Even the most dedicated cooks have some easy go-to ready-made products in their pantries for the nights they don't have the time (or energy) to cook from scratch. And there's no shame in it.

One popular option is macaroni and cheese. But what do you really know about the box of mac and cheese waiting on your shelf? And, the next time you're shopping, how can you make sure you're buying the best macaroni and cheese for your family?

We researched 5 popular boxes of macaroni and cheese so you don't have to do the dirty work. The results are presented below, starting with the worst offenders based on calories and fat. (Note: Nutritional info is per serving.)

5. Kraft Macaroni and Cheese

  • 400 calories
  • 170 calories from fat
  • 19 grams of fat

4. Kraft Deluxe Macaroni & Cheese Dinner With Four Cheese Sauce

  • 320 calories per serving
  • 90 calories from fat
  • 10 grams of fat

3. Hamburger Helper Classic Cheeseburger Macaroni

  • 310 calories per serving
  • 110 calories from fat
  • 12.5 grams of fat

2. Wild Harvest Macaroni and Cheese White Cheddar

  • 270 calories per serving
  • 60 calories from fat
  • 4 grams of fat

1. Annie's Homegrown Bunny Pasta With Yummy Cheese

  • 270 calories per serving
  • 35 calories from fat
  • 4 grams of fat

So, the bottom line: Despite all those ads that say Kraft is the macaroni and cheese your kids want because it's the cheesiest, etc., etc., you're really better off giving them something from the Wild Harvest or Annie's Homegrown line when you consider calories and fat.

What's your favorite boxed macaroni and cheese?


Image via aMichiganMom/Flickr