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Healthy macaroni and cheese

Posted on July 17 2012

We all remember the blue and yellow box we would beg for before dinner time. Or maybe your family was more of the creamy Velveeta type. Our office poll says the Kraft shapes were a favorite. Since National Macaroni and Cheese Day (who knew?) was earlier this month, we gathered some of the healthier alternatives for our favorite, childhood anytime meal and give us a little inspiration to not stop to pick up a box of "The Cheesiest" on the way home from the office today. Healthy macaroni and cheese with cauliflower and butternut squash

Macaroni and cheese with cauliflower and butternut squash KitchenThymes.com This recipe sounds AMAZING. Butternut squash is mixed in with the cheese mix, while an entire head of cauliflower is chopped and boiled with the noodles. According to the author, you can barely differentiate between the noodles and healthy vegetables. We also suggest considering low-fat cheese options, as well as any non-flavored milk alternatives you or your family prefers to help keep the cholesterol low - you don't want this to counteract the healthy goodness of the vegetables. Be sure to keep portion size in mind! Editor's note: My craving has already changed to a gluten-free version of this recipe. Baked macaroni and cheese EatingWell.com healthy macaroni and cheese alternatives, better meal choices, healthy family meals, national macaroni and cheese dayIf you are looking for a few simple tips to make your traditional macaroni and cheese healthier, this recipe suggests (and we approve):

  • Substituting whole wheat pasta for regular noodles - Kraft and many other popular brands have whole wheat options in easy-to-prepare packaging
  • Substituting low-fat, skim almond or low-fat soy milk for whole milk to cut down on fat and calories
  • Adding spinach to increase nutrients - you can do this to almost any pasta dish as the spinach typically does not deter from the meal's flavor
  • Replace some of the regular cheese with low-fat cottage cheese, which adds to the creamy texture of your favorite noodle dish
We are big fans of the tip after the directions for this recipe - grind your own bread crumbs from whole wheat bread to keep with the whole wheat and healthy goodness of the rest of the dish. Macaroni and cheese with a kick FitnessMagazine.com healthy macaroni and cheese alternatives, better meal choices, healthy family meals, national macaroni and cheese dayThis recipe uses earlier suggestions to use whole wheat pasta, low-fat milk and low-fat cheese alternatives. It also adds a few spices to change the flavor slightly. Using spices in your meals is a good technique to help slow down your eating and helps you enjoy the full flavor of your meal. Instead of adding in cottage cheese, like the recommendation above, this recipe suggests adding in Greek yogurt to give a creamier texture to your mac. Lobster (or crab) macaroni and cheese WebMD.com When deciding to add protein to your cheese and noodles, make sure you select lean options or meats that will add, rather than detract, nutritional value. Acknowledging that WebMD.com would not willingly clog your arteries, consider substituting the large amount of whipped butter for either low-fat margarine or even your favorite (and healthier) nut butter choice. Although a little more complicated than other recipes, this seafood dish has plenty of protein and a great way to make your macaroni and cheese just a little bit fancier. Healthy vegan macaroni and cheese OhSheGlows.com healthy macaroni and cheese alternatives, better meal choices, healthy family meals, national macaroni and cheese dayMost people who have gone through a vegetarian phase have resorted to the blue and yellow box to make a quick and cheap meal. For who vegetarians have transitioned to veganism, or anyone who wants to try something new, we recommend this healthier version of macaroni and cheese. It can be difficult to avoid the cholesterol when trying to fit traditional dishes into this lifestyle. If decide against vegan pasta, we still recommend whole wheat pasta instead of white pasta. Plus, you get plenty of vitamin B12 if you use nutritional yeast. What are your favorite mac n' cheese recipes? Need more ideas? Throw more vegetables in! Photo credit: Flickr user angermann. Used with permission through Creative Commons.

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