This week on Pimp My Health, we’re going to pimp your grilled cheese–an all-American childhood favorite that’s perfect as the season starts to change and the weather gets chilly. While we love this classic sandwich paired with some hot tomato soup, grilled cheese can be pretty unhealthy if you’re not careful (think, cheese, butter, white bread). But with a few simple twists, you can make a much more nutritious adult-version of this sandwich that is not only healthier, but tastier too.
1. Substitute the standard ingredients. Look for part-skim or reduced-fat cheese instead of the whole-milk versions. You can find some great tasting cheddar, swiss and mozzarella out there. Also, ditch the white bread and opt for whole wheat or multi-grain instead. You won’t even know the difference once it’s grilled.
2. Add in fresh, roasted veggies. Plum tomatoes that are oven-roasted with a little olive oil, salt and pepper are especially good in grilled cheese. You can also roast some onions and yellow peppers, which are delicious additions too.
3. Spice things up. Who says a grilled cheese can’t have a little zip? Start by oven-roasting some jalapenos with olive oil, salt and pepper until they are soft. Dice them up into small bits and add into your sandwich before grilling. Then, lightly brush each side of the bread with a dusting of taco seasoning (again before grilling). For an extra kick, add a spoonful of medium or hot salsa into the sandwich (drain it first) or put it on the side as a dip.
4. Add some meat. Yes, we all know about adding bacon or ham, but for a healthier option, try some lean pre-cooked and seasoned chicken instead. If you’re a vegetarian, you can opt for some tofu bacon or tofu sausage. This will add a nice texture and make your sandwich into more of a meal.
5. Think fruit. To add a little sweetness and crunch (without potato chips stuck to your sandwich), try adding slices of pears and/or apples inside. Perfect for fall!