We know what you might be thinking: “a healthier grilled cheese? Come on.”
And you’re right. Grilled cheese is delicious and craveable because it is what it is — a lovely, comforting sandwich of grilled, gooey, creamy cheese. It’s difficult to call this health food without completely eliminating the joy of it all. But there are smarter ways to enjoy such a decadent meal without making a massive calorie commitment or derailing your healthy eating goals.
Eating grilled cheese doesn’t have to be a cheat and can be part of a nutritious, comforting meal that’s quick to make and perfect for chilly weather. First, a few solid tips for making your healthiest grilled cheese sando:
- Use whole-grain bread instead of plain white bread
- Choose gooey cheeses over hard cheeses — they melt faster.
- Melt a bit of butter to brush the sides of the bread before grilling or use olive oil to cut back on the added cooking fat.
- Slather a bit of yogurt or ricotta on one side of the sandwich to bolster the cheesy flavor, without all of the fat.
Now that you’re on your way to your healthiest, melty-est grilled cheese, we’ll share our favorite ways to enjoy a healthier grilled cheese sandwich!
1. LOAD ON (HEALTHY!) EXTRAS
Yes, a grilled gooey, cheesy sandwich is delicious — especially when you layer in cheeses with different flavors. But just like any other dish, exciting flavors are compounded when you include more textures and flavors, and there’s no rule that says the only thing that belongs in a grilled cheese is cheese. Try adding thin slices of apple or pear, sauteéd mushrooms, fresh arugula, sauteéd kale or even avocado to bring out the best flavors in your cheese. This adds fiber and vitamins while cutting down on the amount of cheese you need to prepare a delicious sando.
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2. PREP A WHOLE, GRILL A HALF
Instead of eating an entire grilled cheese sandwich and calling it a meal, chop your sando in half and enjoy a grilled cheese now and another one for another meal! We love the idea of prepping a whole sandwich, cutting it in half and grilling half. Set the other prepped half aside for another time when you’ve got a hankering for a gooey cheese fix. Enjoy the half sandwich with a cup of soup or a small salad to make it a more well-rounded meal.
3. MAKE GRILLED CHEESE STICKS OR BITES
A whole grilled cheese is delicious, but there’s something about little grilled cheese bites that are just to die for. They’re big enough to satisfy a craving but small enough to help maintain calorie goals. To make them, cook a whole grilled cheese sandwich then allow it to cool a bit . Next, slice it into long strips and then into smaller, bite-sized squares. Enjoy a couple of the bites with soup, as croutons in salad or even as a quick snack.