Meatloaf might be one of the best comfort foods around—it’s savory, filling and the perfect fix for a chilly night. With its typically high fat and calorie content, though, it doesn’t really fit into a healthy eating plan. Instead of banning it from your plate completely, try using these tips to cut fat and calories to give it a healthy makeover.
Go lean. Buy meat, including beef or pork, that is 90% lean or leaner. You can cut even more saturated fat by mixing in some super-lean ground chicken or turkey.
Add grains. Replace a portion of the meat with healthy whole grains, such as cooked quinoa or bulgur, that deliver protein and fiber.
Work in vegetables. Add finely chopped cooked vegetables—and feel free to use whatever you have in the crisper, including beets, sweet potatoes and hearty greens like kale. A reliable go-to combo is one large carrot, one celery stalk and a small onion, plus a clove or two of garlic, pulsed a few times in the food processor and cooked very slowly in a skillet with a little oil.
Skip the yolks. Substitute two whites for every whole egg to help your loaf stay together. Most of the fat and calories in an egg are found in the yolk. One egg white contains 17 calories and less than a gram of fat, versus 55 calories and 5 grams of fat in the yolk.
Choose whole-wheat. Breadcrumbs are part of what makes meatloaf a meatloaf instead of a hamburger. They help the loaf keep its shape and they make it less dense. Choose whole-wheat breadcrumbs instead of refined white. The whole wheat adds fiber, which aids in digestion and may help keep you feeling fuller longer.
Boost flavor. Rehydrated and finely chopped dried mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes add a rich earthy flavor without adding a ton of extra calories, saturated fat or sodium. You can also try mixing a spoonful of curry paste, chili-garlic sauce or olive tapenade into the meat for a loaf with a global flavor.
Check with your doctor about the right diet for you.