Mac n’ cheese is on of the top five go-to comfort foods for busy moms. It’s not always a healthy choice, but it gets the job done. For extra-busy moms, microwaveable cups are all the rage.
Annie’s, the brand for busy moms that also care about quality ingredients has introduced a line of microwaveable cups of mac n’ cheese. One of them is a gluten free option! According to the company, their mac n’ cheese product is a good choice:
- 100% Real Cheese
- Organic Ingredients
- No Artificial Flavors, Synthetic Colors, or Preservatives.
- Cheese from cows not treated with growth hormone rBST
- non-GMO ingredients
They sent us some samples to test, and here is what we have to say.
The most important test - will the kids eat it?
We had mixed success. The problem may be our microwave. Two minutes were not enough to nuke this cup of mac completely. The pasta was too al dente, and the cheese sauce was clumpy. Additionally, one of the children felt she was going to gag from the overpowering cheddar fragrance that took over the kitchen.
Nutritionally, the product is nothing to boast about, but not bad either. Each cup is a single serving and has about 220 calories. That may be enough for little kids. Older ones will need a side of veggies and some protein if this is going to be dinner.
The product is not 100% whole grain, so the fiber is low – just 2 grams. The sodium is not crazy high, but 470mg for a 220 calorie side is not low. Despite the use of “real cheese”, the calcium value is only 8% of the daily recommendation. So don’t think this product can count for one of the three daily servings of dairy.
The ingredient list, as expected from Annie’s has no bad ingredients, but certainly more industrial stuff than you would find in your home kitchen:
Organic Wheat Macaroni (Organic Wheat Flour, Organic Whole Grain Wheat Flour), Tapioca Starch, Cheddar Cheese (Cultured Pasteurized Milk, Salt, Non-Animal Enzymes), Corn Starch, Nonfat Dry Milk, Organic Coconut Oil, Whey, Butter, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Cultured Whole Milk, Sunflower Lecithin, Sodium Phosphate, Annatto Extract For Color, Silicon Dioxide For Anticaking.
Another issue of concern is the use of plastics as containers for heating food in a microwave. Not something we recommend doing very often.
Bottom line: If you’re going to do a kiddie mac and cheese, Annie’s is the better choice. Although Annie’s non-microwaveable options take a few more minutes, they don’t involve nuking plastic nor serving in it.