A meal doesn’t always have to fit the constructs of the multi-step, simmering, braising, crusted finish that dazzles on the plate like a game show host’s million dollar grin. Sometimes it’s what you’ve pulled out of a bag of cheese, a jar of nuts and the door of the fridge that makes for a truly yummy experience.
Example: One of my favorite things to eat, despite my apparent love for complex processes during cooking is a simple platter with olives, cubed cheddar cheese, almonds and pepperoni.
In fact, that’s what I’m having right now for breakfast–and having a hard time polishing off due to the fat content which makes me full quickly.
Reasons to enjoy a plate like this? One: It’s finger worthy. You grab it, nosh it, and don’t need utensils. Two: It’s easy to transport. Three: The high amount of fat makes you full faster. Four: If you’re a grazer, you’ll find your need to snack satisfied, but while eating essentially a meal in terms of protein and fat.
Here’s the breakdown for a sample snack platter:
10 green, stuffed olives 35 calories, 1 carb
1 ounce cheddar cheese 101 calories, 1 carb
16 slices pepperoni 164 calories, 1 carb
27 almonds 172 calories, 2 net carbs
Total: 472 calories, 5 net carbohydrates (8 total if you count them all), 20g protein and 42 g fat.
While that sounds like a lot of fat and calories in one sitting, that’s really the point: perfection because of fat values. High enough to keep you satisfied for hours at 63% fat. So what might seem steep, has created a plate I’ve only made it half way through and I’m already full. It’s a pretty satisfying way to eat.
And while the servings sound precise, and they are– it’s for a reason: Serving sizes aren’t always intuitive. It’s easy to grab a handful of something and eat it without even realizing it’s gone. Serving sizes are a good tool for adhering to your lifestyle 90 out of 100 times, so that on the 91st time, when you’re in a hurry and out the door, you can grab a handful and not panic. So be mindful of servings sizes and don’t assume three ounces of cheese are really one. That can undo you on any weight loss plan.
Now for the fun stuff:
You can enjoy the cheese on the strips of pepperonis, eat them separately, wrap the olives with the pepperoni slices after putting almonds in the olives–there are all sorts of perverted and lovely ways to incorporate a snack plate into your meal.
There are four elements on the plate:
Crunch and sodium: almonds, macadamia, celery
Flat protein: for the fat, spice and texture; could really use any meat, tofu if vegetarian
Cheese: fat, texture, consistency; any cheese you like cubed or in slices works here
Round, juicy element with pop: Olives, grape/cherry tomatoes
Some plate ideas:
Pizza Platter: Pine nuts, pepperoni, string cheese and black olives
Salad Platter: Almonds, sliced/cubed chicken, bleu cheese and grape tomatoes
Fresh Platter: Celery, pepperoni, cheddar cheese and green olives
Greek Platter: Almonds, salami, feta and Kalamata olives
Make sure to keep fat content high enough to where you’re not looking at hunger pangs in the near future, stick to portion sizes and remember: Good food doesn’t have to be ‘prepared’ to be enjoyed.