If you were to survey a group of people and ask them what their ultimate comfort food is, we would venture a guess that a heapin’ handful would answer with macaroni and cheese. There’s just something so comforting about a big, cheesy bowl of noodles that warms the soul and reminds many of their childhood.
Like many recipes for comfort food, though, mac and cheese isn’t always the healthiest option at the dinner table. While there’s nothing wrong with indulging in higher calorie dishes on occasion, if you’d like to enjoy mac and cheese on a semi-regular basis, it’s a good idea to do what you can to make it a bit healthier.
Here are a few ways to makeover your mac and cheese:
- Spike the sauce: Add pureed pumpkin, sweet potato or squash to the cheese sauce. You won’t even taste it and it’s an easy way to add nutrients.
- Dairy swaps: Substitute Greek yogurt for some of the heavy cream. It’s an easy way to add some extra protein to the dish. You can also swap some of the traditional Cheddar with Light Cheddar or use 2% milk to trim additional fat and calories.
- Healthy mix-ins: Don’t be afraid to toss a bag of frozen veggies into the mix. Kids will be so busy enjoying the cheese that they probably won’t even notice the veggies. You can also add foods like leftover chicken or sausage for a protein boost.
Follow these tips to help make your mac and cheese as healthy (and tasty) as possible!
Have we convinced you to move beyond basic mac and cheese? Try some of these recipes to change things up:
Tomato Basil Mac and Cheese
Mac N Cheese is pretty much a weekly staple meal in my house. It’s something I can make from scratch last minute as I always have the basic ingredients – pasta, milk, cheese, flour and butter – on hand. My healthy tweaks include using a mix of whole wheat pasta along with a mix of Cabot Light cheese with the regular Extra Sharp. And come fall and winter, I puree roasted squash (like butternut) and mix it into the sauce. It gives the dish a sweet flavor and even veggie dislikers don’t seem to notice!
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