Wishing you a healthier day: Try this healthier grilled cheese sandwich without butter.
The first grilled cheese sandwich served in the United States was open-faced, consisting of one slice of bread with grated cheese on top. Before you start heating up that skillet to celebrate National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day, let’s consider a few things that will take your grilled cheese way beyond ordinary sandwich and make it better for you, too.
Have you ever thought of ditching the butter or adding some veggies? What about using whole-grain bread instead of white bread, or a flavorful low-fat cheese instead of the plastic wrapped kind? These small changes not only add some pizzazz to your hot sandwich, but can also enhance the flavor and boost the nutrition.
How to make grilled cheese healthier:
- Switch to whole grain bread to increase fiber and protein.
- Try a low-fat cheese to decrease cholesterol and saturated fat.
- Incorporate veggies – try tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, avocado – to increase fiber, vitamins and minerals.
- Use olive oil cooking spray instead of butter to decrease calories and saturated fat.
- 1/4 of a medium avocado
- Squeeze of lime juice
- Olive oil cooking spray
- 4 thin onion slices
- 1 handful of fresh spinach
- 1 medium Portobello mushroom (or other mushroom slices)
- 2 slices of whole-grain bread
- 2 slices tomato
- 1 slice of Swiss cheese
- Place the avocado and lime juice in a small bowl. Mash together until slightly chunky.
- Spray a skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Add the onion slices and cook for several minutes, or until soft and translucent. Add a large handful of spinach to the same pan as the onion, and cook, stirring constantly, until the spinach begins to wilt. Remove from pan.
- Wipe the mushroom clean with a paper towel. Remove the stem and gills. Slice the mushroom into long strips.
- Spray the same pan with cooking spray. Add mushroom strips. Cook until mushrooms darken and get soft. Remove from pan and set aside.
- To make the sandwich: spray one side of each slice of bread with olive oil cooking spray. Place one piece of bread in a pan (sprayed side down) over medium heat. Layer onto the bread the mashed avocado, tomato slices, one slice of cheese, onion, spinach, and mushrooms.
- Let cook until the bread is toasted and the cheese begins to melt. Add the other piece of bread on top, sprayed side up. Carefully flip sandwich and cook until other slice is toasted. Enjoy!
Post by Kayley Ray and Skylar Tigert, former dietetic inters in the Dietetic Internship Program at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.