Everybody loves grilled cheese sandwiches! This gooey, toasty sandwich has been a longtime favorite in lunchrooms across America for decades. We’ll be serving them at our Houston charter school during National Grilled Cheese month and encourage everyone else to try a healthy version as well.
Nutritional Benefits of Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
It’s important for kids and adults to eat a balanced diet. This mean consuming a variety of foods including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy and lean protein to get all the necessary nutrients. Grilled cheese sandwiches can include most or all of these food groups, particularly:
Dairy Cheese provides calcium and protein
Whole Grain Bread Fiber and complex carbohydrates
Grilled cheese sandwiches don’t just taste good, they make people feel good too. It’s a comfort food that often helps people recall fond memories of childhood since we grow up eating these sandwiches from an early age. It’s also easy to prepare and customize, so cooking is stress-free!
Making Grilled Cheese Sandwiches Healthier
Grilled cheese sandwiches have all the ingredients for a healthy snack or meal. But there are a few ways you can make your favorite recipe even healthier.
Use Whole Grain Bread
As mentioned above, whole wheat or whole grain bread is a much healthier option than white bread. Whole wheat has:
- Fewer calories on average
- Fewer carbohydrates on average
- More dietary fiber
- More vitamins
- More nutrients
Add Veggies Into the Mix
When students are out in our Urban Farm we always encourage them to add vegetables to every meal. Lots of veggies, like tomatoes or onions, can be added to a grilled cheese sandwich for extra flavor and nutrients.
Opt for Low-Fat Cheese Options
Very young children benefit from consuming whole milk and diary products, but the rest of us are better off selecting low-fat cheese alternatives. Today there are low-fat options for cheddar, mozzarella, swiss and more.
Don’t Overload the Cheese
Even if you use a low-fat cheese, too much of a good thing can add on unnecessary calories. Limit your sandwiches to just two slices of cheese.
Use Olive Oil Instead of Butter
Many people add a layer of butter to the outside of the bread before grilling up their sandwich. A healthier option is to use olive oil instead. You’ll still get a crispy sandwich but with a lot less fat.
Fun Grilled Cheese Recipes to Try
BT Grilled Cheese Add turkey bacon and tomato to your grilled cheese for a classic BLT twist.
Using a toaster oven you can make an open-faced grilled cheese sandwich that has bread only on the bottom. This will help reduce carbs and calories. Layer veggies on top for added nutrients.
Sweet Strawberry Grilled Cheese Treat By adding strawberries to your grilled cheese you can add a hint of sweetness and lots of antioxidants. The fruit pairs especially well with white cheese like low-fat brie.
Avocado Grilled Cheese Add healthy protein to your grilled cheese with a few slices of creamy avocado. Just be careful not to go overboard with the avocado since it is high in fat.