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Lightening Up Macaroni and Cheese

posted Dec 22, 2016, 5:56 AM by Sunamita Da Silva   [ updated Jan 9, 2017, 11:00 AM ]

Ahh… Macaroni and cheese, the ultimate comfort food. If ever there was a dish that calls for rich, creamy and warm flavors when you take that first bite, it is this one. But there’s no way we can make it healthier and have it still taste good right? Not so fast! Try these tips below and you may just be surprised.

Switch to low fat cheese. Choose a light sharp cheddar in place of your regular one and your dish will still be just as tasty, but with up to 75% less fat. You will not taste the difference. Trust us on this one.

Skimp on the butter. You might have heard about European-style butter’s superior quality. The main difference between these butters and the rest is the fat. European-style butter has about 2-5% more fat than other butters, giving it more flavor. What does that mean? That means you can get away with using half the amount of butter a recipe calls for if you substitute your regular butter for a European-style one, that way, you keep the buttery flavor, but cut your fat by up to half!

Add vegetables. Substitute about 1/3 cup of your macaroni for 1 cup of chopped vegetables like broccoli or cauliflower and you immediately save on calories, add more fiber, and reduce the amount of carbs on this dish!

Swap for whole grain noodles. Whole grain pasta is one of the easiest swaps you can make to this dish. These noodles have a nuttier flavor to them that is barely detectable when mixed in with all the cheese. They will however, give you a lot more fiber per serving than its refined counterpart. To compare: 1 serving of Barilla brand whole grain elbow pasta has 6 grams of fiber while its regular version only gives you 2 grams per serving.

Kick things up with spices. Just because it’s healthy, it doesn’t have to be bland. Spice things up with dry mustard, black pepper, or cayenne pepper or a combination of these (or any other spice of your liking); you’ll be adding flavor without the calories.

Try making one or all of these swaps to your mac and cheese this holiday season and you and your guests will enjoy this comfort food without the guilt.
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