A staple turned healthy: grilled cheese

Apparently April is National Grilled Cheese Month… who knew?  Grilled cheese is undoubtedly a college staple being its quick and easy self.  But, unfortunately it’s not the healthiest of meals, and most people don’t bother thinking about how fattening the toasted gooey goodness really is.  One way to lighten up a grilled cheese is to use low-fat cheese (swiss or provolone are good options) rather than pre-sliced and packaged singles.  An even better way to make a healthy version is to stuff the sandwich with ingredients that are good for you and will keep you full for longer.  Instead of layering cheese slice after slice, opt for vegetables, or something with substance like chicken or deli meat (you’ll get your protein for the day too!).  Instead of using the traditional butter in your pan, try using a non-stick spray or even a little bit of olive oil to cook the sandwich.  

Here are some great options to try from the Food Network’s blog post on grilled cheese.:

  • Turkey, Swiss and sundried tomatoes on whole-wheat bread
  • Low-fat cheddar, honey mustard and granny smith apple slices on multi-grain bread
  • Goat cheese, tomato and baby spinach in a whole-wheat pita
  • Part-skim mozzarella, basil and roasted red pepper on whole-wheat bread
  • Manchego, arugula and olive tapenade on an English muffin
  • Jarlsberg Lite, grilled chicken breast and BBQ sauce on potato bread
  • Low-fat cheddar, salsa and spinach on multi-grain bread

I made a grilled cheese for lunch yesterday that was loaded with sliced turkey breast and mozzarella cheese, topped with tomato slices and avocado slices.  To flavor it up I spread brown mustard and a dab of honey and sprinkled black pepper.  It was a delicious combo and kept me full all day- a much healthier alternative to the traditional bread and cheese combo.

You’ll need:

  • Two slices of whole wheat bread
  • Three slices of turkey breast (or sandwich meat of choice)
  • A few thin slices of mozzarella cheese
  • A couple thin tomato slices
  • A couple thin slices of avocado (or another vegetable of choice)
  • Brown spicy mustard
  • Honey (about half a teaspoon)
  • Black pepper
  • Non-stick cooking spray or olive oil (the spray works best, all I had was olive oil)



  1. Spray the pan or coat lightly with olive oil and bring to low-medium heat.
  2. Slice the tomato and avocado and get everything else out and ready.
  3. Place the turkey and cheese on one slice of bread and top with the honey, mustard and pepper, and then place this slice (bread down) and the other slice on the pan.  You’ll have to stay by the pan and watch it: they’ll heat up fast.
  4. Let this cook for a minute then add the tomato and avocado to the slice with the turkey and cheese, and place the other slice of bread on top of this slice, completing the sandwich.  
  5. Flip the sandwich once to make sure both sides and browned, and take it off the heat when it’s golden brown, or if you like it a little bit on the crisper side (like my picture), wait a second longer… read: I screwed up.  Don’t wait too long, it really tastes 10 times better golden brown and not burned.
  6. Let it cool, cut it in half, and enjoy!


Here’s the visual guide (I missed a couple of steps of pictures since this process moves quick, but you get the gist):


Put the bread, one with turkey and cheese, on low-medium heat

Top with honey, mustard and pepper

Add the veggies, top with the other slice, and flip

Here are some other grilled cheese recipes to try:

Looking for a breakfast version?  Check out this one at All Recipes

The Top 10 grilled cheese recipes from Delish

A spin on grilled cheese: Bobby Flay’s grilled cheese bruschetta at the Food Network


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