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The 4 Healthiest Frozen Mac & Cheeses—and 6 To Avoid

It may not inherently be a nutritious food, but some frozen mac and cheeses are dietitian-approved.
FACT CHECKED BY Olivia Tarantino
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Creamy, cheesy, and possessing the ability to transport you right back to childhood, mac and cheese is the perfect nostalgic comfort food. And with dozens available in the freezer aisle, you're always just a few minutes from enjoying this hot, creamy, delicious meal.

While mac and cheese isn't high on the healthiest foods to eat list, it can still offer plenty of nutritional value with energy, protein, and micronutrients like calcium and a small amount of iron and potassium. Unfortunately, it can also be high in nutrients associated with poor health outcomes when eaten in excess, like saturated fat and sodium.

We spoke with mac and cheese lovin' dietitians to help you enjoy your mac and cheese (with just a few minutes of time and a microwave) and stay on track with your health goals. Keep reading for the unhealthiest and healthiest frozen mac & cheese brands you can buy.

How to shop for healthy frozen mac & cheese.

Since this list isn't exhaustive, you can use these guidelines when shopping the freezer aisle for mac and cheese, helping you choose the most healthy option available.

  • Less than 30% daily value (DV) saturated fat. With cheese being a main ingredient in mac and cheese, it's impossible to stay away from saturated fat. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends limiting saturated fat to 10% of your daily calories, while the American Heart Association has even stricter limits with a 5 to 6% recommendation. Research has shown that diets high in saturated fat increase the risk of heart disease. And although new research has emerged in recent years questioning this consensus, the guidelines remain to limit this nutrient for the time being.
  • Less than 30% DV sodium. Too much sodium increases the risk of several health conditions, including high blood pressure, heart disease, kidney disease, stomach cancer, and osteoporosis. Packaged and processed food can be excessively high in sodium, and frozen mac and cheese is no exception. Choose options that have less than 690 milligrams of sodium per serving.
  • At least 10 grams of protein. Mac and cheese can be an incredibly satisfying part of a meal with its high fat and sometimes high protein content. Choose a brand that has at least 10 grams of protein per serving to help you reach your protein goals for the day.

4 Best Frozen Mac & Cheeses

Best: Kid Fresh Wagon Wheels Mac & Cheese

Kid Fresh Wagon Wheels Mac and Cheese
Kid Fresh
Per bowl (206 grams): 310 calories, 10g fat (5g saturated fat), 430mg sodium, 41g carbs (2g fiber, 5g sugar), 12g protein

Not just for kids, the Kid Fresh Wagon Wheels Mac and Cheese tops our list of best frozen mac and cheese for its low amount of saturated fat and sodium and 12 grams of fiber per serving. With less than 20% of your DV for sodium and 25% of the DV for saturated fat, one entire bowl has just 310 calories. This makes it a perfect side to accompany an entree like roasted chicken breast or fish to make a complete and satisfying meal.

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Best: Trader Joe's Gluten-Free Frozen Mac & Cheese

Trader Joe's gluten-free frozen mac
Trader Joe's
Per 1 cup serving (170 grams): 300 calories, 10g fat (5g saturated fat), 600mg sodium, 41g carbs (1g fiber, 3g sugar), 11g protein

"Trader Joe's Gluten-Free Frozen Mac and Cheese is crafted with a delicious and creamy four-cheese blend and rice noodles that provide an impressive texture," raves Katie Schimmelpfenning, RD and Founder of Eat Swim Win. These qualities are not universal when it comes to gluten-free noodle dishes. Each cup has just 25% DV saturated fat and 26% of the daily sodium limit.

Best: Birds Eye Veggie Pasta Mac & Cheese Elbows with Cheddar Cheese Sauce

Birds Eye Mac
Birds Eye
Per ½ cup cooked (109 grams): 170 calories, 5g fat (3g saturated fat), 400mg sodium, 22g carbs (2g fiber, 2g sugar), 10g protein

Birds Eye Steamfresh Veggie Made Frozen Mac and Cheese has your noodles, cheese, and veggies all in one. "This quick and easy mac and cheese is made from lentils and zucchini and has 10 grams of protein per serving," says Lindsay Cohen RDN, LDN, CDCES, and founder of ABC Nutrition Solutions. It's the lowest in calories, saturated fat, and sodium, but the serving size is also just half of a cup, so keep that in mind if you're planning on enjoying a larger portion.

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Best: Blake's Old Fashioned Mac & Cheese

Blake's Old Fashioned Mac & Cheese
Blake's All Natural Foods
Per meal (227 grams): 300 calories, 11g fat (7g saturated fat), 620mg sodium, 34g carbs (3g fiber, 1g sugar), 15g protein

Blake's Old Fashioned Mac & Cheese uses ingredients you'd use in your own homemade recipe to bring you a high protein mac and cheese that's within our 30% saturated fat and sodium qualifications. Each serving also has 3 grams of fiber, over 10% of the recommended DV of 28 grams per day.

6 Worst Frozen Mac & Cheeses

Worst: Evol Truffle Parmesan Mac & Cheese

Evol Truffle Parmesan Mac & Cheese
Evol Foods
Per bowl (227 grams): 440 calories, 24g fat (12g saturated fat), 560mg sodium, 44g carbs (2g fiber, 5g sugar), 13g protein

We wanted to love Evol Truffle Parmesan Mac & Cheese, but the 12 grams of saturated fat per serving were just too high, providing 60% of the recommended daily limit in just one serving of this mac and cheese.

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Worst: Amy's Vegan Rice Mac & Cheeze

Amy's Vegan Rice Mac & Cheeze
Per tray (255 grams): 460 calories, 18g fat (11g saturated fat), 730mg sodium, 59g carbs (1g fiber, 4g sugar), 15g protein

For a mac and cheese that's gluten-free and dairy-free, Amy's Vegan Rice Mac & Cheeze comes in much higher in saturated fat and sodium than we'd like to see. Each serving has 55% DV saturated fat and 32% DV sodium while only providing 1 gram of fiber.

Worst: Michelina's Frozen Macaroni and Cheese

Michelina's Frozen Macaroni and Cheese
Per package (227 grams): 280 calories, 13g fat (6g saturated fat), 860mg sodium, 31g carbs (2g fiber, 3g sugar),10 g protein

Each package of Michelina's Frozen Macaroni and Cheese is small, enough for a satisfying side dish, but packs more sodium than you should have in your entire meal. With 860 milligrams of sodium, you'll be 37% of your way to your sodium limit.

Worst: Stouffer's MAC-FULLS BBQ Recipe Pork Mac and Cheese Frozen Meal

Stouffer's MAC-FULLS BBQ Recipe Pork Mac and Cheese Frozen Meal
Per package (396 grams): 600 calories, 24g fat (14g saturated fat), 1,120 mg sodium, 59g carbs (2g fiber, 11g sugar), 38g protein

"The Stouffer's MAC-FULLS BBQ Recipe Pork Mac and Cheese Frozen Meal is one of the more unhealthy frozen mac and cheese options due to its high levels of sodium and saturated fat," says Wan Na Chun, MPH, RD, CPT, Owner of One Pot Wellness. "A serving contains 1,120 milligrams of sodium, which is nearly half of the daily recommended intake of sodium, and on top of the high sodium content, each serving contains 70% of the recommended intake of saturated fats," Chun adds.

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Worst: Stouffer's Frozen Macaroni & Cheese

Stouffer's Frozen Mac N Cheese
Per package (340 grams): 480 calories, 21g fat (9g saturated fat), 1,280mg sodium, 51g carbs (2g fiber, 5g sugar), 21g protein

"When it comes to meal time, Stouffer's Frozen Mac and Cheese may seem convenient and easy, but a 12-ounce serving packs a whopping 480 calories, 21 grams of fat, with 11 grams of saturated fat, and a significant 1,280 milligrams of sodium—more than half the recommended daily amount," says Steph Magill, MS, RD, CD, FAND, Owner of Soccer Mom Nutrition. "While it has 21 grams of protein, some consumers find that Stouffer's frozen mac and cheese has a bland and boring taste, a thick and sticky sauce, and a dense and dry pasta, making it a less than ideal choice all around," adds Magill.

Worst: Marie Callender's Creamy Vermont Mac & Cheese Bowl

Marie Callender's
Per container (369 grams): 500 calories, 17 g fat (8g saturated fat), 1,650 mg sodium, 67g carbs (4g fiber, 4g sugar), 20g protein

"While Marie Callender's Creamy Vermont Mac & Cheese bowl seems like a solid choice with 21 grams of protein per bowl, it also contains a large dose of saturated fat and salt," says Jorie Walker, MS, RD, LD. While this may be filling enough to count as your entire meal, it has 72% of the sodium you should have in one day, making it almost impossible to stick within the recommended daily limits.

Kelsey Kunik, RDN
Kelsey Kunik is a registered dietitian, freelance writer, nutrition consultant, and sustainable food blogger. Read more about Kelsey
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