Toasted sandwiches, the popular comfort food, is coming back in a big way. Melt, Guerilla Grill and the Grilled Cheese Kitchen are four grilled cheese food trucks which have popped up around the country in the last two years and now cafés are getting in on the trend. In the current climate of health foods and whole grains, though, slathering white bread in butter and frying it until golden brown won’t necessarily get consumers excited. However, there are ways to increase the nutritional value without compromising on appeal.

The most obvious solution is to swap out the bread. While ciabatta and other white bread are toasted sandwich favourites, wholegrain and brown bread varieties offer far more in terms of protein and fibre while reducing potential calories. Using healthier bread can alter the perception of toasted sandwiches as unhealthy comfort food. While the crisp, buttery outside of a tasted sandwich is often a drawcard, using good quality bread toasted on an even heat can give the satisfying crunch without the need for any additional butter or spreads.

Using an alternative cheese can not only create a point of difference but also improve nutritional value. By using cheese with a stronger flavour, the volume of cheese required will not be as high as a milder variety. Produce can be added to further enhance the nutritional value of the sandwich and can be paired with different cheeses. Tomato and cheddar cheese is a classic, but apple and cheddar is an equally tasty alternative for more adventurous customers. Pear or peach work well with blue cheese varieties, and beetroot with goat’s cheese. Leafy greens are another popular option, with the mild flavour of spinach cleverly masking the fibre, magnesium, potassium, and vitamins A, C, E and K contained within.

There’s no end to the combinations and fillings of a toasted sandwich, all of which can be produced in a cost-effective manner. By offering customers the choice to construct their own, café owners can ensure that their customers are satisfied no matter their preference.