Macaroni and Cheese is a vibrant and creamy dish that consists of macaroni pasta and cheese sauce. It is particularly popular in the USA.
It’s usually high in calories because it’s made from pasta, cheese, cream, and butter, although the calorie content varies considerably between brands, ingredients, and serving size.
Traditional high-calorie Macaroni and cheese can enjoy in moderation, but there are many healthy exchanges to improve the nutritional content of the dish.
This article examines the calorie content of different types of Macaroni and cheese, suggests how it can be reduced, and provides a recipe for healthier Macaroni and cheese.
1. Nutritional Information For Different Kinds Of Macaroni And Cheese
The calorie substance of Macaroni and Cheese differs varying on the brand, ingredients, and portion size.
This table shows the nutritional content of a 1-cup serving (approx. 150-250 grams) of the most common brands of Macaroni and cheese.
|Panera Bread||470||31 gms||17 gms||33 gms||1gm||1040 mg|
|Chick-fil-A||440||27 gms||19 gms||29 gms||8 gms||1200 gms|
|Kraft||360||16 gms||10 gms||47 gms||2 gms||669 mg|
|Velveeta||310||9 gms||13 gms||44 gms||2 gms||869 mg|
|Daiya||300||9 gms||5 gms||48 gms||2 gms||580 mg|
|Annie’s Homegrown||360||4 gms||9 gms||51 gms||2 gms||720 mg|
|Homemade, regular or gluten-free||506||24 gms||20 gms||53 gms||3 gms||837 mg|
In return, you have the option of not adding additional sodium.
Since all of these options are relatively high in calories and sodium per 1 cup (approximately 150-250 grams) of food, you should only eat
Mac and cheese in moderation or occasionally as part of a healthy diet.
2. How To Decrease The Calorie Count Of Macaroni And Cheese?
Macaroni and cheese usually made with high-calorie ingredients, such as pasta, cheese, and milk or cream. Some versions also contain cream cheese or butter, which provide extra fat and calories.
These wealthy ingredients make mac and cheese a delicious dish that you can enjoy in moderation. Fortunately, however, you can easily change to reduce calories or make the dish healthier.
3. Here Are Some Healthier Exchanges For Your Macaroni And Cheese:
- Use high-protein and high-fiber pasta made from beans or chickpeas instead of natural Macaroni to increase your protein and fiber content.
- Use cauliflower or broccoli flowers instead of simple Macaroni to reduce carbohydrates and calories.
- Follow the instructions for “easy preparation” of macaroni and cheese products in a box, as they require less butter and milk.
- Add vegetables to your Macaroni and cheese to increase fiber and nutrient content and reduce calories per serving.
- Reduce the amount of cheese used and add herbs and tastes to flavor the dish.
- Change the cream and milk for unsweetened walnut milk, which can lessen calories.
- Use Neufchatel cheese instead of cream cheese, which offers the same spicy taste and creamy texture with fewer calories.
- Add diced chicken breast or other lean sources of protein such as tuna or beans to make the dish more plentiful and high in protein.
Also, keep in mind that Macaroni and cheese are usually rich and high in calories. You should enjoy them in moderation and limit your serving size to no more than 1 cup (about 150-250 grams) per serving.
4. A Recipe For Healthier Macaroni And Cheese
Here is a healthier recipe for traditional Macaroni and cheese that still results in a rich and creamy side dish.
- 340 grams of dried chickpea paste leaves
- 1/8 cup (28 gms) of butter
- 1/2 teaspoon (2 gms) of xanthan gum
- 1 1/2 cup (360 ml) unsweetened almond milk
- 1 1/2 cup (360 ml) chicken or vegetable broth
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (125 grams) grated cheddar cheese
b. Steps as Follows
- Prepare the Macaroni with chickpeas according to the package instructions and set them aside.
- Meltdown the butter in a large pan until it bubbles gently. Add the xanthan gum and mix well with the butter.
- Mix the unsweetened almond milk, broth, and salt and simmer for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring regularly, until the sauce has thickened slightly.
- Add the grated cheese until it melts.
- Add the baked pasta and mix well to distribute the sauce evenly.
c. One Serving Contains
- Calories: 314
- Fat: 14 grams
- Protein: 19 grams
- Carbohydrates: 34 grams
- Fiber: 8 grams
- Sodium: 583 mg
Chickpea paste contains more protein and fiber than normal Macaroni, and replacing white milk with unsweetened almond milk reduces some fat and calories.
Instead of making use of refined white flour as a thickener, this cheese sauce uses a small amount of xanthan, a powerful thickener that is available online or in natural grocery stores.
Also, this recipe contains no gluten and can easily be made vegetarian or vegan by replacing butter with olive oil and cheese with a milk-free cheese substitute.
For a low-carb alternative, replace pasta with broccoli or cauliflower florets.
You can keep leftovers in your fridge for up to 5 days. Take one of the suggestions above to make this Macaroni and cheese even lower in calories or more nutritious.
- Macaroni and cheese are usually rich, creamy, and high in calories. Nevertheless, the calorie and nutrient content depends on the brand, ingredients, and portion amount.
- The dish can be enjoyed in the balance as part of a healthy diet, but there are also several ways to reduce calories and improve nutrients.
- If you follow this recipe or make some of the exchanges listed above, you can enjoy a healthier Mac and cheese that are still decadent and tasty.