Friday, November 9, 2007

Healthy (well...Healthier) Food Cheap and Easy – Tuna Kraft Dinner

I can’t say this is healthy food, but it’s definitely healthier than the original version. And it certainly is cheap and easy.

1 box regular Kraft Dinner [Kraft Macaroni and Cheese to non-Canadians]($0.99/800 calories)
250mL (1 cup) frozen peas ($0.49/110 calories)
30 mL (2T) fat-free sour cream ($0.15/30 calories)
Splash of skim milk ($0.05/15 calories)
1 (170g/6 oz?) can of tuna ($0.79/200 calories)
Salt and pepper to taste (negligible/negligible)

Boil the noodles according to package directions. For the last 5 minutes, add the frozen peas. Drain and return pot to burner. Turn off heat. Add sour cream and powdered cheese, stirring until smooth. Add small amounts of milk until desired consistency is reached. Stir in tuna. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Makes 2 large servings, or 4 side dishes. I usually split it into three, taking the third to lunch with me the next day.

This costs me $2.47 to make the whole thing. Since I split it in three, that’s 82 cents a portion. I've quoted the regular prices at my normal store. Both KD and tuna are often on sale, making this dish even cheaper. If you like the generic brands of macaroni and cheese boxes, this will be an even cheaper meal.

Total calories:1155. Split into three that’s 385 calories per serving.

The best part about this recipe for me is that I always have all of the ingredients in my pantry. The only thing I’m occasionally missing is sour cream, in which case I’ll use butter, margarine or just extra milk. If I don’t have or don’t feel like tuna, I’ll add half a pound of cooked lean ground beef instead, although this increases both the cost and the calorie count.

If you’re pregnant, please remember that tuna should only be eaten occasionally. It’s an oily fish, and as such may have relatively high levels of mercury in it. The guidelines change regularly. Health Canada’s 2007 fact sheet on mercury in fish advises no more than 150g per month of fresh or frozen tuna, and no more than 2 cans a week of albacore or white canned tuna. Other types of canned tuna may be safer, as those species generally have lower mercury levels. Check with the health agency in your own country as your fish populations, sources or guidelines may differ.

Be aware that price and calorie count will of course vary by region.

Prices are in Canadian dollars, which on the date of this post were worth US$1.07, ₤0.51, €0.73 or AUS$1.16.

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