Mac and cheese is a meal that is loved by many people all over the world. It is a popular meal among kids, and adults love this rich and creamy dish. But it’s not always about what’s tasty; you must go for what is healthy and nutritious. Is mac and cheese good for you?
Due to its high calorie and fat content, mac and cheese is not good for you. Even though it offers some health benefits, eating mac and cheese could pose severe health threats. As a result, you might want to limit your consumption or remove this dish from your diet.
Mac and cheese is often considered unhealthy because of its high calorie and fat content. However, there are some health benefits to consuming mac and cheese, and there are also ways to make it healthier. In this article, you’ll learn how to lower the fat content in your favorite dish so you can enjoy it without harming your body.
Is Mac And Cheese Good For You? Is It Healthy?
Mac and cheese is quite healthy for both kids and adults but to an extent. One of the key benefits of eating mac and cheese is that it is a good source of protein. Cheese is a rich protein source, essential for building and repairing muscle and maintaining a healthy immune system. The pasta in mac and cheese is also a good carbohydrate source, which provides energy for the body.
Another benefit of eating mac and cheese is that it is a good source of calcium. Calcium is essential for maintaining strong bones and teeth and plays a role in muscle contraction, blood clotting, and nerve function. Cheese is a particularly good source of calcium, and it is estimated that one serving of mac and cheese can provide up to 25% of the recommended daily calcium intake.
However, not all mac and cheese is created equal. Some brands of mac and cheese is loaded with artificial ingredients, preservatives, and unhealthy additives, which can harm health.
Also, you’ll find excessive levels of fat and refined carbs in this combo contributing to its high-calorie content. It is no news that burning fewer calories than you eat can bring about weight gain without regard to the kinds of food sources.
Aside from its high-calorie content, mac and cheese is also high in sodium. Medically, no one should exceed an average of 2,300 mg daily of sodium, and an excessive intake could result in high blood pressure.
Is Mac And Cheese Good For The Heart?
Mac and cheese pose serious health risks to the heart. If you suffer from any heart condition, you should watch your consumption due to its high amounts of fats and sodium. Even homemade mac and cheese can also be a threat to the heart.
But if included with plenty of vegetables, mac and cheese can be a healthier option. Vegetables are heart-friendly, making it safe to include them in your next mac and cheese diet. Also, it is important to keep everything in moderation to prevent adverse effects.
Is Mac And Cheese Good For Bodybuilding?
Mac and cheese is rich in carbohydrates, adding more mass to your body. Meanwhile, bodybuilding is all about muscles, and high amounts of protein in the diet are necessary for this purpose. Carbohydrates alone cannot get the job done.
Unfortunately, mac and cheese have a very low protein composition, which is not as good for bodybuilding as other protein-rich foods. If you are committed to building muscles and losing fat, mac, and cheese is not the right option for you – you should stay away from this.
How To Make Mac And Cheese Good For You
Mac and cheese is made with rich, high-calorie ingredients, including cheese, pasta, and cream. A few versions of the dish also include cream cheese or butter, which is rich in fats and calories. Luckily, there are easy alternatives you can make in the recipe to make mac and cheese still enjoyable and, most importantly, healthy.
Below are a few ways to enjoy healthier mac and cheese:
- Instead of plain macaroni, use high-protein, high-fiber pasta made from beans or chickpeas.
- Add cauliflower or broccoli florets to reduce the calories and carbohydrate content.
- Ensure you follow the “light preparation” directions on boxed mac and cheese products since most require less milk and butter.
- You can increase your mac and cheese’s fiber content by adding vegetables to it. This should also help decrease the calories per serving.
- You can flavor your mac and cheese using half the regular cheese portion and including spices.
- Instead of unsweetened nut milk, use milk and cream to reduce the calorie content of mac and cheese.
- In place of cream cheese, use Neufchâtel cheese to reduce the calorie count of the dish. For context, this particular cheese provides the same unique flavor and creamy texture.
- You can increase the protein count of the meal by adding other lean protein sources, like tuna or beans.
Homemade mac and cheese
- 1 pound elbow macaroni
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- Cook the macaroni according to the package directions. Once cooked, drain the pasta and set it aside.
- In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add the flour and whisk continuously for about 2-3 minutes until it turns golden brown.
- Slowly add the milk to the pot, whisking continuously to prevent lumps from forming. Cook the mixture for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently until it thickens.
- Add the shredded cheddar cheese to the pot and stir until it has melted and is fully incorporated into the sauce.
- Add the salt, black pepper, and paprika to the pot and stir until everything is well combined.
- Add the cooked macaroni to the pot and stir until the pasta is fully coated in the cheese sauce.
- If you prefer a baked macaroni and cheese, transfer the mixture to a baking dish and bake it in the oven at 375°F for about 20-25 minutes until the top is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly.
- Serve the macaroni and cheese hot and enjoy!
Mac and cheese is tasty but not very healthy. It is rich in fat; therefore, you should try to eat it moderately. If possible, limit your serving size to a maximum of one cup, estimated at 200 grams per serving. Also, you can follow the tips I outlined in this article to enjoy healthier mac and cheese without missing out on quality taste.