Grilled cheese sandwiches have always accompanied a big bowl of soup in my house. However, when I was a child, a slab of cheese product (the kind found on a shelf next to the canned cheese), was wedged between two slices of white bread and slathered with enough butter to prevent it from sticking to the skillet. Listening to it sizzle away in the pan was heaven. As I grew older and learned what healthier eating was, I found ways to make even a simple grilled cheese sandwich into a healthy option for lunch or dinner.
I’ve found most breads work well for grilled cheese sandwiches. It doesn’t matter if you use rye, wheat, or sprouted bread. Using bread made from whole grains is a healthy option to choose. Try choosing bread without a lot of preservatives, high sodium, or lots of added sugars. Best yet, if you can make your own bread, then you’ll know it’s not only going to be tasty, but fresh.
While the everlasting boxed cheese offers the gooeyness I craved as a child, I’ve learned that messy doesn’t always mean better. There are so many wonderful cheeses in the world that also are a much, much healthier option for a grilled cheese sandwich. [You can even make your own cheese!] Besides flavor, it’s also good to remember that a little bit of cheese can go a long way. It isn’t necessary to slice off an inch-thick piece of cheese for a single sandwich. A thin slice of cheese can be as satisfying and better for your heart, cholesterol level, and digestive system.
There’s nothing wrong with adding a piece of tomato or slathering on a thin layer of pesto before adding the cheese slice. Some people even mix some cheese with a bit of mashed beans to add some fiber to their grilled cheese sandwich.
Melted butter is often the first thing that comes to mind when I think of what is needed to keep my grilled cheese sandwich from sticking to the skillet while it cooks. I’ve learned to swap out butter for a small amount of olive oil instead. I have also omitted butter and oil altogether and made grilled cheese sandwiches in my non-stick sandwich maker. If you aren’t familiar with sandwich makers, they are sort of like a waffle iron for sandwiches. You can spray a bit of non-stick cooking spray on the sides if you’re worried about oozing cheese sticking to the hot surfaces, but most sandwich makers are non-stick already. They are wonderful for more than just grilled cheese sandwiches too!
Whichever combination you decide to use for your next grilled cheese sandwich, try to create a healthier version and see what you come up with. Who knows, you just might find something new you can’t live without!
What ways have you made your grilled cheese sandwiches healthier?