by Sarah Paxson This is a reoccurring series where we compare the nutrition facts of a pre-packaged, processed food item and it's "fresh food" counterpart.
The Food Matters Mobile Message for the month of February focuses on sodium, so this past week our Nutrition Outreach Coordinator set out to determine the difference in nutritional value between Kraft Easy Mac and a recipe we have for Stove Top Macaroni and Cheese.
We'll start with the Kraft Easy Mac. Their Easy Mac pouches contains 61g, with 230 calories per pouch. Its fiber content, one of the components of a diet that keeps you feeling fuller for longer (which cuts down overeating), is a measly 1g-- 4% of your daily value. Fat comes in at 4g, cholesterol comes in at <5mg (since it doesn't actually contain real milk or cheese, it doesn't contain cholesterol), carbs come in at 42g, and protein comes in at 5g. But here's the kicker: one pounch of Kraft Easy Mac contains 540mg of sodium-- 23% of your daily value!
Let's compare Stove Top Macaroni and Cheese. The serving size differed, so we calculated it so that it would match the 61g serving size of the Easy Mac pouches. In one serving of Stove Top Macaroni and Cheese, there are 121 calories. Fat comes in at 4g (same), cholesterol comes in at 10mg (more), carbs come in at 15.8 (way less), and protein comes in at 5.7g (slightly more). It also contains 2.4g of fiber, 2.5x more than Kraft Easy Mac. But sodium is the biggest difference: one serving of Stove Top Macaroni and Cheese contains just 154mg of sodium, nearly a fourth of the sodium!
Verdict: Stove Top Macaroni and Cheese has more of the good stuff like protein and fiber and less of the bad stuff like carbohydrates and sodium. Stove Top Macaroni and Cheese wins, plus you can't beat the taste.