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Makes: 4 servings
8 slices light whole wheat bread (about 40 calories each)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup fig jam or grape jelly
4 ounces thinly sliced Havarti or Monterey Jack
1 small pear, thinly sliced
Nonstick cooking spray
1. Brush one side of each slice of bread lightly with olive oil. Turn over four of the slices and spread with jam. Top each with 1/4 of the cheese and 1/4 of the sliced pear, then the remaining bread slices, oiled side up.
2. Lightly coat a griddle or large skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Preheat over medium heat. Add the sandwiches and cook 5 to 6 minutes or until the cheese is melted, turning once to brown both sides.
Nutrition facts per sandwich: 296 calories, 9g protein, 34g carbohydrate, 13g fat (6g saturated), 4g fiberHealthy Cooking Tips
The jam or jelly adds a hint of sweetness that brings out the sharp flavor of the cheese. "Choose an all-fruit jam with no added sugar," suggests Sari Greaves, RD, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.
Sliced pear gives grilled cheese a grown-up flavor plus more than 4 grams of filling fiber, so you can go easy on high-fat cheese. One ounce of Havarti per sandwich (about one slice) is plenty when fruit plays a supporting role.
Cheesy Does It
Skip fat-free cheese, which doesn't melt as well as the real thing. Opt for reduced-fat or a small amount of full-fat cheese.
Better Than Butter
Brushing the slices with olive oil gives them a golden brown hue and heart-healthy monounsaturated fat.
A typical grilled cheese could easily contain 670 calories and 46 grams of fat, thanks to supersize slices of bread and too much cheese and butter, Greaves says.
Our easy, five-ingredient tomato soup is the perfect accompaniment to grilled cheese.
Makes: 8 one-cup servings
2 14-ounce cans low-sodium beef broth
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
2 pounds chopped tomatoes
2 cups chopped veggies (carrots, sweet pepper, celery, onion)
1 teaspoon sugar
Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker. Cook on high heat for 3 to 4 hours.
Nutrition facts per cup of soup: 55 calories, 3g protein, 11g carbohydrate, 0g fat (0g saturated), 3g fiber
Originally published in FITNESS magazine, February 2010.