Everyone LOVES mac n cheese.
Problem: mac n cheese is NOT healthy.
Solution: MAKE mac n cheese healthy.
How? Substitute the empty calories with nutritional ones and add veggies! As with any comfort food, the healthy alternative is just as easy the original. The most significant change is being aware of the ingredients you choose.
Ingredients: A box of WHOLE WHEAT* macaroni shells, 1/2 cup MOZZARELLA*, 2 broccoli trees, a cup of cherry tomatoes, 1/2lb ground TURKEY*
*the most nutritional option for each of their food groups
To make: Fill a pot with water and set to boil. Start cooking turkey in skillet. Add pasta to pot, follow instructions on box. Add broccoli and cherry tomatoes to skillet. Stir. When pasta is done make sure the turkey is cooked through and combine all ingredients . Toss in cheese. Stir. Add your favorite hot sauce if desired.
Call me a nerd, but I plugged in the nutritional facts to Livestrong.com’s My Plate so you can truly see the impact of this healthy dish versus its not-so-comforting-anymore alternative. (I included meat in both dishes, we need our protein!)
KRAFT MAC AND CHEESE: Serving Size 1 cup cooked
MY HEALTHY ALTERNATIVE: Serving Size: 1 cup cooked.
It is easy to observe the 100 calories difference, but beyond that you also consume less fat, way less sodium, less carbs, more fiber, more protein, and less sugar. The protein you consume is lean and full of energy from meat and the fiber comes from the whole wheat. Kraft’s Mac calls for cream, packaged and processed cheese powder, and empty carbs from the basic noodles.
You can also go gluten free, vegan, etc. I’m not hear to preach about animal rights or argue the evolution of how our internal organs digest food. I’m just stating a very basic way to take one dish and make it healthier. You can substitute whatever ingredients to meet your needs according to dietary restrictions and choices. But always choose healthy! A comfort food doesn’t have to set you back. A comfort food can be healthy and just as satisfying.
For more healthy recipes follow my FOOD COLUMN