Who doesn’t love a grilled cheese? My favorite way to eat this delicious classic is washing it down with my Mom’s home-grown-home-canned tomato soup. However, is it possible for this savory and delicious sandwich to fit into a healthy diet? Absolutely! In fact, my whole goal is to help you find balance and joy with food and add nutrients whenever possible. These easy ways to make a healthier grilled cheese will do just that – let you enjoy a favorite comfort food while packing it with extra nutrients at the same time. Eating healthy shouldn’t be boring OR monotonous.
4 Hacks to Make a Healthier Grilled Cheese
1. Choose your cheese wisely.
Avoiding processed cheese like Velveeta and American cheese can be one of the easiest ways to improve the quality of your grilled cheese. It may take some time to adjust your tastes to a different kind of cheese, but hang in there it will happen! Experiment with different natural cheeses to find just what you like best. My favorite cheese for a grilled cheese is sharp white cheddar, fresh mozzarella (add a slice of tomato and basil to make it pizza-style!), or swiss.
2. Enjoy a better bread.
Choosing a healthier bread can help you get more nutrients and fiber. Sprouted grains offer a variety of benefits and a high quality sprouted grain bread can make a delicious grilled cheese! But even if you don’t choose sprouted grains, whole grain bread is always a much better option than refined white bread.
3. Mix it up with veggies in the middle!
It turns out some veggies go perfectly in a grilled cheese. For example, my friend Jennifer Hunt, RDN over at Healthy-Inspiration shows how she mixes chopped broccoli in her grilled cheeses! This is a brilliant idea and a wonderful way to make sure your family gets in more veggies. You could also get creative by trying other veggies such as making a healthier grilled cheese with spinach or even a few slices of avocado.
4. Add mushrooms for flavor and nutrients.
Mushrooms are packed with fiber, vitamins, and nutrients, which makes them a perfect way to add a variety of health benefits to your grilled cheese. Plus, mushrooms act as prebiotics, which are basically fertilizers for all of the good bacteria in your gut! The umami flavor and meaty texture of mushrooms make them the perfect addition to a grilled cheese.
Chopped portabello mushrooms are my favorite, but most varieties will work well! Just spray some olive oil (I use and love my frosted glass Misto) in a pan (read this article to make sure you buy the right kind of olive oil) with your favorite seasoning (or even just a little salt and pepper) and saute your mushrooms lightly before adding to your grilled cheese.
Serving Your Healthier Grilled Cheese
Another simple way to add nutrition to any meal is to consider what you are eating alongside your main dish. For example, if you typically enjoy your grilled cheese with chips on the side, you could switch them out for a salad or veggie-packed soup. Fresh fruit or fresh veggies with hummus are more great ways to bulk up the antioxidants, fiber, and overall health of your grilled cheese.
Let us know if you try and love any of these ideas to make a healthier grilled cheese in the comments below!