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.
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.


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.


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.


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