Posted April 11, 2013 - 9:06pm by Kate Kinne
You know what's so great about April? It's my birthday, the weather is awesome (kidding!) and it's National Grilled Cheese Month. In fact, Friday, April 12 is National Grilled Cheese Day, and that's worth celebrating. Adults and kids alike can agree that grilled cheese is part of an easy, delicious meal, particularly when served with a good tomato soup, in my opinion. True, cheese isn't necessarily what comes to mind when you think of healthy eating, but I see nothing wrong with a grilled cheese once in a while, especially if some modifications can be made.
First of all, I recommend fulfilling your grilled cheese craving at home, rather than at a restaurant. A kid's grilled cheese at Corner Bakery is 540 calories and 31 grams of fat! My kids always want a grilled cheese at a sandwich place, and it's generally the worst choice (calorie-wise) on the menu. An ounce of sharp cheddar cheese is approximately 120 calories, 10 grams of fat and 6 grams of saturated fat per ounce. However, the 2% reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese is 90 calories, 6 grams of fat and 3.5g saturated fat, and is just as tasty. I don't know of any restaurants, though, that offer reduced-fat cheese. Make your grilled cheese at home, go easy on the butter/spread, and use a reasonable amount of reduced-fat cheese and you can save tons of calories and fat.
Get creative with your grilled cheese too, to get even more nutrients than the calcium in the cheese. Add veggies, fruit and/or lean protein. I think my all-time favorite is swiss cheese (reduced-fat, of course) with tomato slices on pumpernickel bread. We've also made an Italian-version, with garlic powder added to the butter spread (I like Smart Balance) for grilling, and the sandwich filled with marinara, mozzarella cheese (reduced-fat), and sauteed mushrooms. Another great addition is avocado slices on the grilled cheese, and for an occasional treat, a few slices of bacon (never mind the nutrition, however). Veggie up your sandwich with some sauteed spinach, mushrooms, and onions with a little garlic if you like. Or, if you want to try to some apple slices as an accompaniment on your sandwich, I recommend white cheddar cheese as a nice pairing. A good bread can make all the difference too. I like a whole wheat bread that comes with grains and seeds to give a little crunch to the sandwich.
How do you like your grilled cheese?