Mac and cheese is a classic comfort food that everyone loves. However, the traditional version of this dish is often high in calories, fat, and carbohydrates, making it not the healthiest option for those watching their diet. Luckily, there are many ways to make a healthier version of homemade mac and cheese that is just as delicious as the original. In this blog, we’ll explore some of the best ways to make mac and cheese healthier by using alternative ingredients and incorporating more vegetables.
- Swap out regular pasta for whole wheat pasta One of the easiest ways to make mac and cheese healthier is to swap out regular pasta for whole wheat pasta. Whole wheat pasta is higher in fiber and nutrients than regular pasta, making it a better option for those looking to eat healthier. Plus, whole wheat pasta has a nutty flavor that pairs well with cheesy sauces.
- Use low-fat dairy products Another way to make mac and cheese healthier is to use low-fat dairy products in place of full-fat dairy products. For example, you can use skim milk or 1% milk instead of whole milk, and low-fat cheese instead of full-fat cheese. These changes will significantly reduce the fat and calorie content of the dish while still maintaining the creamy texture and cheesy flavor.
- Add more vegetables Adding more vegetables to your mac and cheese not only increases the nutritional value of the dish but also adds flavor and texture. Some vegetables that work well in mac and cheese include broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, and butternut squash. You can either mix the vegetables directly into the mac and cheese or serve them on the side.
- Try using different types of cheese Traditional mac and cheese is usually made with cheddar cheese, which is high in fat and calories. However, there are many other types of cheese that you can use to make mac and cheese healthier. For example, you can use feta cheese or goat cheese, which are lower in fat and calories than cheddar cheese. You can also use a blend of different types of cheese to create a unique flavor profile.
- Use a roux-based sauce Many mac and cheese recipes use cream-based sauce, which can be high in fat and calories. Instead, try using a roux-based sauce, which is made with flour and milk. This type of sauce is lower in fat and calories than a cream-based sauce but still provides a creamy texture and flavor.
Here’s a recipe for a healthier version of Homemade mac and cheese:
- 8 oz whole wheat pasta
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp flour
- 2 cups skim milk
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 cup low-fat cheddar cheese, shredded
- 2 cups broccoli florets
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions.
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Sprinkle the flour over the onions and garlic and stir to combine. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Slowly pour in the milk, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Cook for 5-7 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened.
- Stir in the Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper.
- Add the cheddar cheese and stir until the cheese has melted.
- Add the cooked pasta and broccoli florets to the skillet and stir to combine.
- Transfer the mixture to a baking dish and bake for