How to Make Meatloaf Healthier

How to Make Meatloaf Healthier

Pictured Recipe: Mini Meatloaves

Learn secrets to making meatloaf with less fat and fewer calories.

My mother makes the world’s best meatloaf, but it’s as high in fat and calories as it is delicious, so as much as I like it, it doesn’t fit into my diet. Instead of giving it up, I’ve decided to tweak her recipe to fit my needs. With a few easy tricks and switches I can have my meatloaf, with less fat and calories, and eat it too.

Healthy Recipes to Try: 5 Delicious Meatloaf Recipes

—Emily McKenna Kennedy, Recipe Developer & Tester for EatingWell Magazine

Watch: See how to make meatloaf healthier


Go Lean

1. 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

2. Add Grains

Replace a portion of the meat with whole grains, such as cooked quinoa, bulgur or barley, all healthy whole grains that deliver protein, fiber and bone-building manganese.
Related: 6 Slimming Carbs to Add to Your Meals


Work in Vegetables

3. Work in Vegetables

Add finely chopped cooked vegetables—I use whatever I 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

4. 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

5. 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 keeps you feeling fuller longer.


Boost Flavor

6. 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. I also like to mix a spoonful of curry paste, chili-garlic sauce or olive tapenade into the meat for a loaf with a global flavor.