Jena DeMoss: Bites of fall flavor ­— how to level up your cheese and crackers game

Published 6:27 pm Tuesday, October 3, 2023

The fall season is upon us, and cooler weather brings warm gatherings with family and friends. Whether it is a holiday meal with family, a simple gathering with friends, or a game day rumble, you can’t go wrong with starting everyone off with a cheese and crackers plate. But why just settle with the same old cheese and crackers? As a Hy-Vee registered dietitian, I encourage you to go beyond the traditional cheese and crackers with simple, flavor-popping additions! Follow the tips below to impress your guests with a new take on cheese and crackers.

Start by bringing fall flavor to the board with nutrient-dense additions and spices! Try incorporating roasted squash, such as pumpkin, which can be pureed and added to dips to bring in fall flavor as well as great nutrition. Pumpkin is a source of vitamins A and K plus contains protein and fiber to help you stay full longer. You can also mix in more flavor with spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Impress your guests with the recipe below for Ricotta Pumpkin Dip. Pair it with Simple Mills Honey Cinnamon Seed & Nut Flour Sweet Thins. Made with a blend of watermelon seed flour, cashew flour, sunflower seed flour and flax, and sweetened with coconut sugar – these pop-able treats are perfect to satisfy your sweet tooth and to dip into Ricotta Pumpkin Dip!

Next: Try thinking outside the flavor box with some unique sweet and savory combinations to impress your guests! Try elevating your cheese and cracker pairing by combining Simple Mills Rosemary & Sea Salt Almond Flour Crackers with BelGioioso Whole Milk Ricotta con Latte, figs and honey.

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This recipe contains protein to support satiety, calcium for bone health and vitamin B6, which supports our immune system, brain health and assists in helping our bodies break down the foods we eat into the nutrients our bodies need. If you are looking for a savory option to add to your spread, consider a creamy bean dip, such as a White Bean Dip, and add fresh rosemary for warm fall flavors.

It pairs perfectly with Simple Mills crackers, contains fiber to help fill you and your guests, and is a great alternative to serve instead of traditional cheese and crackers.

Last: Consider packing in the nutrition when selecting the types of cheese served on your board. Cheese like BelGioioso Whole Milk Ricotta con Latte and BelGioioso Parmesan provide protein. Pair that protein with a vitamin C and fiber-rich fruit such as mango or apricot for a pop of color. Then bring it all together with the added protein, fiber and healthy fats found in crunchy Simple Mills crackers.

Ready to get started? Try incorporating one or more of our dietitian tips to impress your guests at your next gathering and bring in the fall flavors with this creamy Ricotta Pumpkin Dip.

Ricotta Pumpkin Dip

All you need

• 16 oz BelGioioso Whole Milk Ricotta con Latte cheese

• 2 tbsp pure pumpkin puree

• 1½ tsp pumpkin pie spice

• 2 tsp maple syrup (or to taste)

All you do

1. Mix all ingredients. Serve with Simple Mills Honey Cinnamon Sweet Thins.

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For more easy recipe ideas and nutrition tips join Hy-Vee registered dietitians for one of their free Wellness Wednesday classes or reach out to learn more about their wide variety of nutrition services to help you meet your health and wellness goals. Visit to get started today!