Healthy Mac and Cheese is can be done and taste incredible. If you have been looking for a lighter option of favorite comfort food, this is the recipe to choose! The combination of whole wheat pasta, lighter ingredients, and a delicious spice blend will make you crave this healthier version of a classic on a regular basis!
Whip up a batch of my homemade Cincinnati chili recipe and pour over this healthy mac and cheese for a kid-friendly homemade healthy chili mac!
Healthy Mac and Cheese
When making this recipe, I decided to use fiber laden whole wheat elbow macaroni alongside my favorite lower fat cheddar. This helped lower the fat and cholesterol, but kept the same texture and flavor I craved. The real secret to making this a perfect healthier version of your favorite macaroni and cheese comes from the addition of onion and a generous portion of black pepper.
If your family loves pasta but you hate the higher fat content, don’t miss out on my Lighter Spinach Pasta with Homemade Alfredo Sauce recipe!
Is Homemade Mac and Cheese Healthy?
Traditional Mac n Cheese is notoriously high in fat and calories and is often made with processed cheese sauce. Making your own cheese sauce at home and using non-processed ingredients will help make it healthier. Is it healthy by itself? Not so much.
I believe in moderation in all things, so having a big bowl of this by itself on occasion is just fine. It isn’t, however, a portion of food I would have on a daily basis as my main dish. Include this as a starchy side to a grilled fish or chicken recipe, with some nice roasted vegetables or my balsamic orange crispy Brussels sprouts recipe.
What vegetables should I serve alongside this?
You can use any of your favorite vegetable combinations either fresh or frozen in this healthy mac and cheese recipe. My favorites are green peas, broccoli, and carrots. You could also roast up squash, zucchini, onions, bell peppers, or even cauliflower and mix into this for extra fiber and deeper flavor.
Use the vegetables your family enjoys the most. This is a great recipe to add as a side with any meal, so choose the vegetables that suit your meal the best and have fun mixing and matching with different proteins.
- Whole-wheat elbow macaroni
- Whole wheat flour
- Skim milk
- Chicken broth
- Reduced-fat cheddar
- Black pepper
How do you make Healthy Mac n Cheese?
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the macaroni according to package directions for al dente.
Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the butter and onion, and cook until the onions are translucent, 4-6 minutes.
Stir in the flour and cook for about 1 minute. Increase the heat to medium-high and whisk in the milk and chicken broth. Stir frequently until the sauce starts to thicken, 10-12 minutes.
Stir in the cheese, salt, and black pepper.
Add the cheese sauce to the drained macaroni, and stir to evenly coat.
Healthy Mac n Cheese
- 12 oz whole wheat elbow macaroni, dry
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/2 small yellow onion, diced
- 2 tbsp white whole wheat flour
- 1 cup skim milk
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 1/2 cups 2% mild cheddar shredded cheese
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the macaroni according to package directions for al dente.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the butter and onion, and cook until the onions are translucent, 4-6 minutes.
- Stir in the flour and cook for about 1 minute. Increase the heat to medium-high and whisk in the milk and chicken broth. Stir frequently until the sauce starts to thicken, 10-12 minutes.
- Stir in the cheese, salt, and black pepper.
- Add the cheese sauce to the drained macaroni, and stir to evenly coat.