Macaroni and Cheese Nutrition Facts

Calories in Macaroni and Cheese and Ways to Make it Healthier

Macaroni and Cheese Nutrition Facts
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Love macaroni and cheese? You're not alone. It's a favorite in households across the country. But is this kid-friendly food nutritious? Unfortunately, it is high in calories, high in fat and very high in sodium. But some brands are better than others. And there are ways to lower calories in macaroni and cheese and make it more healthy.

Macaroni & Cheese Nutrition Facts

Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 cup (70 g)
Per Serving% Daily Value*
Calories 250 
Calories from Fat 25 
Total Fat 3g5%
Saturated Fat 1.5g8%
Cholesterol 10mg3%
Sodium 570mg24%
Carbohydrates 47g16%
Dietary Fiber 2g8%
Sugars 6g 
Protein 9g 
Vitamin A 0% · Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 10% · Iron 10%
*Based on a 2,000 calorie diet

The Kraft Macaroni and Cheese nutrition facts listed on this label are for a single serving of the blue box mix. It does not include the ingredients (milk and butter) that you need to add to make the dish.

Instructions on the Kraft box indicate that should add four tablespoons of butter or margarine and one-quarter cup of milk to blend your mac and cheese. To get the total number of calories in macaroni and cheese add the following.

  • If you make your mac and cheese with four tablespoons of butter and one-quarter cup of whole milk add 445 calories and 48 grams of fat and 30 grams of saturated fat
  • If you make your mac and cheese with four tablespoons of margarine and one-quarter cup of whole milk add 444 calories and 48 grams of fat and 10 grams of saturated fat
  • If you make your mac and cheese with four tablespoons of butter and one-quarter cup of 2 percent milk add 437 calories and 47 grams of fat and 30 grams of saturated fat
  • If you make your mac and cheese with four tablespoons of butter and one-quarter cup of skim milk add 428 calories and 46 grams of fat and 29 grams of saturated fat

What about other brands of macaroni and cheese? These are the calorie and nutrition facts for other popular brands according to USDA data.

  • A single serving of Stouffer's Macaroni and Cheese (one fifth of the the family size container) provides 350 calories, 17 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 34 grams of carbohydrate, 15 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber, 2 grams of sugar and 920 grams of sodium.
  • A single serving of Lean Cuisine Macaroni and Cheese provides 300 calories, 6 grams of fat, 48 grams of carbohydrate, 13 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber, 5 grams of sugar and 560 milligrams of sodium.
  • A single serving of Amy's Organic Foods Macaroni and Cheese (frozen) provides 400 calories, 16 grams of fat, 10 grams of saturated fat, 16 grams of protein, 47 grams of carbohydrate, 3 grams of fiber, 6 grams of sugar and 640 milligrams of sodium.
  • A single serving of Velveeta Shells and Cheese provides 360 calories, 12 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 49 grams of carbohydrate, 13 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber, 4 grams of sugar and 870 milligrams of sodium. 

And what if you make your own macaroni and cheese at home?

The calories and nutrition will vary based on your ingredients, but one cup of a  typical homemade macaroni and cheese recipe would provide 492 calories, 22 grams of fat, 13 grams of saturated fat, 19 grams of protein, 54 grams of carbohydrate, 3 grams of fiber, and 909 milligrams of sodium.

So which brand is best? All of them are high in calories, sodium and fat. And most of them provide artificial ingredients, but the Lean Cuisine Macaroni and Cheese will do the least damage to your waistline.

Is Macaroni and Cheese Healthy?

There are a few things you should consider before adding macaroni and cheese to your meal plan. This food is very high in calories and is not likely to help you to maintain your weight or lose weight unless you really watch your portion size.

While most varieties provide plenty of carbohydrate, most recipes and pre-packaged varieties use enriched pasta, not whole wheat pasta. So you're not getting a lot of dietary fiber when you consume the food. Fiber provides several health benefits and helps dieters curb hunger.

In addition, macaroni and cheese is very high in sodium. Even the kind you make at home provides almost half of the recommended daily intake of sodium. So when you add just a single serving of this food to your daily diet, you're likely to consume too much sodium for the day.

Lastly, macaroni and cheese is a food that we often overeat. The popular blue box is supposed to provide 2.5 servings. But many people eat the entire box as a meal. If you consume an entire box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese (prepared with margarine and 2 percent milk), you'll consume 875 calories, 32.5 grams of fat, 11 grams of saturated fat and 25 grams of protein. You'll also consume over 1800 milligrams of sodium.

Healthier Ways to Prepare Macaroni & Cheese 

Even though the homemade version of macaroni and cheese isn't the healthiest meal, you'll get the benefit of better nutrition if you make your own. Why? Because many of the manufactured brands use powdered cheese and other artificial ingredients that don't provide the benefits that real ingredients provide.

So how do you lighten up your favorite recipe? One way to adjust any macaroni and cheese recipe for better health is to use whole grain pasta. It won't lower the calorie count, but you'll get a dose of fiber that's good for your diet. And whether you make your own at home or buy the boxed variety, using skim or 2 percent milk will decrease both fat and calories.

You can also use one of these fun recipes to enjoy macaroni and cheese with fewer calories and less fat.

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