Patti LaBelle is planning to let her family do all of the hard work this 4th of July, but that doesn’t mean she’s not going to share some healthy eating tips and her slimmed down mac and cheese recipe!

Us Weekly spoke with the Grammy-winning singer, who has teamed up with Hood – a dairy brand with a calorie-conscious line of products – and she wasn’t shy about her motivation to stay healthy after receiving a type 2 diabetes diagnoses over two decades ago.

“When I was first diagnosed, I remembered all the bad things that had happened to my family,” she said, recalling other family members who had previously been diagnosed with diabetes. “My mother’s legs were amputated and my aunt and uncle lost their sight.”

Having struggled with staying fit herself, LaBelle knows that holidays, such as July 4, can be tricky for those who are trying to watch what they eat. Still, she reminds people to “just have fun.”

“Put those burgers on the grill — it could be beef or turkey — and when I take it off I don’t use a bun,” she adds. “You could wrap it in lettuce instead and have yourself a turkey burger for that cookout.”

Patti LaBell's Slimmed Down Mac and Cheese.
Patti LaBell’s Slimmed Down Mac and Cheese.

Another LaBelle-approved tip is to load up on fiber-rich salad. The “Lady Marmalade” singer likes to make hers with “arugula, cilantro, heirloom tomatoes, scallions and steamed chicken,” but she’s also not afraid of indulging a bit as well, so long as you make some healthier swaps.

In fact, to stay healthy today, the 74-year-old has even revamped her famous mac and cheese recipe. “I swapped out the cream that I would put in my macaroni and eight cheeses,” she told Us. “Now I do it with all low-fat cheeses and with the Hood Calorie Countdown Fat Free Dairy Beverage, and there’s no difference in the taste.”

The best part? “The kids love it,” she assured.

Check out Patti LaBelle’s slimmed down take on mac and cheese below!

Over the Rainbow Macaroni and Cheese
Makes 8 servings

INGREDIENTS:

• 1 tbsp vegetable oil
• 1 lb whole-wheat elbow macaroni
• 9 tbsp spreadable butter
• 2 oz shredded Muenster cheese
• 2 oz low-fat shredded mild cheddar cheese
• 2 oz low-fat shredded sharp cheddar cheese
• 2 oz low-fat shredded Monterey Jack
• 2 cups Hood Calorie Countdown Fat Free Dairy Beverage
• 8 oz reduced fat Velveeta, cut into small cubes
• 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
• 1/4 tsp seasoned salt
• 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Lightly butter a deep 2.5-quart casserole dish.
  3. Bring the large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.
  4. Add the oil and elbow macaroni, and cook until the macaroni is just tender/al dente (about 7 minutes).
  5. Drain well, and return the macaroni to the cooking pot.
  6. In a small saucepan, melt eight tablespoons of the spreadable butter and then stir into the macaroni.
  7. In a large bowl, mix the low-fat Muenster, low-fat mild and sharp cheddar and low-fat Monterey Jack cheeses.
  8. To the macaroni, add the Hood Calorie Countdown Fat Free Dairy Beverage, 1.5 cups of the mixed low-fat shredded cheese, the reduced fat cubed Velveeta and the eggs.
  9. Season with salt and pepper.
  10. Transfer to the buttered casserole dish, sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of low-fat shredded cheese and dot with the remaining one tablespoon of spreadable butter.
  11. Bake until it’s bubbling around the edges, about 35 minutes. Serve hot.



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