Everyone, regardless of age or status, loves macaroni and cheese. Even Kurt Cobain reportedly kept asking for it while on tour, refusing to eat the delicious macaroni and cheese in favor of boxed macaroni. It’s hard to blame him – the meal has not only been a mainstay in the kitchen, but a source of warmth and comfort for decades.
It all started during World War II, when access to fresh food was limited and boxed macaroni and cheese became a family staple. It was inexpensive, quick and easy to make, and tasty, making it a staple in American homes.
In the midst of the pandemic, many of us found ourselves in a similar position, unable to frequent the grocery store, opting instead to stock up on simple pantry items that would last for weeks. As a result, sales of Kraft macaroni and cheese reached overwhelming proportions. While some of us crave comfort in turbulent times, others simply crave the comfort and nostalgia that comes from one of our childhood favorites.
“When you’re a kid, macaroni and cheese is the first thing you learn to cook,” says Jen Zeszut, CEO and co-founder of Goodles, a macaroni and cheese company founded by actress Gal Gadot to bring nutrition to people. classic dishes. “It got me and my little sister through a lot of times when we were growing up without our parents, so it’s a very special food to me.”
While sometimes there’s nothing better than a steaming bowl of mac and cheese, the meal is hardly nutritious. Ultimately, this beloved dish often left us a little lethargic and in need of a nap.
But our childhood favorite has come a long way since the early 1900s, and the trend is on the rise between adults who indulge in it more frequently and parents who want their kids to eat nutritious food and healthy macaroni and cheese.
“It’s no longer just about the kids,” Zeszut says. “We know that adults of all ages are eating macaroni and cheese, so we want to give them something that makes them feel good, both nutritionally and from a comfort standpoint.”
Boxed macaroni and cheese is taking on an exciting new identity, but between all the colorful packaging and ingredient lists, it can be a little difficult to navigate the burgeoning healthy macaroni and cheese scene. Read on for all the different boxes you can try.
We all know about Annie’s – there are even plenty of articles discussing whether it’s more important than Kraft. Regardless of the age-old arguments, there’s something exciting about it, probably because of its natural cheese flavor or the fact that there’s a rabbit on the package. It’s almost as widely used as Kraft, thank goodness, because sometimes all we need is the classic aged cheddar.
A time-tested classic among people with all kinds of allergies, Daiya may be the original healthier macaroni and cheese, with its creamy sauce and familiar flavors that always work. It’s one of the most popular brands, with dairy-free and gluten-free pizzas, desserts and salad dressings under its belt. Like Annie’s, it is available in most grocery stores.
As the first boxed macaroni and cheese to receive Clean Label certification, Goodles is exactly what its name boasts – it makes you feel good. With vibrant packaging and nutritious ingredients from kale, spinach, shiitake mushrooms and more, Goodles is undoubtedly a healthy and satisfying alternative. While the company is committed to exuding childhood nostalgia, Goodles has complex flavors that appeal to all ages – like cacio e pepe, asiago and parmesan. goodles is available online and in Target.
If you’re looking for the closest alternative to Kraft, Camp is your answer. Ridiculously fluffy, somehow gluten-free noodles and a rich sauce take you back to a time when life was so simple. As if that wasn’t enough, Camp’s gorgeous pink and yellow boxes are plastered with adorable childlike fonts that look great in your kitchen. The brand offers vegan and vegetarian options and is currently only available on their website.
Banza is committed to making healthy food more accessible while reducing greenhouse gas emissions by replacing common wheat, corn and rice dishes with efficient and sustainable chickpeas.Banza’s macaroni and cheese is packed with protein to keep you feeling full and energized for hours. It’s perfect for those who want to lower their carbohydrate intake but still want to feel satisfied by eating the savory marigold-colored pasta we all know and love. Macaroni and cheese is available in countless stores such as Target, Whole Foods, Stop & Shop and more.
Freak Flag believes that cooking is a creative expression of who we are, even if it’s as simple as pouring powdered cheese into pasta. The brand differentiates its macaroni and cheese through innovative variations-think broccoli and cheese, kale cheddar, and more. To support this passion for self-expression, Freak Flag dedicates 1 percent of its annual net revenue to support youth music, arts and culinary education. The boxes are currently available at Whole Foods, Sprouts, Gelson’s and other stores.
This is the macaroni and cheese vegans have been waiting for. Howl is bound to become a pantry necessity, largely because of its unique and decadent plant-based cashew butter, whose texture is dangerously close to the real thing. Howl goes beyond its flavors, and when you want a little kick, options include Italian herb roasted garlic and spicy jalapenos. You can find Howl at Whole Foods, Thrive Market and on its website.