Kraft’s new macaroni and cheese Veggie Pasta Dinner comes from the “sneaking better-for-you foods into kid-friendly foods” school of nutrition. Kraft freeze-dries cauliflower, pulverizes it and then mixes it with processed, refined flour to make macaroni. Supposedly kids can’t taste or see the vegetable (which is undoubtedly why Kraft opted for a white rather than a green vegetable). Nutritionally, the veggie version is slightly better than the standard version. A third of the box (one serving) contains the same number of calories as the original (250), has 3 grams of fiber (vs. 1 gram in the original) and is marginally lower in sodium (550 mg vs. 580 mg). Either way, both deliver about a quarter of the total amount of sodium kids should have in a day. And in all likelihood only very young children will eat such a small serving size.
Here’s my two cents: While the veggie version is slightly better than the standard version, it’s surely not going to get your kids to learn to like vegetables. A better option would be to make whole-wheat pasta with cheese and mix in fresh or frozen real vegetables. If your kids see you eating your vegetables, over time they’ll eat them too. I promise.