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healthy mac and cheese

High Protein Healthy Mac And Cheese (And What I Ate Before)

My journey to eating heathier passed by a lot of phases. I tried many things. But only after approaching the problem thinking long term it started to make sense.

One of the best decisions I made was changing the recipes I loved the most with better alternatives. Either by changing the ingredients or the amount of each – depending on the recipe.

Today I bring you my attempt on a mac & cheese that has a different nutrient distribution than the original recipe, and a lot less calories (because the original was a beast…).

Healthier mac and cheese – step by step

First, the ingredient swaps. My original mac and cheese was made with pasta, cheddar cheese (a package of it per person) and milk.

The new and improved version removes the cheddar to add yogurt and cottage cheese. Then the amount of pasta. Let’s say we did eat a lot. And I honestly don’t know how we were not fatter (maybe the diets in between this kind of days helped, I don’t know). But the amount just seems wrong for two people.

Finally, the milk. I don’t know if this is something other people do, but we actually cooked the pasta in milk (only for this recipe really, we usually cook pasta as normal people do). In the new recipe we will only use the milk to help make the sauce creamier, not to cook the pasta.

Check below the ingredients. Note these are for 1 person only:

ingredients mac and cheese
Before
I can feel its better just by looking at this picture

Now the steps:

Pasta step
cooked pasta
Pasta is ready

Step 1: Cook the pasta according to the package. You can take it a little before its ready because it will still cook a bit with the cheese, especially if you don’t like it too soft.

Cheese step
cheese sauce
Sauce is ready

Step 2: while the pasta cooks, use a food processor or a hand blender (in Portuguese we call it magic wand xD – took me some time to find the right name for this post) to smooth the cottage cheese. You can leave it as it comes, but it takes a little longer to get to the right consistency when you warm it up with the pasta.

Mix it up
Done!

Step 3: Drain the water from the pasta, add the yogurt and the cheese and put it back on the stove. At this stage you can also add the milk. In the recipe there is 100ml of milk, but it’s really a question of taste, in terms of the thickness of the sauce, so you can add more or less if you prefer. Then I like to bring it to a boil and leave it until I think it has the correct consistency for me. Confirm the salt and add pepper if you like it.

The taste test

I’ve made my old recipe for this post (in a very small quantity). I can tell you I now prefer the healthier version. I’ve been eating that one for quite some time now and it is in my opinion superior to the one I ate before.

Maybe my taste buds changed in the meantime, but the new one is actually creamier and makes me feel much better after. If I were to improve it, in terms of flavor, I could change the cottage for some ricotta or other cheese with a little more fat, or simply add some butter. If your are not trying to lose weight, give it a try and let me know. For the ones looking to lose fat, this is a very tasty option – but make sure it fits your daily calorie budget.

I’m for sure not coming back to the old version. Its simply not worth, taking into account the calories it packs in such small quantity. Plus the saturated fat (check below, its almost the double of the recommended daily value).

ready mac and cheese

Nutrition Change

The most noticeable difference is in the calories. Just to put it in perspective, when losing weight, I ate in a whole day less calories than this meal had.

Then there is the amount of fat, and specially saturated fat. Well, it sure was a full cheese package, but I never thought it was this bad until I took the time to make this post.

However, this is still a high carb recipe, and for those of you avoiding carbs might not be an option. But it is not for sure the crazy amount we used to eat.

Note that nutrition information is a rough estimate.

BEFORE

AFTER

healthy mac and cheese nutrition label

If you liked the recipe you can check out the original link for the cottage mac and cheese to save it.

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