Spicing Up Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Grilled cheese sandwiches are the least cumbersome meal to prepare. Kids can even learn to prepare it themselves. The ones I used to make contained regular cheese and white bread with margarine to cook it. Here are a few ways to make that grilled cheese sandwich healthier for your little ones.

First of all you need to slim the cheese. Full fat cheeses are a thing of the past. A slice of fat free cheese melts just the same with fewer calories and fat. If American cheese is too boring, try a slice of Swiss or cheddar cheese. Monterey Jack is good on a sandwich, also. One slice of cheese is plenty, but if you are using the fat free kind, you could probably get by with two slices for a creamier sandwich.

What about the bread? The bread is a key element. White bread contains too many sugars that are bad for you. Try whole wheat or seven grain bread. Sourdough bread would make a good substitution. What you want is bread with fewer calories and carbohydrates per serving.

What about some meat? When they added bologna to a grilled cheese sandwich when I was a kid, they called it a “flying saucer”. Adding a slice of meat makes the sandwich more of a complete meal. Depending on what their favorite is, you can add roast beef, sliced ham, sliced turkey, bacon, sausage, or sliced chicken breast.

What about some flavor? Add more taste to their grilled cheese sandwich with a few choice condiments. Adding mustard gives the sandwich a tangy taste. For an even better taste add brown or Dijon mustard. Go south of the border with a bit of salsa added to the sandwich. The salsa will make the grilled cheese sandwich spicy. Roast beef goes well with a dollop of barbeque sauce added for more flavor. If your child is into the simpler tastes, add a bit of fat-free or reduced fat mayonnaise or ketchup to the sandwich. Adding some dressing such as Thousand Island is another great option for adding variety.

Add some crunch to your sandwich. Slice up an apple and place it on top of the cheese. People eat a slice of cheese with apple pie and many cheese trays are served with apples, so why not on a grilled cheese sandwich? Use a Granny Smith apple for best results. They will maintain their form better than a red apple.

Our grilled cheese sandwich is definitely coming together. We have added meat, changed the cheese, changed the bread, and added sauces for added pizzaz. What’s left to do? Let’s see if we can incorporate some vegetables. Pickles work well on a cheese sandwich with bologna. A juicy slice of tomato would add color and flavor to any meat and cheese combination. Get a slice of green with a leaf of romaine lettuce or some shredded iceberg lettuce.

Ditch the margarine. I used to spread a thick layer of margarine on both sides of the bread before I put the sandwich in the pan. Here are a few alternatives to that. Use spray butter or non-stick cooking spray in the pan. Your kids will still have the butter flavor without all the butter calories. Another choice would be to brown the sandwich in the oven. Using a metal tray, spray both sides of the bread with butter spray. Bake the cheese sandwiches in a preheated oven at 425 degrees for about six minutes per side.

Grilled cheese sandwiches are getting a new look. By adding meat, seasoning, and veggies, your sandwiches are now a meal unto themselves. Get your family involved in the cooking. Let them create their own sandwiches.

Would you like more Kid-Friendly Recipes? Christine Steendahl – “The Menu Mom” invites you to visit Kid Approved Meals at http://www.kidapprovedmeals.com to download your personal 13 week breakfast and lunch menu made just for kids!

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