Recipe: A Healthier Homemade Mac and Cheese That Your Kids Will Love

by Alyssa Bauman, Nourished.ca

Feeding kids can be a challenge, but it’s all in the mindset. Instead of thinking of cooking ‘for’ the kids, try cooking with the kids. With picky eaters and fierce aversions to veggies, it can definitely be difficult. My daughter virtually ate nothing when she was a toddler. Now she eats anything—almost. Change the way you think about cooking and you will already instil healthier habits in both yourself and your children.

KID-FRIENDLY FOODS AREN’T ACTUALLY GOOD FOR KIDS 

It’s crazy what society deems as kid-friendly foods. Hot dogs, hamburgers, french fries, chicken nuggets, fish sticks, fruit snacks—all are loaded with sugar, artificial colours and flavours, preservatives, and all types of nasty things that affect their physical health and behaviour. Kids don’t need “special” foods. They need time to adjust to what you’re eating, and that may take a little coaxing and a few tricks along the way. The transition to a new way of eating isn’t always easy, but it’s so worth it. 

Related: 3 Easy Recipes That Will Make You Love Lentils

To help you transition to a healthier way of eating for your kids, here’s a nourishing mac n’ cheese recipe that they’re sure to love.

RECIPE: A HEALTHIER MAC N’ CHEESE

We still use a bit of dairy, but we use half the cheese by incorporating nutritional yeast into the recipe. Nutritional yeast is packed with B-vitamins, folic acid, selenium, zinc, and protein, and is gluten-free (check specific brands for certification), and contains no added sugars or preservatives. And is it ever tasty, cheesy and savoury. So this dish is bursting with flavour, phytonutrients, and nutrition with half the saturated fat as the traditional dish.

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces multigrain elbow pasta
  • 1 head cauliflower, finely chopped
  • 2 cups brown rice crumbs
  • 2 tablespoon ground chia
  • 1/2 cup parsley, chopped
  • 3 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast (I like the Red Star brand)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 cup grated extra sharp cheddar
  • 1/2 cup nonfat greek yogurt or plain unsweetened almond milk yogurt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions:

Heat oven to 400° F. Cook the pasta according to the package. Add cauliflower for last 3 minutes of cooking; drain and set aside. Mix brown rice crumbs/chai mix with parsley, 2 tablespoons of oil, salt and pepper. Return pasta pot to medium heat and add the remaining tablespoon of oil. Add the onion, salt and pepper until soft, 3 minutes. Mix in the pasta and cauliflower and the cheese, nutritional yeast, yogurt, almond milk and mustard. Transfer to a shallow 3-quart baking dish, sprinkle with the crumb mixture, and bake until golden brown – about 12 to 15 minutes.

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