I haven’t had old school Mac N Cheese in I don’t even know how long. Definitely years, maybe even a decade??? I’m not kidding, It’s crazy! Especially seeing how I used to eat Kraft Mac N Cheese on the side with hot dogs every Saturday night for practically my whole life and loved every second of the cheesy, warm goodness. If hot dogs and mac n cheese isn’t a classic 1990′s meal, I don’t know what is.
Somewhere along the line, I decided it went against my healthy food standards and stopped eating it altogether. Mind you, I wasn’t turning into a crazy, health food freak. But I did reach a point where I decided I’d rather spend my fat and calories for the day on chocolate, cookies and other sinful desserts rather than fattening, processed side dish type foods such as macaroni and cheese. I never even looked back. Bye, bye Kraft. Fair trade? I’m not so sure.
I started reading various food blogs and finding that many fit, healthy girls are eating Annie’s (organic) Macaroni N Cheese as part of their dinners every now and then. Some mix it in with veggies, others bulk it up by adding chickpeas for extra protein. It started really looking appetizing to me. So when I stumbled across the Annie’s Mac N Cheese section of the grocery store this week, I picked up a box and decided to give it a whirl.
Mind you I got the gluten free, rice pasta kind. Neither Jeff nor I are have wheat or gluten allergies for real but we often buy GF foods because they totally don’t make you feel gross after eating them. The word gluten comes from the Latin word for “glue” so you can imagine why and what that does to your digestive system as you try to digest glutinous foods like breads, pastas, muffins and the like. Ugh. That’s where that heavy, weighed down feeling comes into play after downing a plate of pasta. Oy. No bueno.
Here was dinner tonight:
I sauteed some chicken with coconut oil and broccoli to eat along side the Annie’s Mac N Cheese. It was really nice to have this for a change. Sometimes I feel like we eat (I make) the same things over and over for dinner and it gets boring. I also finished the bottle of Smoking Loon Pinot Noir I opened the other night. I am on a serious pinot noir kick and Smoking Loon is so smooth and tasty.
My overall feelings about the Annie’s? Loved it! I don’t feel overstuffed or weighed down in the least. I attribute that to the rice pasta, maybe if I got the regular kind I’d feel different. No matter which way you shake it, boxed Mac N Cheese just isn’t the best thing in the world to be eating but once in a while, it’s OK. I admit though, when I poured that packet of neon orange, powdered cheese into the milk to mix into sauce, I was a little sketched out. There is nothing normal about eating neon colored things like this. EEK.
How does Annie’s Rice Pasta GF Mac N Cheese measure up to the normal stuff I used to eat every week? I was surprised.
Annie’s=280 calories per 1 cup, 4 grams of fat (2 grams saturated fat), 390 mg sodium, 6 grams protein, 51 grams of carbs.
Kraft Cheesiest=260 calories per 2/3 cup, 3.5 grams of fat (1.5 saturated fat), 580 mg sodium (yikes!), 10 grams protein, 47 grams carbs
To me, that’s kind of a toss up with Annie’s coming in just a bit higher, so the next thing I do is look to compare the ingredients. Annie’s had a LOT fewer additives:
And here is Kraft’s Cheesiest Ingredients List
ENRICHED MACARONI PRODUCT (WHEAT FLOUR, NIACIN, FERROUS SULFATE [IRON], THIAMIN MONONITRATE [VITAMIN B1], RIBOFLAVIN [VITAMIN B2], FOLIC ACID); CHEESE SAUCE MIX (WHEY, MILKFAT, MILK PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, SALT, SODIUM TRIPOLYPHOSPHATE, CONTAINS LESS THAN 2% OF CITRIC ACID, LACTIC ACID, SODIUM PHOSPHATE, CALCIUM PHOSPHATE, YELLOW 5, YELLOW 6, ENZYMES, CHEESE CULTURE). CONTAINS: WHEAT, MILK.
Yeahhh. So given that information, I’ll be choosing Annie’s if I ever want another Mac N Cheese dinner. I’m just not into all that extra, yello 5, 6, etc…I don’t want it and I don’t need it.
*Nutrition Info for both Annie’s and Kraft came directly from the box or product website.
I can’t believe it’s 11 and I’m not deeply sleeping either in bed or on the couch. I need to get to bed!