Healthy Mac!

easy mac1

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.

healthy mac healthy mac1

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

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MY HEALTHY ALTERNATIVE: Serving Size: 1 cup cooked.Screen shot 2013-09-03 at 9.29.34 PM

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

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Zucchini Chips with Sriracha

    zucchini chips 2This treat is extremeley basic, nutritious, and incredibly tasty. The only downside is it needs to bake for a few hours ...so make them early, go on with your day, and when it’s time for a snack these will be in the oven waiting for you!  I based this recipe on the zucchini chips from TableForTwoBlog.com, and added a few of my own tricks, like Sriracha for a kick of flavor. Table for Two has tons more delicious and healthy recipes, check them out here.

What you need:

  • Zucchini (1 zuc serves 1 person, add zucs accordingly)
  • Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt

Instructions:

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  • Preheat oven to 225 degrees.
  • Slice zucchini into thin chips, approx 1/8″ to 1/4″ apart (up to you)
  • Place slices on papertowl and press to blot out moisture.
  • Line cookie sheet with parchment paper, place chips on top.
  • Lightly coat with olive oil using pastry brush.
  • Sprinkle with a small splash of salt
  • Bake for 2+ hours until they are brown and crisp, not soggy!
  • Allow to cool
  • Serve with Sriracha! 

Besides the delicious sweet chili flavor, I also love Sriracha’s easy pour nozel. It makes garnishing food even more fun! I decorated this plate of zucchini chips with a zig-zag sun pattern to give it flair, you can doodle whatever you want! Presentation is always important, if you don’t believe me you haven not watched enough Food Network.

For more fun recipes keep checking back to my food column. You can also follow me @itsa_Lisa on twitter, instagram, and Pinterest.

Click the images below to Repin

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zucchini chips 2zucchini chips

Connect with me @itsa_Lisa on Twitter / Instagram / Pinterest