Cravings happen to the best of us. No matter how well you are eat, there's always the chance you'll crave something you shouldn't — especially when you're new to the healthy eating game.
Whether it’s spaghetti and meatballs, pizza, or a Buffalo chicken mac and cheese, it is possible to whip up a healthy version of one of your favorite comfort dishes. Food and fitness coach Kyle Carillet, who specializes in teaching his fitness app clients how workouts and nutrition together to help you live your best life, is an expert in this department.
Carillet says when he started his fitness journey in his early 20s, he encountered a number of coaches that recommended a bland diet to stay in shape. Since there was no fun in the food he ate, eating became a chore, rather than something to enjoy.
That began his journey of learning how to create flavorful, macro-friendly meals to develop a healthier, more sustainable mindset about cooking and food — all while still maintaining and pursuing his fitness goals.
Today, he helps his clients achieve their health and fitness goals in both the gym and the kitchen: “I launched my app because it allows me to have a platform where I can truly help people change their eating habits, reach their fitness goals, and learn something new in the kitchen along the way,” Carillet says.
Carillet's buffalo mac and cheese recipe is super macro-friendly and sure to be a huge hit — even with kids! Carillet says he developed the recipe when a craving for mac and cheese hit and all of the “healthy” recipes he came across weren’t macro-friendly enough.
“I took it as a challenge and figured out that similar ingredients can be utilized to [satisfy] the same craving. [With] this one, I really just created the [cheese] sauce, the most important part! After that, it’s dealer’s choice for add-ins.”
1. Bring pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions.
2. While pasta is cooking, cut chicken breast and air fry.
3. Drain pasta and set aside.
4. In the same pot, heat 1 tsp olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic cloves and onions and cook, stirring occasionally until soft and fragrant. About 5 minutes.
5. Add in bacon, and broccoli. Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and smoked paprika. Stir and cook for about 3-4 minutes.
6. Add milk and cream cheese into the pot. Stir until cream cheese is melted and then add in the sharp cheddar cheese. Stir until melted and mixture is velvety smooth.
7. Remove from heat and add pasta into cheese mixture.
8. Toss cooked chicken in Buffalo sauce. Add more sauce if you're looking for more Buffalo flavor.
9. Serve mac and cheese first, top with Buffalo chicken, and enjoy!
Just the mac | 340 calories/serving
Mac with 4oz Buffalo chicken | 489 calories/serving
Some additional tips for this recipe:
You may have noticed the recipe includes a calorie count in addition to a macro count. Those tracking their macros have to keep track of the grams of protein, carbs, and fat that they eat in every meal.
If you’re new to tracking your macros, Carillet offers content in his app to get you started. Be sure to check out his Prep Kitchen video collection, which features an introduction to macros and tips for how to track them daily.
“My biggest advice for someone tracking macros is [to remember] that it is a baseline or field goal that we aim for at the end of the field,” Carillet says. “Aim for getting as close to the target as possible, but don’t get mad if you don’t hit perfection. This isn’t about creating a bad habit with food, but understanding how food and the body coexist together to be healthier and run more efficiently.”
While mac and cheese is a classic, and absolute favorite for many people, there are so many other delicious comfort foods out there to enjoy. This is Carillet's bread and butter with the recipes on his app.
In addition to his killer buffalo mac and cheese, you can also find easy recipes for:
The goal of Carillet's app is to teach people that food can be fun and creative, and you can (and should!) enjoy eating while reaching your fitness goals.
“Life is too short to always say ‘no’ to eating a cookie once in a while,” he says. “My app is for those who are tired of trying fad diets that are unsustainable in the long term.”
Carillet says he prioritizes building muscle with eating well because both are key to creating a strong, well-balanced body.
“You cannot perform better if you don’t eat better,” he says. “Just like fuel is to a car, our food is what keeps us going and running efficiently.”
You can download Carillet’s fitness app here — it's free for the first 7 days. It includes back, chest, legs and glutes, and arms and shoulders workouts. It's also packed with healthy, macro-friendly breakfast, lunch, and dinner recipes.
About the author
Cara is a passionate writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience in print and online media. She loves storytelling and believes that words have the power to change the world. In her free time, Cara is an avid reader, enjoys meditating, and loves spending time with her husband and their chihuahua pug mix, Callie, streaming the latest horror flick or true crime documentary. She is a graduate of Michigan State University's School of Journalism.