Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right for National Nutrition Month

At the Food Bank, we know taste is key in helping families make healthy choices at mealtime. That’s why the recipes we create for our CHOICES nutrition classes are both nutritious and delicious.

“Let’s face it,” Bilingual Nutritionist Vivian Noriega says. “We eat what we eat because it satisfies our taste buds.”

March is National Nutrition Month, and in honor of this year’s theme—Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right—Vivian is sharing this tasty recipe she recently prepared for an adult Cooking for Your Life class in San Marcos.

Our nutrition team put a twist on a familiar favorite with this Cheesy Macaroni Bake. Vivian says this popular recipe is perfect for our clients because it’s low in calories, fat, sodium and cholesterol and packed with whole grains, protein and flavor. And, like all the recipes our nutrition team creates, it makes use of items clients frequently get from the Food Bank.

For more information or to schedule a class, contact Vivian at 512-684-2538 or email choices@austinfoodbank.org.

Cheesy Macaroni Bake

Prep time: 20 minutes                       Cook time: 20 minutes

Serving size: 1 square                        Serves: 8


2 cups whole wheat macaroni noodles

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1.5 cups 2% milk

1.5 cups fat free shredded cheddar cheese

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

10-oz canned chicken, drained and separated

1 head fresh broccoli, chopped into bite-sized pieces

1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes, no salt added

½ cup crushed cornflakes


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F and grease a 9-by 13-inch baking pan

  2. In a large sauce pan of boiling water, cook macaroni according to package directions. During the last two minutes of cooking, add the chopped broccoli and cook for remaining two minutes. Drain broccoli and pasta. Set aside in a bowl to cool, making sure to mix once to ensure pasta does not stick together.

  3. In your large sauce pan over moderate heat, add olive oil. Then add flour and stir for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the milk and cook, whisking until hot and thick. Add the cheddar cheese, salt and pepper whisking to combine. Remove from heat and add the noodles, stirring well to combine. Stir in chicken and tomatoes.

  4. Transfer the noodle mixture to the greased pan. Cover the mixture with the crushed cornflakes Bake uncovered until bubbly, about 20 minutes and serve.

Nutritional Information per Serving:

Calories 251, Total Fat 5.5g, Carbohydrates 29g, Fiber 3.5g, Protein 23g,                   Sodium 403mg, Cholesterol 23mg, Calcium 277mg

Adapted from:  Healthy Lunch Time Challenge Cookbook


Recipe modified by CHOICES Nutrition Education Program