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5 Ways to Hack Mac and Cheese... and Make it Healthier for Kids

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With school, homework, and all the extracurriculars, not only are kids busy, but mom and dad are too!

Finding something healthy to eat that your kids love doesn’t have to be a challenge.

Beth Surich, general manager of I Heart Mac and Cheese in Fort Lauderdale, is sharing five ways you can make America’s favorite dish, macaroni and cheese, healthier.


Credit: I Heart Mac and Cheese

1. Go with the Wheat

When you choose wheat noodles over standard white noodles, you’re choosing more whole grains. That means more vitamins, minerals, proteins, and fiber. For example, one cup of whole grain pasta has about 23% of a daily serving of fiber. White pasta has only 9%.

2. Add Vegetables

Sometimes you need to sneak vegetables in kids food. When it comes to macaroni and cheese, it’s a nice additive.

“At I Heart Mac and Cheese, kids love seeing us add the veggies in and mix them up inside, so they usually try a couple, like mushrooms and pickles,” Surich said.

3. Add Protein

Oh yes, you don’t just need your veggies. You need protein too.

“A favorite here is something called the best of both worlds,” Surich said. “We actually put your macaroni and cheese in between two toasted pieces of bread and add short rib to it.”

Short rib, ham, chicken, meatballs, and so much more can be added to a child’s mac and cheese to help them fuel their growing muscles and bones.


Credit: I Heart Mac and Cheese

4. Add Red Sauce

Now, it’s hard to take away all the cheese from mac and cheese, but why not substitute a little for some red sauce? Taking all pasta sauces into consideration, tomato marinara sauce has less fat and calories than other cream based sauces, like Alfredo.

5. Bake It

Some people roll their macaroni and cheese into little balls, bread it, and drop it in a fryer. While that sounds delicious, there is a healthier option if you want to jazz up this popular dish. You can bake it. Baking food in the oven doesn’t require any oil or fat, so it’s a healthier alternative.

One of the most sought after and popular comfort foods is a quick, easy fix and yes… it can be healthy too!

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