Macaroni pasta is one of those versatile foods that works perfectly as a side dish, main course, and even as art (you know, those macaroni art projects our kids bring home from school), but nothing is more synonymous with macaroni than cheese: America’s favorite comfort food! So, in honor of National Macaroni Day (July 7, 2014), Healthy Little Cooks wants you to know the best ways to make your favorite Mac & Cheese recipe a little more healthy for you and your family. So here is our list of the top 6 ways to do just that!
1. Peas– these small but nutritious vegetables can be added to your stovetop or baked casserole Mac & Cheese recipe. Peas are high in fiber, protein, vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin B1, manganese, copper, and folate.
2. Broccoli– mix in finely chopped broccoli to your dish to give it added vitamin K, vitamin C, chromium, folate, and fiber.
3. Navy Beans– simply stir navy beans into the pasta and cheese sauce mixture. This will give your recipe a big boost in nutrition: fiber, folate, manganese, copper, vitamin B1, protein, magnesium, and iron.
4. Whole Wheat Pasta– this type of pasta contains all 3 parts of the grain which allows for the most nutritional value. By using whole wheat pasta for your Mac & Cheese (instead of nutritionally stripped down “white” pastas) it will give you added fiber, protein, vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin B1, manganese, copper, and folate.
5. Spinach– adding in this green, leafy vegetable will give your dish a lot of extra health benefit. Spinach contains vitamin K, vitamin A, manganese, folate, magnesium, iron, copper, calcium, and potassium.
6. Low-Fat Milk– using a low-fat milk (2% or 1%) instead of whole milk will make your recipe healthier because it cuts down on the amount of calories and fat, which is always a welcomed benefit to your family’s diet.
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