Velveeta Broccoli Rotini & Cheese
If you thought the Velveeta options couldn’t get any worse, enter the broccoli rotini. You would think this would be a safer option, as adding vegetables to any pasta dish is always encouraged. But here, Velveeta is serving up a mac and cheese dish that is packing as much sodium as four and half medium-size orders of McDonald’s French fries, making it the worst boxed mac and cheese option. Big yikes.
The New York TimesEat This, Not That!
A Low Sodium Mac And Cheese
Mac and Cheese from a box seems to come in two levels of sodium per cup, 570mg for the regular or 910mg for the deluxe version. Of course, neither one having any real cheese, just what is that really?
For most regular recipes, sodium levels vary widely from just under 600mg up to 1000mg for just one cup. Most of the sodium amount depends on how much and the type of cheese used.
This Low Sodium Mac and Cheese is right at the bleeding edge of what I would consider acceptable for my low sodium diet. This recipe comes in at 152mg of sodium per one cup. Still way lower than the boxed version or most recipes but, much higher than I like to have for a side dish. Thankfully it is not a side dish I eat often to really worry about.
How To Make Homemade Roux For A Creamy Sauce
To make a simple and flavorful roux, start by melting a stick of butter in a medium saucepan.
Whisk in the salt and pepper. A very important step is to continue stirring for a good 2-3 minutes until roux turns a bit darker in color. It becomes richer and even more fabulous.
Slowly whisk in the milk until mixture is thick and creamy. This step will take a couple minutes over medium heat.
Stir in cheese until creamy and cheese is melted through. I prefer a finely shredded mild cheddar. It melts quickly and has a perfect cheddar flavor.
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Is It Really Low Sodium
We will call it low sodium for a once in a while, comparative sense. While it may be lower sodium for a Mac and cheese, you will more than likely still be pairing it with another main meal entree. In the end that could potentially put you over your sodium per meal goal.
Unfortunately the main ingredient besides the pasta is cheese. And most cheese is just not our friend in a low sodium diet world.
Mac and cheese has never been a side dish Ive eaten very often. I would mainly have it when at a cookout or around a holiday. But when I do, I like it a little saucier rather than just a clump of dry, sticky cheese covered noodles. Either way, it is probably not a side dish that you really should be eating every day, but it does hit the spot once in a while.
I had to make and eat four different versions of Mac and cheese to achieve what I thought was a decent mix between low sodium and for it to still have a cheesy taste. I am officially Mac and cheesed out for a while.
So it was a push-pull process getting a moderate amount of cheese and balancing that with a dish that you really dont eat every day but would still taste good. I had to reduce the cheese to the bare minimum but still taste like Mac and cheese. Then I cooked the pasta in unsalted chicken broth and milk in a low boil, reducing the amount of cheese and calories to give it more flavor and extra creaminess.
What If You Eat An Entire Box Of Kraft Mac & Cheese
The reality is that most people eat significantly more than one serving of the food at a time. A simple reveals how incredibly common it is for people to eat an entire box by themselves.
So, say you down an entire 7.25-ounce box by yourself after using the Classic Prep method to prepare it. Heres what the nutrition facts for that meal roughly look like:
- 1,050 calories
- 13.5 grams of saturated fat
- 2,160mg of sodium
- 21 grams of sugar
- 30 grams of protein
Now were looking at a meal thats high in calories and saturated fat and very high in sodium. If youre consistently eating meals like this, its going to be difficult to lose weight.
If I had to make a nutritional comparison, a box of Kraft Original Flavor Macaroni & Cheese Dinner is remarkably similar to a Chipotle burrito made with chicken, white rice, black beans, fajita veggies, cheese, sour cream and red-chili salsaat least in terms of total calorie, fat, saturated fat and sodium content.
However, the burrito contains twice as much fiber as the box of Kraft Mac & Cheese. Fiber is a nutrient thats key for keeping you full and regular in the near term while also contributing to a reduced risk of chronic disease and better overall health over the long haul, and most of us dont eat enough of it.
The burrito is also going to be significantly higher in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants thanks to its superior quantity of plant-based foods.
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Medium Levels Of Cheese
A few cheeses weigh in at 100 to 125 mg: Neufchatel, Goat cheese, Gruyere. Consider that the varieties at the top of the list have nearly 4 times the amount of sodium than these cheeses! If you enjoy their flavors, these cheeses can probably considered as an occasional delicacy of a not too strict low sodium diet. Remember that GruyÃ¨re cheese is technically a variation of Swiss cheese.
If You Really Want A Baked On Topping
Though I am not a fan of baked Mac and cheese if you really want a topping and for it to be done right it will have to go in the oven. Pour Mac and Cheese mix into an appropriately sized oven safe dish. Sprinkle Matzo meal and any additional spices as desired over top, then a heavy spray of olive oil cooking spray.
Bake in a pre-heated 425 degree oven for about 15 minutes until the topping just browns. Then remove and let cool for 10 to 15 minutes.
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How To Make Mac And Cheese
Heres What Youll Need For This Low Sodium Mac And Cheese Recipe:
Dash Garlic & Herb Seasoning as a flavorful substitute to salt.
unsalted butter and flour to create a light roux to thicken the cream sauce.
cheddar cheese and pepper jack cheese. I like a mix of flavors.
elbow macaroni or pasta shells.
panko breadcrumbs and sliced tomatoes to top.
AND! Heres another Thanksgiving sides you can make with Dash Seasoning: Creamy Smoked Gouda Brussels Sprouts
Well start by making a very light roux. In a heavy bottom saucepan whisk together melted butter and flour.
Whisk until no pesky flour lumps remain and the flour has toasted to the most pale tan color that will ensure that any dusty flour taste has cooked off.
Slowly stream in the milk, whisking constantly. The flour will instantly absorb the milk but just keep a steady stream and whisk and the mixture will smooth out to a velvety cream sauce.
Our cream sauce needs FLAVOR!
Add fresh cracked black pepper, chili powder, garlic powder and a few good teaspoon of Dash Garlic & Herb Seasoning. Were adding all of the flavor and none of the sodium to this creamy mac and cheese base.
Once the cream sauce has simmered a bit and thickened, add heaps of shredded cheese.
I like a mix of cheese. Sharp cheddar paired with pepper jack cheese is my absolute favorite though I always have a place in my heart for Gruyere. You cant go wrong!
Stir until the cheese is melted through. Give the sauce a taste and season with more chili powder and Dash Garlic & Herb Seasoning if youd prefer.
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Hacking The Salt But Perfecting The Taste
We needed to copy the ooey-gooey melty goodness with our low sodium version. So we started with our melty cheese sauce. We make a bechamel sauce by creating a roux and mixing in a lower sodium milk option to give us the rich creamy base. Just like we use in my Low Sodium Swiss Potato Au Gratin.
Next came the spices and seasoning for flavor and color. We were looking to hit a cross between the processed cheese powder and an aged cheddar. We started with notes of onion. I thought that ground mustard would give us the tang and salt flavor. We were close, but we needed earthiness, so out came the paprika. It was almost there. We added Swiss, yes, Swiss.
Trust me on this, it works. You need the nuttiness and casein taste of Swiss which is also the base flavors of cheddar, before they split in direction. Finally, you need the umami that aging gives to cheddar. We tried a few choices, but settled with turmeric. It provides the aged cheddar nuance, and better yet, it gives us that super dayglo orange color we need to mentally associate it to the boxed version.
How Do You Prepare Cheese For Babies With Baby
Every baby develops on their own timeline. The preparation suggestions below are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional, one-on-one advice from your pediatric medical or health professional, nutritionist or dietitian, or expert in pediatric feeding and eating. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read or seen here.
6 to 9 months old: Cut into wide, thin slices for your baby to munch on. Avoid offering cubes of cheese, which increase the choking risk.
9 to 18 months old: Continue to cut into thin slices for your baby or toddler. If a too big piece of cheese breaks off int their mouth, give your child the opportunity to work the cheese forward before intervening. You may also offer shredded cheese if you are nervous about choking.
18 to 24 months old: If your baby has established good chewing and swallowing skills, they may be ready for cubes of cheese. While cubes can increase the risk of choking compared to thin slices, it is a good skill for toddlers to learn as cheese is often served in cubes at parties.
For more information on how to cut food for babies, visit our page on Food Sizes & Shapes.
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Velveeta Shells & Cheese
Don’t let Velveeta fool youwhile this mac and cheese is made with a packet of cheese sauce, it’s not necessarily healthy by any means. From the 12 grams of fat and the ridiculously high amount of sodium, it’s best to leave this “liquid gold” on the shelf. Keep in mind this is just one serving! You’re much better off trying your hand at making your own mac and cheese from scratch.
Whats The Healthiest Way To Enjoy Chick
If you want to give it a try, Palinski-Wade definitely recommends the smaller option. Since mac and cheese should be an occasional indulgence, choosing the smaller portion would be the better way to go, especially if you are pairing it with additional menu items, she says. The larger size contains more than 50 percent of the daily recommended amount of sodium and almost 70 percent of the entire days recommendation of saturated fat.
And considering that the mac and cheese already contains a high amount of saturated fat, sodium, and carbs, Palinski-Wade suggests pairing it with a leaner main option, like the Market Saladthat is, if you can conceptualize going to Chick-fil-A without picking up a chicken sandwich. The Market Salad is one of the lowest items on the menu in carbohydrates, sodium, and saturated fat, she says.
If you prefer to go with the chicken sandwich and understandably need to pair it with a side thats anything but a salad, Palinski-Wade says that there isnt much of a nutritional difference to grabbing waffle fries and mac and cheese. Surprisingly, the waffle fries contain fewer amounts of sodium and saturated fat. However, they also contain a higher amount of carbs and less protein, making them a less filling option, she says. Both options should be used an occasional indulgence, and its best to stick with the small over larger portions when ordering.
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Low Sodium Stovetop Macaroni And Cheese
My favorite pre-Meniere’s mac and cheese is Alton Brown’s baked mac and cheese. The sauce has so much flavor and it’s not dry like most other baked mac and cheese recipes. But every time I tried to modify or recreate a low sodium version , I ended up with something very bland and very dry and still a bit higher in sodium than I’d like . So I decided to convert to stove top methods. The pasta absorbs less of the sauce, so you don’t need as much to get the same flavor and better yet, it’s fast and can be done in a single pot. I modified Melissa Clark’s stovetop Mac and cheese recipe by adding a little water to the cream, some herbs and spices to the cheese mix, and topping with the toasted panko bread crumbs I love from Alton’s recipe. The result is 6 cups of creamy, cheesy, crunchy mac and cheese at just 43 mg of sodium per serving. There’s no flour or butter, it only takes 30 minutes from start to finish, and it reheats well.
Servings: Makes 6 cups
Sodium: 43 mg sodium per cup
Time: 30 minutes
Ingredients:8 ounces of dry small elbow macaroni
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 tsp dry ground mustard
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
pinch of nutmeg
4 ounces Swiss cheese, shredded
For the topping:1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
pinch garlic powder
pinch fresh thyme
1 tablespoon oil or butter
Silky Smooth Macaroni And Cheese
Recipe October 23, 2012
One of the traditional dishes we took on in Modernist Cuisine at Home is classic mac and cheese. While we have always loved this family staple, there is an inherent problem with traditional preparations: all of the virtues of using good cheese are lost when you make a cheese sauce with flour and milk, as in a traditional béchamel sauce, the standard in nearly all macaroni and cheese recipes.
Cheese is an emulsion of dairy fat and water, but that emulsion tends to break down when it gets hot. The starch particles and milk proteins in béchamel act as emulsifiers, but they arent very good at their job and result in poor flavor release. So, either you sacrifice the flavor of the cheese by adding far too much béchamel, or you dilute the cheese less at the cost of greasiness. We solve this problem with a little emulsion science and the use of sodium citrate.
Our modernist version of mac and cheese owes its chemistry to James L. Kraft, who in 1916 patented the first American cheese slice. He showed that sodium phosphate keeps the water and fat droplets mixed when the cheese is melted. We use sodium citrate, which has the same effect and is easier to find. The resulting texture is as smooth as melted American cheese, but as complex and intense in flavor as any of your favorite cheeses.
adapted from the recipe for Mac and Cheese on page 310 of Modernist Cuisine at Home
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Solving The Issue Of Dayglo Cheese
The myth of macaroni and cheese is that it is cheddar cheese in it. First, I dont think anyone really knows what is in that salt laden packet of cheese powder. It definitely isnt cheddar. Second, most scratch recipes start with a bechamel sauce which is a golden white sauce. Finally, cheddar as an aged cheese, is not typically a good melter on its own.
Here at Hacking Salt we have learned that the lowest sodium Cheeses that are typically available to us are Swiss, Emmentaler, Marscapone, and some Ricottas. Not typically what you picture as mac n cheese. I would already be steeling myself for hate comments if I delivered up a white Swiss mac and cheese. I think part of it is mental. It has to be the dayglo golden orange color, or it isnt mac and cheese. Fine! Challenge accepted.
Modern Table Three Cheese Mac & Cheese
Modern Table is known for its high-protein options and this mac and cheese does deliver that.
Our protein-packed Three Cheese Mac & Cheese combines the power of plant protein with the joy of comfort food. Lentils, rice and pea protein make up our gluten-free, protein-packed mac & cheese, plus a three-cheese sauce we call the triple threat.
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Calories Protein And Fat Per Serving
Each box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, made with reduced-fat milk and margarine, makes three 1/3-cup portions. A serving has 400 calories, or 20 percent of the daily value, and 10 grams of protein, or 13 percent of the daily value, based on a 2,000-calorie diet. A portion also has 29 percent of the fat daily value, with 19 total grams. Saturated and trans fat make up 8.5 grams of fat per serving. Limit daily saturated fat intake to 20 grams and trans fat to 2 grams on 2,000-calorie diet.