86% of Americans enjoy grilled cheese sandwiches and about ¾ of cheese-buying Americans eat a grilled cheese sandwich about once a month. But for a lot of us, grilled cheese conjures us a greasy image that doesn’t shout “healthy”. Here are some tweaks to allow you to enjoy the great nutrition of a grilled cheese sandwich without the worrying over your health.
Bread. Choose your bread wisely. A higher fiber, wholegrain bread is always the best choice. Choose something that will hold up to some pressure since we’re not going to have a fried cheese sandwich but a grilled one.
Cheese. Choose an actual cheese (not a cheese-food or cheese-like product). A sharper, more flavorful cheese means you can use less while getting more bang for your calorie-buck. Mix it up and keep it exciting – a spicy pepper Colby, or even a blue cheese can get you out of the traditional, boring grilled cheese rut.
Extras. This is where the grilled cheese of your childhood gets a makeover to hold its own in any gourmet menu. Caramelized onions, refried black beans, sliced apples, hot sauce or chutney make excellent parings for your sandwich and not only jack up the flavor, but the nutrition as well.
Slather not. Step away from the mayo or the butter, and keep your bread slather-free. You can get a crisp bread without drenching it in unnecessary fat.
Grill don’t fry. Try a Panini press, a grill machine, or even a waffle maker to make your grilled cheese. You’ll get a nice even heat, crisp outside and gooey inside without the smoke alarm going off from burning one side in a pan on the stove. Keeps the kitchen cooler as well and allows you to make more sandwiches quicker for a crowd.
And as always, pair that sandwich with some great produce – whether it’s a chunky tomato soup or a fresh salad. With a few tweaks, you can healthfully add grilled cheese to your menu.