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Nutrition and Fitness

Mealtime Makeover: Mac and Cheese


This dish is healthier with low-fat milk and evaporated skim milk, whole-wheat elbow macaroni, and reduced-fat cheeses.

Prep time: 50 minutes


This Recipe:

  • 2 c. whole-wheat elbow macaroni
  • 1½ c. 1% milk
  • 1 c. evaporated skim milk
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1¾ c. low-fat shredded monterey jack cheese
  • 1¾ c. low-fat shredded cheddar cheese
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • Optional: ½ tsp. mustard powder and dash of cayenne pepper

Traditional Recipe:

  • 2 c. elbow macaroni
  • 2½ tbsp. butter
  • 3 tbsp. flour
  • 2½ c. milk
  • 3 c. shredded cheddar cheese
  • ½ tsp. salt
  1. In large Dutch oven or stockpot, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta and set aside.
  2. In small bowl, take 2 tbsp. of the measured 1% milk and mix with cornstarch until it's dissolved.
  3. Add remaining 1% milk and evaporated skim milk to empty Dutch oven. Mix in the milk and cornstarch and cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until mixture bubbles and starts to thicken. Continue cooking and stirring for 1 to 4 minutes until mixture is creamy. Remove from heat and gradually stir in salt, seasonings and cheeses until cheese is melted and uniform.
  4. Add cooked macaroni to cheese mixture, stirring to make sure that all noodles are coated.
  5. Transfer macaroni and cheese into a 2-quart casserole dish that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.
  6. Bake at 350º F (176º C) for 20 to 30 minutes, until cheese sauce is bubbly.
  7. Let the dish stand for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Serves: 6

Serving size: 2/3 cup

Nutritional analysis (per serving):
This Recipe Traditional Recipe
314 calories 507 calories
21 g protein 21 g protein
10 g fat 27 g fat
7 g sat. fat 17 g sat. fat
35 g carbohydrate 45 g carbohydrate
3 g fiber 1 g fiber
33 mg cholesterol 83 mg cholesterol
605 mg sodium 668 mg sodium
508 mg calcium 465 mg calcium
1.5 mg iron 1.3 mg iron
5 mcg folic acid 114 mcg folic acid (fortified noodles)

Note: Analysis may vary depending on ingredient brands used.

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: May 2011


Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses and treatment, consult your doctor.

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