The Mac and Cheese Wars

by Laura on April 3, 2013

in Food, Planning, Preparing


Boxed macaroni and cheese.

We’ve all had it.

We all love it.

We all have fond memories of it from our childhood.

But do we really know what’s in it?

Well, if you take the time to read the label, you’ll discover what has caused a couple of mom bloggers to start a food fight. Lisa Leake and Vani Hari, bloggers for 100 Days of Real Food and Food Babe, respectively, are standing up to Kraft and their use of artificial food dyes in the popular Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.

They recently petitioned Kraft, and their efforts have been gathering support for the removal of yellow dye 5 and yellow dye 6 in the mac and cheese dinners sold here in the U.S. They claim that food colorings, which have been associated with a variety of ills from hyperactivity in children, to allergies and migraine headaches, is unnecessary, especially since the company reformulated the product (sans the harmful dyes) for its UK  market. Add this to their claim that the food additives are contaminated with carcinogens made in a lab with chemicals derived from petroleum, and you can see why there is so much support for the change.

They have momentum. They are powered up to fight the big guys. I’m all for what they’re doing, and I’ve even signed the petition.

But the fact is, that I’ve been quietly fighting the same fight for quite some time, right here in my own kitchen. Just a bit differently.

I make my mac and cheese instead of buying it.

I can’t tell you the last time I’ve had a Kraft mac and cheese box in my house. (When, on occasion, I do buy mac and cheese for the kids, it’s either Annies or the Whole Foods 365 brand.)

At its heart, macaroni and cheese was born out of simplicity. A few simple ingredients (pasta, cheese, milk, flour, dry mustard), and a few minutes at the stove, and my kids are happy. Yes, it may take a bit more time that the boxed version, but it is more satisfying knowing I can choose the ingredients that go into what I’m eating . . . and what my children are eating.

The other benefit of making mac and cheese myself – and not keeping it handy in the cupboard – is that I don’t turn to it as often as I would if I had it in a box in my cupboard ready for me to grab at a moment’s notice. That ensures we offer the family a variety of different meals. By making it, I’m also sending the message to my family (albeit subliminally), that I do care about mealtime. That I am present in planing and preparing their meals.

Sure, I need to have ingredients on hand. Yes, I need a few extra minutes to tend to its preparation. But, when I make it, the kids get excited. They have a connection with the mac and cheese, and how it makes them feel, and what it tastes like — and which mac and cheese recipes are their own favorites.

If you’d like to take a stand against what Kraft is putting in your mac and cheese, click here to view and sign the petition. Then, continue to make a stand, and stop buying Kraft Mac & Cheese, and start making it from scratch.

Here are several versions we make around here – each with differing flavor profiles, yet all are enjoyed.

Not From A Box Macaroni & Cheese 

Carrot Mac and Cheese



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