Due to the bad reputation that cheese often gets, grilled cheese sandwiches are often thought of to be quite unhealthy. However, eating a grilled cheese sandwich after a run has several health benefits and has more carbohydrates, fat and protein than a cup of chocolate milk. But, chances are you’ll still feel a little bit unhealthy about yourself after going for the grilled cheese sandwich after a run so here are five ways you can make it even healthier.
The most obvious of the five ways, you should always being going for whole-wheat grains over white. They’re not just healthier, they taste so much better and have several health benefits including being loaded with niacin, which reduces the dangerous hardening of the arteries that can lead to heart disease; fibre to ease your digestive system and of course all the carbohydrates that you need to re-energize after your run. If you’re making the bread yourself, add in some seeds such as chia, pumpkin or sunflower for the added healthy fats and extra protein.
Olive Oil Instead of Butter
Probably the main reason for the bad reputation of grilled cheese sandwiches as unhealthy is the butter that is used to ensure the bread doesn’t stick to the pan. But instead of using butter why not use one of the healthiest foods you can eat in olive oil? Olive oil has a countless number of health benefits and has been credited as one of the main reasons why the Greeks have such lower rates of cancer and heart disease. Even going back as far as Ancient Greece, the Hellenians were said to have a longer life expectancy than any other civilization around them even despite their constant need to be at war with other city-states. It has more monounsaturated fat, omega-3 and omega-6 than most of the other foods on the planet while it also contains anti-inflammatory substances such as oleocanthal and oleuropein which protects the good cholesterol in your body from oxidation. When you think about it, there is really no reason to use butter on a grilled cheese sandwich. Sure it adds a little bit of flavour but so does olive oil, so there really is no need for it. Just dab a small section of the bread with the oil, use a spoon to spread it around, stick it on the pan and enjoy.
Less Cheese More Veggies!
The one major knock against cheese is its high fat content which even extends to the dreaded trans-fat. So next time you’re making a grilled cheese sandwich, add a little bit less cheese and use that room to pack in the vegetables. Avocado and tomato both work great and just blend right in while spinach, kale, mushroom and onion can also enhance the flavour dramatically while giving you loads of nutrition in the process. Avocado, loaded with healthy fats, vitamins and more potassium than bananas, is one of the healthiest foods that runners can eat. Meanwhile, you’ve probably already heard of all the vitamin c that is packed inside of a tomato, or how iron-rich spinach and kale are. Adding vegetables to your sandwich not only enhances flavour but makes it taste catastrophically better as well.
Add Protein – Particularly Turkey
Like cheese, meat often gets a bad reputation for having a few adverse health effects with many neglecting the wonders it can do for your body. Lean turkey is one of the best in the business while ham isn’t quite as healthy but has so much iron and so much high quality taste that it is almost an equally good option. The majority of meats are a source of iron, zinc, potassium and phosphorus but where turkey stands out is that it is lower in cholesterol, saturated fat and sodium while simultaneously being higher in vitamin B6, niacin, and calcium than almost any other meat. Regular turkey consumption actually does the opposite of what many people think it would do and actually lowers the bad cholesterol levels in your body. But when adding meat, make sure it isn’t the stuff loaded with carcinogens and preservatives and comes from an “All Natural” brand.
Egg It Up
Eggs and cheese together is one of the tastiest of combinations you can eat yet rarely is ever done. For an added flavour, scramble up an egg and then spread it in between the cheese and bread. You’ll be surprised how delicious it tastes but you shouldn’t be, fast food chains have been doing it in an unflattering way for years and have had a lot of success. With its polyunsaturated fat, eggs raise the good cholesterol in your body while lowering the bad stuff. Eggs also have a high amount of protein and contain a nutrient called choline that enhances nervous system functioning and metabolic efficiency. With all its amazing health benefits runners really should be eating more eggs and adding it into a grilled cheese sandwich is a great way to do so.
Although grilled cheese sandwiches already have several health benefits as a post-run meal, these 5 tricks can take that to a whole new level and leave you feeling well-nourished and well-fed for hours. So next time you take on the classic grilled cheese sandwich, use olive oil, whole-wheat bread, turkey, vegetables and an egg for a chance of pace, flavour and all the wonderful health benefits.