The Snack Board Is the Smartest, Healthiest Holiday Dinner

updated May 1, 2019
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

Thanksgiving is over — phew! — but December doesn’t offer much relief. This is the calendar month that fills up the fastest. Between holiday decorating and gift shopping, celebrations and school events, getting dinner on the table quickly is a high priority. But before you reach for the takeout menu, allow us to introduce you to the Snack Board Supper. It just might be the smartest (even healthiest) way to eat during the holidays.

What Is a Snack Board Supper?

Let’s get one thing straight: A snack board is not a cheese board. Instead, think of a snack board as a mini smorgasbord, a collection of small bites served at room temperature on a plate, tray, or board. It can be built entirely from pantry and fridge staples, leftovers, or from a quick trip to the deli at your local grocery store. Snack boards are what you should make when don’t have the time or energy for cooking a full meal. All the effort goes into the shopping and assembly.

But snack boards pack a second, perhaps even more impressive, punch. They might help you eat a bit healthier. Since one of the core principles of a snack board includes always adding vegetables, they help make sure your grazing includes something green (or red, or orange, or yellow — you get the idea). Make it a priority to keep the veggies you love to snack on at the ready in the fridge so on the nights you build a snack board, it’s the veggies you reach for first.

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

A Formula for a Snack Board Supper

For the mathematically minded, the equation is simple: Gather four to five star ingredients; add pickles, vegetables, fruits, and breads; and tie it all together with a unifying dip or dressing. Cheese is an optional inclusion, but not required.

  • Start with four to five starring items. Leftover roasted chicken, vegetables, or bean dip are a great jumping-off point. Hard-boiled eggs, roasted chickpeas or edamame, and cheese of all kinds will round out the filling protein options.
  • Always include vegetables. Vegetables should always be one of the main components, but snack boards don’t play favorites. Pickled vegetables, steamed frozen vegetables, and even canned vegetables are all welcome.
  • Dips are the great unifier. A dip or dressing is essential to a snack board, as it makes seemingly unrelated items come together. A dip can be as simple as mustard for a meaty snack board or a humble vinaigrette for a plant-based board.

How to Assemble a Snack Board Supper

Cooking is not only not required, but it’s also basically counter to the whole point of the snack board. If you do make something, keep it simple. The whole endeavor should only take 15 minutes to throw together.

  • Cook any warm components first. This might be as elaborate as roasting some sweet potatoes or as simple as steaming edamame in the microwave.
  • Rinse and chop any fresh vegetables. Pull pickles, olives, or dips from the fridge and move dips or dressings to a bowl for serving.
  • Pile everything onto individual plates or one large bowl or tray. Additional plates for serving aren’t required, but small knives for spreading and napkins are a nice touch.

Four Snack Board Ideas for Your Holiday Dinners

Do you ever serve snacks for supper? What are your favorite snack board ingredients?