This Protein-Packed Boxed Mac and Cheese Tastes Like Nostalgia, Only Better—And Takes Just 7 Minutes To Whip Up

Photo: Getty Images/Bhofack2
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We can all agree that the snacks us '80s and '90s kids munched on have come a long way. While Dunkaroos and Lunchables sure tasted great, their nutritional values left much to be desired. Now? The snacks you loved have gotten a much-needed nutritional makeover—without compromising taste or convenience. Organic, grain-free pizza bites, sugar-free fruit strips, allergy conscious cookies and crackers—the grocery list is seemingly endless. But if there's one new and improved nostalgic snack to be at the top of said list, it's Goodles boxed macaroni and cheese.

These not-your-average noodles hit shelves November 2021 and have quickly gained traction for their delicious taste and good-for-you ingredient list. Founded by a board of mac and cheese lovers alike, like Deb Luster (former president of Annie's), Paul Earle (former Kraft executive), and Wonder Woman herself, Gal Gadot, Goodles is out to make "noodles, gooder," according to its website. How? Through more thoughtful, plant-based ingredients than the classic boxed mac and cheese you noshed on throughout your childhood.

Goodles, Variety Pack (4 count) — $17.00

Each pack includes 12 boxes of the brands four different flavors: Cheddy Mac, Shella Good, Twist My Parm, and Mover & Shaker. Try four for $17 or stock up on 12 for $44.

Compared to traditional boxed macaroni and cheese and even newer, beloved brands like Annie's, Goodles stands out on the nutrition front. Each box boasts a whopping 14 grams of plant-powered protein from chickpea and wheat. There are also six grams of fiber and 21 different plant-derived nutrients, like iron, vitamin C, and potassium, from organic veggies like sweet potatoes, spinach, and sunflower seeds.

Yep, healthy is good. But if the '80s and '90s taught us anything, it's all about the taste—why else would we stuff our faces with Gushers and Bagel Bites? True to its name, Goodles is really freakin' good. Like, so good, my boyfriend and I fought over the last box. (We ended up sharing—there are at least two servings per box, more than enough to go around.)

There are four different flavors to choose from, all of which are ridiculously creamy and tasty. There's Cheddy Mac (cheddar), Mover & Shaker (cacio e pepe-inspired), Twist My Parm (asiago and parmesan), and Shella Good (white cheddar), my personal favorite.

shella good

I'm not the only one who thinks these noodles are the big cheese—half the staff at Well+Good has been converted into Goodles fans.

Upon tasting, Associate Lifestyle Editor Erica Sloan pinged me with just my name in all caps ("FRANKIE")—a classic indicator that something juicy is about to come. Her full review? “I’m a regular mac-and-cheese aficionado, and the richness of this one really knocks any of the other boxed varieties out of the park, " Sloan says.

"The flavor packet mixes into a super-smooth sauce with the help of a bit of milk (no powder remnants here) and the noodles have a naturally al dente bite to them—probably thanks to all that extra protein and fiber. My favorite was the cacio e pepe-inspired Mover & Shaker, and the half-box serving actually left me fully satisfied for hours, which is a rarity for pasta and sauce."

mover and shaker

Similarly, Abbey Stone, our VP of content, praised Shella Good for tasting just like "the boxed macaroni and cheese of my childhood dreams," only more satiating. Catie Jaffe, our associate brand marketing manager, raves that all four flavors are absolutely delicious and that whipping up a batch for lunch "takes no more time or effort than your favorite nostalgic boxed noodles. "

cheddy mac

We only wished they came in a gluten or dairy-free option. Although they're largely plant-based, the cheese mix isn't dairy free, nor are the noodles gluten free. We reached out to Gadot, asking if gluten-free and other offerings outside of macaroni and cheese are on the horizon, and she told us, "We’re testing many new products, but I need to keep things under wraps for now. We’ll have more to share soon!" However, if you're vegan or have any dietary restrictions, Goodles are unfortunately not the noodles for you.

But if that doesn't apply to you, we suggest you stock up on this cheesy stuff—you're going to love it. Currently, you can buy boxes of the brand's mac n' cheese in packs of four or 12. Pro tip: Go for the variety pack of 12 ($44). And subscribe and save 15 percent. That way, you'll never have to fight over the last box—a healthy, cheesy, nostalgic snack will ship straight to your door automatically.

Goodles, Shella Good (Pack of 4) — $16.00

Teensy, tiny shells in a tangy aged white cheddar sauce. Also available in packs of 12.

Cheddy Mac (Pack of 4) — $16.00

The classic noodles you know and love, smothered in a smooth, zesty cheddar. Also available in packs of 12.

Mover & Shaker (Pack of 4) — $16.00

Inspired by cacio e pepe, it’s peppery, aromatic, and covered in melted parmesan cheese. Also available in packs of 12.

Twist My Parm (Pack of 4) — $16.00

Twisty pasta noodles dipped in a savory asiago and parmesan blend. Also available in packs of 12.

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Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.

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