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The Monthly (Not So) Monger: New Year, New Me

Ringing in a new year, people across the globe prepare new resolutions, in hopes that they might be kept. The classic resolutions of exercising, cutting down on tv time, and eating healthy are difficult to follow through with. Without proper guidance and accountability, most resolutions are quickly dropped.

Oftentimes individuals fail to realize how effective a healthy diet is to stay in good health. Sadly, boring greens and flavorless meals are less appetizing, the look alone can dampen one’s ‘eat-fresh’ attitude. Here’s where cheese comes into play. Ranging from wheel to block and shredded to sliced, cheese adds an immense array of flavor while both looking and tasting delicious.

Coming in many forms, cheese has the ability to fit into a plethora of diets. Packed with calcium and vitamins, cheese provides necessary daily nutrients. With the slightest of modifications, cheese can be for anyone, even those with dairy allergies. 

A platter of healthy foods.

Since society emphasizes trying to improve one’s diet at the start of the new year, now is the best time to create a nutritious and tasteful board. Cheese is extremely versatile and can be enjoyed with countless sides. For those ready to branch out from the classic pairing of cheese and crackers, there are endless options to try. Apple slices, for example, exude a sweet crunch to go along with softer, less flavorful cheeses. Broadening horizons by trying new combinations leads to finding out what is most liked, and going with the month’s theme, could potentially be healthier. 

To start, I bought a few types of vegetables that stood out appearance-wise. The produce section carried a large variety of colors and shapes. One fresh item added to the board was radish chips. The chips have a crunchy texture and taste crisp and fresh. By slicing a radish as one would a potato chip, it looked much more appealing. A great marketing tactic, creating a food facade.

Exuding such exotic colors, rainbow baby carrots were an eye-catching item. To pair with both fresh vegetables, a bowl of pine-nut hummus sat semi-center on the board. A container containing dips, spreads, olives, etc., creates the perfect circle to fan food items around. The carrots or radishes dipped in hummus were a great mixture. Hummus has many health benefits and is comparatively better than fat-packed condiments like ranch.

Snap pea crisps lined the carrot bowl, providing saltiness and a crunch. Dried fruits and veggies are just like unhealthy chips, but are the healthier counterpart.

A feature for this month is something many cheese lovers avoid. Dairy isn’t for everybody, some are completely unable to eat it. Hence why this month includes a vegan cheese. The orange slices exclude common ingredients such as dairy, gluten, soy, and preservatives. Cheddar flavored, it was true to label. The piece immediately broke apart when chewed. It felt grainy but similar to most cheddars. Even without dairy, this was a favorite of many guests who ate the board. Vegan cheddar ended up being just like “normal” cheese.

Swiss cheese is ranked seventh on the list of healthiest cheeses. It also contains a very low amount of sodium, which can help decrease the risk of heart failure. Old Tyme Swiss, a classic tasting cheese, held its usual pungent and nutty flavor. To pair with it, slices of Red Delicious apples circled the tub of hummus. Mostly mild in flavor, it combined well with the less strong cheese.

Ribbed slices of pistachio cheese display a unique organizational style. Wedge-cut cheeses from a wheel are able to be sliced into triangle shapes and lined up in this fun way. This cheese tasted very earthy and fresh, with a hint of pistachio nut. Also ranking higher on the healthy scale and low in sodium, pistachio nut cheese is great for snacking on. 

Shockingly, this nutritious board cost much less than any previously on the Hawk Herald. Healthy foods like produce, dips, and crisps, cost just the same if not less than unhealthy snacks. Living fresh isn’t always more affordable, but it is worth it to try. Finding the perfect combination is the key to eating fresh and loving what you eat.

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