7 Delicious Ways to Make Mac and Cheese Healthier

Few things are as satisfying as sinking into a bowl of macaroni and cheese when you're in the mood for a warm, comforting meal after a long day or feeling down because of the winter season. Mac and cheese is the ideal carb-laden comfort meal, but it turns out that you can hold the guilt.

Despite its unfavorable reputation, cheese may be a healthy option since it contains protein and calcium despite its high salt and saturated fat content. There's also evidence that cheese consumption could have other advantages. Those who regularly consumed cheese had the most significant average intelligence test scores. This diet was most significantly linked to a decreased risk of age-related cognitive impairments. Surprisingly, eating cheese and other dairy products high in fat was linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

How about the macaroni, though? But you may increase your fiber intake by swapping refined white pasta for whole-grain types, and there are also many other noodle options available today. The truth is, however, that this is just the beginning.

Making healthier, more well-rounded mac and cheese doesn't have to mean compromising flavor. The more nutritional value may be achieved by adjusting the pasta, sauce, and add-ins to include more beneficial nutrients and fewer harmful ones. The trick is to find simple methods to increase the nutritional value of this comfort food without compromising or diluting any of the much-loved tastes. Look at the recipe below, which uses all these easy substitutions and additions to create a healthier, more filling supper.

1. Try Switching To Whole Wheat Or Legume-Based Pasta

More vitamins and minerals may be found in whole wheat or whole grain pasta than in refined white pasta. It was reported in Time that whole wheat pasta provides 23% of our daily fibre needs, whereas white pasta provides just 9%. Eating whole wheat pasta can get 16% of the protein you need daily.

Pastas made from legumes are delicious and versatile, so you should try them out. These alternatives to classic pasta are delicious and healthy, plus they don't contain any gluten. Legume pastas include around 33% fewer carbs and four times as much fibre as traditional pasta. As much as half of your daily protein needs may be met by eating certain types.

2. Substitute Greek Yogurt For Some Of The Cheese

One of the main reasons mac and cheese are so satisfying is because of the cheese. It's a great way to get additional protein, calcium, zinc, and vitamin B12. Nonetheless, as it contains saturated fat, moderation is essential. You should know that you can prepare healthy mac and cheese that tastes just as rich, creamy, and "cheesy" as the traditional version. How? Start with stronger-flavoured cheeses like sharp aged cheddar and Gruyère so you can use less without sacrificing flavour. The umami taste of the finished meal may be enhanced by adding a bit of grated Parmesan.

You might also use thick Greek yoghurt instead of part of the cheese. You'll make your pasta dish healthier and give it a nice tang using less fat.

3. Add Extra Protein Covertly

Mac & cheese is a versatile dish that can be made healthier by adding a variety of veggies or lean meats. Getting adequate protein at each meal is crucial for maintaining and rebuilding muscle and other body structures. As protein is processed more slowly than carbohydrates, eating it alongside foods like pasta might reduce the subsequent rise in blood sugar. Those with type 2 diabetes may benefit significantly from increasing their protein intake for this reason.

More than half of the persons with diabetes in the research did not consume enough protein daily, which was linked to worse food quality and increased carbohydrate consumption. Toss in some canned tuna, smoked salmon, grilled pork tenderloin slices, roasted chicken, beans, tinned smoked mussels, crumbled and sautéed tempeh, cooked ground turkey, lentils, and more for a nutritious and convenient protein boost.

4. Put Spices And Other Flavour Enhancers To Use

Raid the spice cabinet for a bolder flavour in your new, improved mac & cheese. Add spices like smoked paprika, Italian seasoning, chilli powder, mustard powder, or curry powder to your cheese sauce to boost its taste without adding many calories.

Blood pressure was also reduced in people who seasoned their meals with little more than one teaspoon (tsp) of herbs and spices for four weeks.

The sauce may be further improved by using roasted garlic. The salty taste of olives may be added if desired. Parsley and chervil are just two fresh herbs that provide a bright final touch.

5. Consider Milk Substitutes

The cheesy sauce usually asks for whole milk or cream for that classic silky texture. Or, try them with nut or soy milk like cashew or almond for a change of pace. While they often have less protein than dairy milk, they have fewer calories and less fat. Almond milk contains just 39 calories and 2.5 grams of fat per cup, whereas whole milk has 149 calories and 8 grams per cup. You'll receive the same velvety texture of the original sauce but with a pleasant hint of nuttiness added. Moreover, many modern products have added calcium and vitamin D. Make sure you stick to the unsweetened plain varieties since no one wants vanilla or chocolate-flavored mac and cheese.

6. Macaroni And Cheese With Roasted Vegetables

Adding some veggies to your macaroni and cheese is a simple way to make it more nutritious. The sauce is lightened using evaporated 2% milk rather than heavy cream, and a sheet pan of roasted peppers, squash, broccoli, and mushrooms is added.

7. Sneak In Some Flax As The Seventh Plank

A flax egg is an excellent alternative to whole eggs since it contains more heart-healthy, anti-inflammatory omega-3s already present in the meal without adding additional calories. Making a flax egg is as simple as mixing one tablespoon of flax meal with three tablespoons of warm water. If you want a gel-like consistency, let the mixture rest for 10 minutes and stir it with a fork every few minutes. If you need twice as many eggs, double the recipe.


After a hard day, there's nothing better than settling down with a warm bowl of cheesy macaroni and sauce. We'd all want to eat macaroni and cheese several times a week if we could, but with all the butter, milk, cream, and cheese, there are better options than this.

Macaroni and cheese may be made more healthful by experimenting with different taste profiles and ingredient substitutions to include essential vitamins and minerals while reducing the caloric and calorie content.

Updated on: 24-Mar-2023


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