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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! 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.