We’re not going to lie to you: Gooey, creamy mac and cheese will never be as healthy as a salad. But it can be healthier. Employ one of these nutrition-boosting strategies to feel better about getting your cheesy pasta fix.
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Broccoli and Whole Wheat Mac and Cheese
Credit: © Ian Knauer

1. Amp up cheese sauce with vegetable puree. Cut down on fat and add nutritional value by swapping out some of the cheese for a creamy butternut squash puree. Or, if you really want to make a healthy mac-and-cheese-esque dish, cut out the cheese entirely by replacing the sauce with pureed carrots.

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2. Use whole wheat pasta. Not only are whole wheat noodles better for you than the standard elbow macaroni, they also give mac and cheese a heartier texture. Try them with a smoky cheddar sauce, leftover roast chicken or diced broccoli (above).

Whole Wheat Mac and Cheese with Chicken
Credit: © Ian Knauer

3. Replace some of the cheese with yogurt. Mix yogurt with grated parmesan and garlic for an impossibly creamy, better-for-you sauce. Bonus: The yogurt gives the dish extra tang.

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4. Add more greens. Get your daily dose of healthy greens by tossing them into cheesy pasta. Try this recipe with baby spinach or discover a new reason to love kale with this one.

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5. Pump up the flavor with roasted garlic. Rich and naturally creamy roasted garlic is a great way to make supersatisfying mac and cheese without piling on too much cheese.

Roasted Garlic Mac and Cheese
Credit: © Ian Knauer