Make Better Macaroni and Cheese with Healthy Substitutions
By Seth Hawkins
Feb 15, 2017
Updated Nov 17, 2023
5 min read
Traditional macaroni and cheese is not healthy for you. It’s a dish high in fat, calories, sodium, and it’s not nutritionally balanced. But by making a few healthy — and mostly unnoticeable — substitutions to the recipe, you can improve the nutritional quality of macaroni and cheese and still enjoy that cheesy goodness.
“Making healthy diet changes can be simple and delicious,” says Mindy (Probst) Crockett, a registered dietitian at Utah Valley Hospital. “Choose a few of your favorite, go-to recipes and make some healthy substitutions. For example, replace cream with low fat milk, use whole wheat pasta instead of white pasta, or use ½ of the butter or sugar the recipe calls for. These simple changes will help you achieve and maintain your healthy eating goals while still enjoying the foods you love.”
The key to this recipe comes down to three substitutions and one addition:
When it comes to taste, the three ingredient substitutions are hardly noticeable, even to kids, but the dish is nutritionally better for you. The addition of the frozen vegetables incorporates a side right into the dish, maintaining the simplicity of mac and cheese.
Give the recipe a try. It doesn’t take much longer to prepare than traditional boxed macaroni and cheese, and you can feel better about serving it to your kids — or sneaking a bowl for yourself.