Sadly, the nutritional value of macaroni and cheese is generally inadequate to say the least. Most macaroni and cheese recipes have no fruits and vegetables added. There is usually little or no dietary fiber. On top of that, macaroni and cheese made from scratch provides a prolific number of calories.
Fortunately, food manufacturers have started making whole grain macaroni and cheese. This tiny extra bit of nutritional value makes a huge difference. The lack of dietary fiber in most macaroni and cheese products makes it a poor choice if you are considered about blood sugar or cardiovascular disease. It also makes it a poor choice if you are concerned about the well-being of your digestive system. The knowledge that you are eating whole grains takes away that extra guilt associated with knowing that you might be better off eating salad, a sandwich, or something that didn’t come from a box.
The question you might be asking is whether or not it tastes good. Most whole grain foods have a reputation for having an unpleasant grainy consistency that is not palatable. Needless to say, whole grain foods are generally not as popular as foods made with refined flour. Therefore, one might predict that whole grain macaroni and cheese would be difficult to eat.
The product I reviewed was Annie’s Bunny Pasta with Yummy Cheese. I purchased this item at Sprouts. But it can be purchased at most grocery stores. The price of this particular item was more expensive than other macaroni and cheese products, which might be a turn off to people concerned about eating whole grains. If you need some extra fiber, and you just love macaroni and cheese, than you might consider paying the extra money for the whole grain product.
My first comment is that the noodles were shaped like bunnies and carrots. This was incredibly cute. No matter how grainy the noodles were, it was nice to look down at my bowl and see tiny bunnies.
I prepared the recipe four times. My guest commented on the texture. He noted that the texture of the pasta was indeed different than regular macaroni and cheese. It was more firm. I, however, enjoyed it all the same.
If you are concerned about the palatability of whole grain macaroni and cheese, here are some ideas to make it taste better:
· Add pepper, and possibly hot sauce
· Blanch some baby tomatoes and throw them into your bowl
· Mix in some basil
· Try adding peanuts or walnuts, or be bold and add some Brazil nuts
· One tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil will give your macaroni and cheese a rich and slightly exotic flavor
Sean Pohlod is studying Human Nutrition-Dietetics at Metropolitan State University of Denver, and will receive his degree in spring of 2014. His plan is to work in clinical nutrition, and is currently working on building clinical experience. Some of his personal hobbies include bike riding, cooking and yoga.