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Make it Natural: Stovetop Whole Wheat Macaroni and Cheese

You can't go wrong with macaroni and cheese-just about everyone loves it! While there are plenty of convenient boxed options out there, making mac and cheese from scratch lets you use natural ingredients, including freshly grated cheese, and you get to control the amount of salt and fat. This means a healthier version with no artificial colors or flavors and it's not hard to make - you can even get the kids to help! Whole Wheat Mac and Cheese We thought back-to-school time was the perfect opportunity to satisfy all those requests we've received for a healthier but family friendly version of stovetop macaroni and cheese. Check out the recipe we developed for Stovetop Whole Wheat Macaroni and Cheese. Here's an overview of the steps we took to improve the nutritional profile of mac and cheese:
  • We substituted whole wheat macaroni for refined white flour macaroni. This one changes makes so much difference!
    • Whole wheat is an excellent source of dietary fiber and manganese, and a good source of magnesium.
    • Using whole wheat macaroni provides 5 grams of fiber per serving.
    • 8 ounces of whole wheat macaroni contains an additional 43 mg calcium, 157 mg phosphorus, 2 mg zinc, and 11 g fiber compared to 8 ounces of white macaroni.
  • Using nonfat (skim) milk reduces the fat in the recipe while providing the same amount of vitamins and minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin A and vitamin D. Using 1 cup of skim milk in place of whole milk saves 63 calories, 7 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, while adding 30 mg calcium and 251 IU vitamin A.
  • We used sharp cheddar cheese along with Parmesan for great flavor. On some boxed mixes you might find different versions of "yellow" in the ingredient list for a cheesier look. You won't find anything artificial in this recipe…or in the boxed mac and cheese on our shelves for that matter. We feature only foods that are free of artificial preservatives, colors, flavors, sweeteners, and hydrogenated fats per our Quality Standards.
  • Since you are making it from scratch, you control the amount of salt added.
Go to the full recipe for our Stovetop Whole Wheat Macaroni and Cheese, give it a try and let us know what you and your family think! Got a recipe that needs a natural makeover? Post it in the comments section below! If we select your recipe for a healthy makeover and publish the improved version on our website, we'll send you a $25 Whole Foods Market gift card.

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Melanie says …

I am looking for alternatives for the condensed soups that are the staple of southern casserole recipes.

Melanie says …

Much easier recipe: boil desired package of pasta according to directions; drain. While pasta is in collander, melt a couple of tablespoons of butter in pot over low to medium heat. When butter is melted, add 1/4 to 1/2 cup milk - this recipe is very forgiving on measurements. Stir to combine. Add 1 bag or 2 cups of shredded cheese of your choice. I like Colby/ jack or cheddar or an Italian blend or a mix of whatever is in the fridge. Stir until melted. It should be smooth. You can add more butter or milk if too lumpy or thick. Stir in the pasta and salt and pepper to taste.

Terry Auch says …

This is how i make if for my husband, but i use whole milk because the A and D vitamins are oil vitamins and i sometimes hid some whole yogurt in there, stirring it in the bowl i am serving it in. But i use the very same combo of cheese, I love that combo with salt, pepper and very little garlic on the top just before serving.

Jenni says …

So glad this was posted! I'm 6 months pregnant and have been craving mac and cheese, but of course have been trying to eat natural as much as possible. I knew I could make my own mac and cheese, but never knew it was that simple. Another comfort food that could use a healthy makeover would be spaghetti and meatballs... obviously one could substitute whole wheat spaghetti and make sauce from scratch, but meatballs are tricky. Veggie balls are always an option in my household, though I know my boyfriend likes the "real thing" from time to time.

Sarah @ Mum In Bloom says …

Great recipe! Thank you for sharing and I'll give it a try! Mac 'n Cheeze in the box is our favourite lunch and I love it as much as the kids. I've been making my homemade oven version as the healthier alternative but it creates so many dishes and I hate to turn the oven on in summer heat. In our house we LOVE Jell-O. It's an easy snack to prepare and it's so cheap. I'm looking for a make-from-scratch version and am not sure where to begin. I'd love any tips or feedback.

Meenakshi says …

I guess it's not just me.... everyone has been craving mac n cheese. Quite a coincidence that I just made us some couple days back and wrote about it here: http://onestopeats.wordpress.com/2009/08/03/heavenly-mac-n-cheese/