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Articles Fitness Nutrition

Recipe Re-Do-- Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and Cheese is a well known comfort food that almost everyone enjoys  and is a favorite of most kids.  Although it is not very high in calories and fat, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese (and other generic brands) is highly processed, and is not made from real ingredients.  Just by making it with real cheese and whole grain noodles can make a real difference. 

Here are the ingredients in Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Dinner - Premium Three Cheese:
ENRICHED MACARONI PRODUCT (WHEAT FLOUR, NIACIN, FERROUS SULFATE [IRON], THIAMIN MONONITRATE [VITAMIN B1], RIBOFLAVIN [VITAMIN B2], FOLIC ACID); CHEESE SAUCE MIX (WHEY, SALT, MILK, SKIM MILK, MILKFAT, MILK PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, MODIFIED FOOD STARCH, CONTAINS LESS THAN 2% OF SODIUM TRIPOLYPHOSPHATE, BUTTERMILK SOLIDS, SODIUM PHOSPHATE, CITRIC ACID, CELLULOSE GEL, CELLULOSE GUM, LACTIC ACID, CHEESE CULTURE, CALCIUM PHOSPHATE, YELLOW 5, YELLOW 6, ENZYMES) CONTAINS: WHEAT, MILK.

Nutrition Facts (in 1 cup prepared):
    380 calories
    3 g fat
    1g saturated fat
    0g trans fat
    5mg Cholesterol
    610mg Sodium
    50g Carbohydrates
    1g fiber
    7g Sugar
    9g protein

FitDay.com recipe:

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:
    1 cup dry whole wheat pasta - elbow macaroni, rotini, penne
    1/2 pound spinach
    1 tsp olive oil
    1/4 cup dry white wine
    6oz light sour cream
    1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
    Salt and pepper

1.     Cook pasta according to directions.  Drain when finished.
2.    Heat olive oil in large saucepan over light-medium heat.  Add dry white wine and spinach.  Coat spinach with wine and oil mixture.  Turn heat down to light, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. When done cooking, season with salt and pepper.
3.    Put sour cream in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  When it starts to thicken, add the cheese and mix well.  Cook for 1 more minute.
4.    Add the pasta and coat well with the cheese mixture.
5.    Mix the spinach into the pasta mixture.
6.    Serve immediately.

Nutrition facts (per serving):
    249 calories
    11 g fat
    5.8 g saturated fat
    0g trans fat
    30 mg Cholesterol
    163 mg Sodium
    27 g Carbohydrates
    4 g fiber
    1 g Sugar
    10 g protein

If you are not concerned with the fat content of the meal, crème fraiche tastes really good in place of the sour cream.  Or, you can try fat free yogurt or cottage cheese to make it less fattening.  You can also experiment with different types of cheese and maybe try vinegar or lemon juice in place of the wine.  Bread crumbs baked on top also tastes great.  Just stick it under the broiler for a few minutes.

Although this version has more fat, saturated fat and cholesterol, it is lower in calories, sodium and sugar, and higher in protein and fiber.  Changing the noodles to whole wheat and the addition of the spinach increases the nutrient content of the meal along with the fiber and protein.  This should also help you stay full longer!

This version has more fat in it because it is made with real cheese.  "Traditional" Macaroni and Cheese is made with a powder cheese, which definitely would not be considered a fresh ingredient!  It also contains Yellow 5 and Yellow 6 in order to make it the color that it is.  These chemicals may cause cancer.  So, this homemade Macaroni and Cheese is fresher, healthier and tastes much better than the kind you eat out of a box!

Kelly Forness is a Dietetic Technician, Registered (DTR) and a member or the American Dietetic Association. She recently obtained her Certificate of Training in Childhood and Adolescent Weight Management. She has experience working in long term care facilities and is currently working at a daycare. Kelly has always been interested in nutrition and fitness her whole life. Kelly is a vegetarian, and tries to eat mostly whole foods. In her free time, she likes spending time with her friends and family, working out, and playing with her 2 cats Chloe and Daisy and dog Charlotte. Kelly can be reached via email at klforness@yahoo.com.

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