Every now and then the time comes when all you’re craving is a warm, creamy bowl of boxed mac & cheese. Not only is it delicious every time, but it’s an affordable meal as well. The only problem is that it’s hard to consume your favorite boxed mac & cheeses with confidence since most popular brands are filled with saturated fat, artificial colors, and low-quality ingredients.
Thankfully more and more brands are creating healthy boxed mac & cheeses for you to enjoy while still pursuing your personal health goals. To learn more, we talked with some expert dietitians about their favorites. Read on for their five recommendations, and for more, don’t miss 4 Cheese Brands to Stay Away From Right Now.
“This is the highest protein-packed mac and cheese we’ve found, with 14 grams of protein per serving. There are also 6 grams of fiber with prebiotics and 21 nutrients overall. It’s made with real cheese and is non-GMO, and has no artificial flavors or preservatives. So far, there is a 4.7 out of 5-star rating on Amazon, and people are really enjoying it as a healthy boxed mac & cheese,” says Courtney D’Angelo, MS, RD, author at Go Wellness.
“Made with chickpea pasta, Banza mac and cheese packs 5 grams of fiber per serving! It also contains 15 grams of protein (without any added ingredients when prepared) and is lower in sodium at 640 milligrams per serving. To top it off, you also get 15% of your calcium needs and only 7 grams of fat, making this mac and cheese a win!” says Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD author of The Sports Nutrition Playbook and member of our expert medical board.
“Made with lentils, peas, and rice, this pasta is gluten-free and packed with plant-based protein and cheese! With 4 grams of fiber and 16 grams of protein per serving, it is sure to keep you feeling satisfied after your meal. Plus, it is lower in sodium with 600 mg per serving,” says Goodson.
“This mac and cheese is made with actual vegetables, made primarily with zucchini plus lentils. With 170 calories (which is pretty low) and 10 grams of protein per serving, this is a great way to get in some extra veggies! Plus, this pasta’s serving size is 1-1/4 cups, so you get to eat a little more for less!” says Goodson.
“This mac and cheese by Annie’s is not only organic, but it also contains cheese sourced from 100% grass-fed cows. For people with no dairy or gluten intolerances, this is an excellent choice. It has 9 grams of protein per serving, which will help keep you full. Annie’s Organic Grass Fed Mac & Cheese also uses wholesome ingredients with no artificial flavors, synthetic colors, or preservatives,” says D’Angelo.