By Cindy Tran
It’s girl’s night – and there’s nothing more satisfying than enjoying a glass of wine or two with a mouthwatering grazing platter.
Brimming with seasonal fruits, shaved cold meats, gourmet cheese and a mix of quality crackers – everything about the board looks deliciously indulgent.
And let’s admit it, we have all mindlessly reached for the never-ending tasty nibbles on the board until it’s all gone.
But your typical grazing platter could be the cult behind your dreaded winter bloat, with some containing as many as 7,000 calories.
Here, Sydney founders of science-based nutrition program Equalution Jade Spooner and Amal Wakim breaks down each element that are commonly found on platters – and it’s enough to make you think twice about your next indulgence.
‘We knew that grazing platters would be a culprit for a high calorie consumption given how high calorie all the different elements are,’ Jade told Daily Mail Australia.
‘A lot of platters are generally full of nuts, cheeses, biscuits, deli meats, dips and many more that are all really high in fat.
‘Fat is nine calories per gram as opposed to carbs and protein which are four calories per gram. So high fat foods are overall higher in calories.
‘So after breaking down a grazing platter, we found the highest calorie foods, as expected were things like nuts, dates and more.’
By sharing the graph, Jade said she wanted people to be more mindful the next time they treat themselves to a grazing platter.
‘Here’s the crazy numbers to be aware of when consuming the typical calorie dense foods found on a grazing platter,’ she said.
‘Usually due to the high fat content and just “losing track” while grazing away, unless you’re conscious, a night around a cheese board can be a very calorie costly evening.
‘While it’s true that one meal itself won’t directly lead to fat gain, one meal can in fact counteract a periodic calorie deficit due to its density.’
The entrepreneur explained that spoiling yourself to a grazing platter can undo all your hard work if you’re trying to lose weight.
‘When we do these graphs, we mostly consider the different parts of people’s lifestyle and routines that really disrupt dieting and seeing results,’ she said.
‘Unfortunately cheese and biscuits, along with some alcohol in the mix can make for a really high calorie day.
‘Given that fat loss or weight gain is numeric based, determined by calories in verses calories out, these high calorie days or excessive meals can contribute to counteracting a weekly deficit and jeopardising results.’
So how can people enjoy a grazing platter without feeling guilty?
‘People shouldn’t avoid foods and food groups but instead just be mindful,’ she said.
‘So control portions for instance, instead of consuming the whole wheel of cheese, just have a couple of small wedges.
‘You can also make light switches too. So instead of full fat deli meats such as salami, pastrami and so forth, you can swap to fat free deli meat.
You can also switch to lighter variations of cheese and dips too, as well as Light Jatz or water crackers over full fat Ritz or Jatz.
‘On platters, always pair higher and lower calorie combinations for balance. So for all the nuts and cheese, ensure there’s some fruit, carrot sticks, light dips and more.
‘If you are grazing for a long period of time, you’re not overdoing the calorie dense foods.
There’s nothing better then gathering around some nice cheeses, dips and crackers with friends – you don’t have to forbid and restrict enjoying this, but rather just be mindful of portions, make lighter switches and be conscious when consuming alcohol with calorie dense food.
‘You simply need to understand calorie and macronutrients in the context of what your body needs. This then involves the art of compensation and eating accordingly for the rest of the day,’
Jade said one of the common mistakes people are making is drinking excessive amounts of alcohol with the cheese and meat boards.
‘A lot of people make the mistake of pairing grazing platters with excessive alcohol consumption,’ she said.
‘So what already is quite a calorie dense series of food choices, ends up increased by adding alcohol into the mix.
‘Wine is roughly 125 calories per standard glass so a few glasses of wine (say three) plus 1,000 calories of grazing can equate to a full days worth of food.
‘Platter food is also not all that filling so for a small handful of nuts, a few wedges of cheese plus some crackers and chocolate you can mindlessly clock up – quite easily 500 or so calories without even realising or feeling it.
‘There’s nothing better then gathering around some nice cheeses, dips and crackers with friends – you don’t have to forbid and restrict enjoying this, but rather just be mindful of portions, make lighter switches and be conscious when consuming alcohol with calorie dense food.’
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