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Healthy Recipes

Looking for a perfect recipe for tonight’s dinner, or need something healthy and delicious to take to a friend’s house for a party? Crafted by our award-winning chefs, and built on the nutritional foundation developed by Dr. Cederquist, these recipes are exactly what you’re looking for!

Healthier For You Mac and Cheese Recipes

Mac and cheese is traditionally high in fat and refined carbohydrates, which means lots of calories with little nutritional value. Use the following healthy mac and cheese recipe to get more of the good, less of the bad, and all of the yummy flavor that you expect!

Healthier For You Mac and Cheese Recipes

For many, Macaroni and Cheese is a classic, all-American dish that evokes childhood nostalgia. However, this savory delight often poses unsavory consequences for dieters, as it is traditionally high in fat and refined carbohydrates that confer calories with little nutritional value. Use the following healthy mac and cheese recipe as an alternative to the tried and true preparation method. To customize your recipe further based on your dietary preferences, choose from one of the additional variants for a creamy comfort food that is sure to satisfy your appetite and your nutritional needs.

Light Mac and Cheese Recipe

In this healthy mac and cheese recipe, white pasta is replaced with whole wheat pasta, while hypercaloric cream, butter, and full-fat cheese are replaced with reduced-fat cheddar and zesty, nonfat Greek yogurt. A ⅔ cup serving of this nutrient-dense recipe offers 17 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber with only 237 calories.


● Cooking spray
● Salt
● 4 oz whole wheat macaroni
● 1/2 cup onion-garlic puree
● 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
● Cayenne pepper to taste
● 1 cup shredded, reduced-fat cheddar
● 1/3 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
● 1/4 cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs
● 1/4 cup grated Parmesan


1. Preheat your oven to 425°F. Coat an 8x8" baking dish with cooking spray.
2. Boil a large pot of salted water. Add in macaroni and cook according to package directions; drain.
3. In a small saucepan over medium heat, simmer the onion-garlic puree, mustard, and cayenne. Add in cheddar and whisk until melted. Remove from heat and add in yogurt.
4. In a medium bowl, combine the macaroni with the cheese sauce and sprinkle with salt to taste. Add the mixture into the baking dish. Sprinkle panko crumbs on the top and finish with a garnish of Parmesan cheese.
5. Bake the macaroni for approximately 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the macaroni is heated through.

Low Carb, High Protein Option

Replacing whole wheat macaroni with tenderized cauliflower florets and adding chopped chicken breast affords low-carb dieters a healthy mac and cheese recipe that is also protein-packed.

To prepare cauliflower mac and cheese, follow the light mac and cheese recipe above, but forego the macaroni and the panko bread crumbs. Instead, tenderize one head of cauliflower (chopped in florets) in boiling water for five minutes. Then, transfer the cauliflower to the baking dish along with chopped, cooked chicken and the cheese sauce. Combine the ingredients in the baking dish and bake until the cauliflower is cooked through.

Gluten-Free Option

By swapping macaroni with gluten-free pasta, and replacing panko with gluten-free puffed rice cereal, gluten-sensitive dieters can enjoy this classic dish without compromising their diet principles.

To prepare gluten-free mac and cheese, follow the light mac and cheese recipe above, but replace the whole wheat macaroni with gluten-free penne pasta that is cooked until al dente. Replace the panko bread crumbs with crushed gluten-free puffed rice cereal for a crisp and crunchy bite. Bake until the penne is hot throughout. Ensure that any other ingredients used in the recipe are gluten-free and were not cross-contaminated with gluten-filled ingredients.

Veggie Lover's Option

To infuse your healthy mac and cheese with zest, spice, and aroma, add vibrant, roasted vegetables and red pepper flakes into your dish. Add cut-up chicken, steak, or shrimp to further elevate its nutritional profile.

To prepare a hearty macaroni and cheese with vegetables, follow the light mac and cheese recipe above, but in addition, bake an assortment of colorful vegetables like broccoli florets, diced red pepper, diced yellow squash, and baby carrots in a foil-coated baking dish for 20 minutes at 400°F. Combine the vegetables with the pasta and cheese mixture, along with the crushed red pepper flakes. Bake until the macaroni is heated throughout.

If you don't have time to cook healthy pasta dishes, but you're ready to come out of the shell of your old, unsuccessful diet, bistroMD can help with a variety of gourmet pasta entrees—like Cheese Ravioli and Penne Alla Vodka—that are infused with nourishing ingredients to aid in your weight loss.

Sarah Asay's Photo
Written By Sarah Asay, RDN. Published on December 13, 2015. Updated on April 23, 2020.


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