Planning dinner for the family after a long day of work can be challenging. Then on top of this, you have to cook it too. I will admit that I will occasionally depend on quick meals like Kraft Dinner because I may not have the energy to cook a proper home-cooked meal. But I do try to ensure that Raychel eats vegetables and protein with her meals so here’s my version of a “healthy” Mac & Cheese.
First off, I say “healthy” in quotations because I can’t hide the fact that there’s sodium and other products that is not recommended on a daily basis. However, I can incorporate some fresh produce to the meal to ensure that she gets a balanced diet. KD has whole wheat pasta now so you can avoid filling up on white starch and still enjoy the traditional taste.
I use the following items:
1 box of whole wheat Kraft Dinner (2 boxes if Ray is having some too)
½ cup of peas or green beans (frozen or fresh, never canned)
½ cup of carrots cut into cubes (frozen or fresh, never canned)
Optional: 2 grilled chicken breasts, cut into cubes (cut them in a fashion to avoid choking)
Cook the mac & cheese like you normally would. Start grilling the meat; ensure that it’s cooked thoroughly. Set aside and let cool. Then in a separate pot, cook the veggies until they’re tender. After the cheese has been added to the pasta, strain the veggies and add to the pasta. Mix well. Cut the chicken and add to the pasta and veggies. Mix one last time.
If you don’t have any meat, you can use canned tuna. I would recommend the tuna after the child has been tested for allergies.
I often have leftovers so we will pack this for her lunch for daycare. She enjoys eating this meal because it’s colouful, helps her develop fine motor skills (uses her fingers or spoon to fed), and it’s cheese flavour – something she adores.
In total, this takes 15 mins to cook. 5-10 mins to prep. From box to dinner table, under 30 mins maximum.