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Make a healthier Mac & Cheese, with extra veggies

Published March 27, 2012 4:38 pm

Make it healthy • Dish features squash and carrots as sneaky nutritional add-ins.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Grocery stores are packed with products that may tout convenience, but contain ingredients that aren't healthy. Today, we highlight Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Dinner Cups Pixar Cars.

Kraft Macaroni & Cheese was introduced in 1937, but when it was introduced it probably didn't contain the 28 ingredients it does now, and there was just one variety. Today there are 17 varieties, though I'm not really sure what the difference is between cheddar explosion, extreme cheddar explosion and grilled cheese explosion.

Where Kraft has crossed the line, and by extension Pixar, Viacom and Disney, is by targeting kids with three very unhealthy mac and cheeses, featuring very friendly animated characters Cars, SpongeBob Squarepants and Phineas & Ferb.



That means a child would ingest 28 mainly manufactured ingredients, when eight natural ones suffice.

Particularly terrible ingredients in the Kraft dish include monosodium glutamate, which causes nausea and headaches in adults; sodium tripolyphosphate (a texturizer and registered pesticide), which according to Foodandwater watch.org can cause acute skin irritation; and synthetic food dyes yellow 5 and 6, which have been linked with hyperactivity and other behavior problems in kids.

In addition, kids up to 8 years old should get only 1,600 calories a day, not 2,000, which is the total that Kraft uses as the base of its nutritional data.

Note: The from-scratch recipe of macaroni and cheese — with sharp cheddar and Parmesan cheeses and 1 percent milk — has more fat, cholesterol and calories than Kraft's, which underscores that macaroni and cheese should be an occasional food, not an everyday meal.

If you'd like a healthier substitute for a processed food in your pantry, email your request to lneilson@sltrib.com. —

Sneaky stovetop mac 'n' cheese

1/2 pound elbow macaroni (about 2 cups uncooked)

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

2 cups milk

1/2 cup each puréed, cooked butternut squash and puréed, cooked carrots (or 1 cup squash)

1/2 teaspoon salt

Dash of nutmeg (optional)

1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Bring a pot of salted water to boil and cook the pasta until just before it is al dente.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and stir to combine. Increase the heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly, about 5 minutes. Using a whisk, add the milk slowly to the butter-flour mixture. Cook until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes.

Stir in the squash and carrots, salt and nutmeg. Remove from the heat. Sprinkle in the cheddar, and then the parmesan cheese while stirring slowly to combine. Add the drained pasta to the sauce and stir to combine. Serve immediately or freeze individual portions for easy, microwaveable meals.

Makes • 6-8 servings

Source • Caroline Lubbers, Whippedtheblog.com —

Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Dinner Cups Pixar Cars

Enriched macaroni product (wheat flour, glycerol monostearate, niacin, ferrous sulfate [iron], thiamin mononitrate [vitamin b1], riboflavin [vitamin b2], folic acid); cheese sauce mix (whey, corn syrup solids, palm oil, milkfat, salt, milk protein concentrate, contains less than 2% of medium chain triglycerides, sodium tripolyphosphate, citric acid, guar gum, sodium phosphate, natural flavor, lactic acid, calcium phosphate, monosodium glutamate, yellow 5, yellow 6, artificial flavor, enzymes, cheese culture); modified food starch, maltodextrin, potassium chloride, acetylated monoglycerides, salt, medium chain triglycerides, apocarotenal (color). —

Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Dinner Cups Pixar Cars

Enriched macaroni product (wheat flour, glycerol monostearate, niacin, ferrous sulfate [iron], thiamin mononitrate [vitamin b1], riboflavin [vitamin b2], folic acid); cheese sauce mix (whey, corn syrup solids, palm oil, milkfat, salt, milk protein concentrate, contains less than 2% of medium chain triglycerides, sodium tripolyphosphate, citric acid, guar gum, sodium phosphate, natural flavor, lactic acid, calcium phosphate, monosodium glutamate, yellow 5, yellow 6, artificial flavor, enzymes, cheese culture); modified food starch, maltodextrin, potassium chloride, acetylated monoglycerides, salt, medium chain triglycerides, apocarotenal (color).

At a glance

The amounts listed are per 1.9-ounce container of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. Daily recommendations are based on a diet of 1,600 calories, and don't take into consideration individual weight, age or gender.

Kraft/Made-from-scratch version/ Daily recommendations

Calories • 210/ 311/ 1,600

Total fat • 4 g/ 19 g/ less than 60 g

Saturated fat • 2 g/ 11 g/ less than 18 g

Trans fat • 0 g/ 0 g/ 0 g

Cholesterol • 5 mg/ 61 mg/ less than 300 mg

Sodium • 460 mg/ 453 mg/ less than 1,900 mg

Dietary fiber • 1 g/ 1 g/ 23 g

Sugar • 6 g/ 4 g/ 14 g (3 tsp)

Protein • 6 g/ 15 g / 19 g

 

 

 

 

 

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