Foodie Friday: Annie's Organic 5-Grain Elbows & White Cheddar


Macaroni and cheese is normally a four-letter word in my diet, and I've been worshiping whole grains like brown rice for a long time. In fact, before I tried this bowl of deliciousness, I hadn't eaten mac 'n' cheese in a good six months. After two bites of Annie's macaroni, call me a convert.

The product: Annies Organic 5-Grain Elbows & White Cheddar ($2.50 for a 6-ounce box; available at Whole Foods nationwide)

The health factor: This five-grain pasta is made of amaranth, quinoa, kamut, spelt, and durum, giving you eight servings of whole grains per cup, along with 3 grams of fiber. Plus, the prepared mix weighs in at 300 calories and only 4 grams of fat—about 100 calories and 15 grams of fat less than a certain blue-boxed variety! Like many packaged foods, though, it does contain a good bit of sodium.

The taste factor: Whole-grain pastas can have a tough, almost gritty texture, but this cheesy mix went down smoothly. The white cheddar was slightly milder than typical cheddar, but still creamy, like a light Alfredo sauce. Annie's worked its magic to keep the savory flavor without making ita diet-don't.

Why we love it: Perfect for cool weather, this is a quick and easy dinner. Sure, it would be better if you made your own mac 'n' cheese, but this is a great substitute. I added in a chopped Dr. Praeger's veggie burger to make my own healthier version of Hamburger Helper. And, like all of Annie's products, it's certified organic. It satisfies my junk-food craving with limited damage to my waistline.