What happened when I served a snack tray for dinner?

I recently started to see pictures of elaborate snack trays or charcuterie trays on various social media pages and I was interested. Last week I was trying to figure out what I could serve for dinner that I could prepare ahead, use up some food I already had, and have it be something I could serve quick between activities.  When I took stock of what I wanted to use up, which was some fruits, vegetables, and cheese, I remembered these great pictures of snack trays and thought that might be the answer to what I could serve for dinner.  I was able to make it up before I left to run errands and pick the kids up from school and then served it as soon as we got home.  The great thing was everyone found something that they liked and I was able to serve a meal that represented all the food groups.

Snack Trayedited
Snack Trayedited

This is a picture of the genuine snack tray I served my family. It did not compete with some on the internet pictures, but I wanted to show you all something that was realistic.  I used a cookie sheet and placed the various items on the tray or in bowls around the tray.

Another reason that this could be your answer to dinner dilemmas is that it can be made to accommodate many diet needs. See the following for my suggestions on how to make your snack tray for dinner meet the needs of various family members.

Typical ideas for a snack tray:

Various meats and proteins- lunch meats, roasted chicken, smoked salmon, tuna, or hard boiled eggs

Cheeses- hard cheese, soft cheese, and cheese spreads

Fruits- grapes, raspberries, apples, plums, and orange slices

Vegetables- cherry tomoato, cucumbers, celery, carrots, sugar snap peas, and radishes

Breads and Crackers- baquette, seed crackers, and whole grain crackers

Nuts and seeds- almonds, cashews, pecans, and pumpkin seeds

Spreads and sauces- fruit spreads, honey, spicy mustards, and nut seed butters

Gluten Free Snack tray ideas:

Meats- Check to make sure the meats do not contain fillers that may contain gluten.

Cheeses- Most Cheeses should be fine, but make sure there is no cross contamination when slicing.

Fruits- They are always gluten free.

Vegetables- They are always gluten free.

Crackers- Suggest using the gluten free seed crackers or nut crackers.

Nuts and Seeds- They are typically gluten free, but check those nuts that have flavor coatings on them.

Spreads and sauces- Read the label to make sure the spreads and sauces do not have gluten in them.

Vegan Snack Tray ideas:

Protein foods- Roasted Chickpeas, edamame, nut butters, seed butters, and various nuts.

Fruits- Choose from various fruits.

Vegetables- Many vegetables would be good, but may want to include some of the veggies chips that are popular like sweet potato or beet chips.

Crackers- There are various crackers that are vegan.

Spreads and Sauces- Various flavored mustards, hummus, or bean spreads.

There are other nutrition needs that may need to be accommodated, which include nut free and dairy free. For nut free omit the nuts and nut butters and read cracker labels carefully to make sure there are no nuts in the product.  For dairy free leave out the cheese and cheese spread.  Also, look for milk as an ingredient in crackers.  I hope this has given you another quick dinner idea that you can incorporate with your family.