The traditional grilled cheese of white bread with American cheese might seem dull though kid-friendly. To branch out from this all-American meal, try a new version of bread, cheese or side.
The bread is the foundation of the grilled cheese and a great place to upgrade the meal. Bread options are endless -- but remember to keep with versions that will be firm to stand up to the butter and cheese. Try whole-grain breads such as rye, seven-grain or pumpernickel. A more exotic twist might be to use tandoori naan, a traditional Indian flatbread, as the base for your grilled cheese [source: Berkoff].
Cheese, of course, is integral to the grilled cheese. You want to make sure that you choose a cheese that will melt well. Some great options are provolone, Swiss, Monterey Jack and even Havarti, but remember that it might be a good idea to have the kids try the new cheese a couple times before you serve it within a grilled cheese [source: Land o' Lakes, Inc., Thayer]. Soy cheeses are also a great option with lower calories and saturated fat [source: Krieger].
Instead of regular butter to cook your grilled cheese, you might want to try an herbed butter for a bit more flavor [source: Better Than Bakery].
Pairing the grilled cheese with tomato soup can be a nice winter meal, but other pairings can also work. Switch plain tomato soup with a roasted tomato soup, or a tomato and roasted red pepper soup. Try grilled cheese with fresh tomato slices and basil.
While getting your kids to eat more gourmet might be a challenge, the nutritional benefits might be well worth the work of cleverly incorporating new ingredients into your kids' meals. For lots more information on cooking for kids, see the links below.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
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- Artisanal Premium Cheese. "Macaroni and Cheese." (Feb. 28, 2010) http://www.artisanalcheese.com/prodinfo.asp?number=NP1009
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- Berkoff, Nancy. Ed.D. Registered dietitian and member of the American Culinary Federation. Personal correspondence. Feb. 26, 2010.
- Better Than Bakery. "Infused Butters." (Feb. 28, 2010) http://www.betterthanbakery.com/products_butter.php
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- Cooking Light. "Macaroni and Four Cheeses." January 2000. (Feb. 28, 2010) http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/recipefinder.dyn?action=displayRecipe&recipe_id=223054
- Eng, Monica. "School lunches: Push for healthier foods faces barriers." Chicago Tribune. Jan. 5, 2010. (Feb. 27, 2010) http://www.chicagotribune.com/health/chi-suburban-school-lunches-jan05,0,6750587.story
- Givhan, Robin. "First Lady Michelle Obama: 'Let's Move' and work on Childhood Obesity." The Washington Post. Feb. 10, 2010. (March 3, 2010) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/09/AR2010020900791.html
- Hall, Mimi and Nanci Hellmich. "Michelle Obama aims to end child obesity in a generation." USA Today. Feb. 9, 2010. (Feb. 25, 2010) http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/weightloss/2010-02-09-1Afirstlady09_CV_N.htm
- Hobbs, Frank and Nicole Stoops. "Demographic Trends in the 20th Century." November 2002. (Feb. 25, 2010) http://www.census.gov/prod/2002pubs/censr-4.pdf
- Kraft Foods. "Macaroni and Cheese--Macaroni and Cheese Dinner--The Cheesiest." (Feb. 28, 2010) http://www.kraftrecipes.com/Products/ProductInfoDisplay.aspx?SiteId=1&Product=2100065883
- Krieger, Sarah. Registered dietitian and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. Person interview. Feb. 22, 2010.
- Land o' Lakes, Inc. "Grilled Cheese Please!" (Feb. 24, 2010) http://www.landolakes.com/mealideas/Grilled-Cheese-Sandwich-Recipes.cfm
- Severson, Kim. "Stars Aligning on School Lunches." The New York Times. Aug. 18, 2009. (March 3, 2010) http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/19/dining/19school.html
- Thayer, Bethany. M.S. Registered dietitian and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. Personal correspondence and interview. Feb. 23, 2010.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture. "MyPyramid.gov--Tips and Resources." (Feb. 27, 2010) http://www.mypyramid.gov/tips_resources/mixed_food_information_table.html