ready for the week to come. I like to start with a nice plate at the beginning of the week, and refresh it with a handful of cherry tomatoes here, a few more carrot sticks there . . . and then at the end of the week, I’ll wash the plate and start all over again.
4. Make it pretty. You don’t have to whip out your master vegetable carving skills or anything, but take time to line up the carrot sticks, trim the doodads off of the green beans, and generally make the plate look nice. It’ll be much more appetizing that way.
5. Place the platter at eye-level, front and center in your fridge. You want it to be the first thing you see when you’re in hungry bear, I-need-a-snack-right-now mode.
6. Dip it. If you find plain veggies too boring, keep some hummus, spinach or ranch dip, miso dressing (my personal favorite), or other favorite dipping option on hand.
There are many vegetables that would work well for a crudité platter, but here are some of my favorites and the ways I like to prepare them:
- Jicama - So refreshing, especially during summer! Pare away the tough outer layer, then cut the crunchy white vegetable into pieces the same size as you’d cut carrot sticks.
- Cucumbers - Another hydrating choice. I like to quarter Persian cucumbers legthwise, then halve the spears into about 3-inch lengths.
- Carrots - You can’t get more classic. Try out some heirloom varieties in vibrant reds and yellows, or tender, smaller Nantes or Thumbelina carrots, which just need a quick scrub and trim.
- Green Beans - Fresh from the garden or farmers market, they can be delicious raw, but I generally prefer mine blanched. This does take a little extra time, and if I’m bothering with the green beans, I’ll be sure to include other blanched favorites like brussels sprouts, broccoli, or cauliflower.
- Cherry Tomatoes - Rinse, dry, and mound on the plate, or place in a small bowl in the center. Easy.
What are your favorite vegetables to snack on? Do you have any other great tips for how to make healthy grazing choices?
(Image credits: Coco Morante)