Advertisement

Subscribe to RSS

6 tips for healthier meatballs

By Hilary Meyer, February 28, 2012 - 4:38pm

  • Share
6 tips for healthier meatballs

When I heard we were doing a story on “healthier meatballs,” I was skeptical. What could be healthy about a meatball? And if they were “healthy,” would they be any good? As it turns out, the answer is yes. My friend and contributing editor Carolyn Malcoun developed some killer meatball recipes for us and if I hadn’t known, I never would have guessed they were healthy.

Recipes to Try: Lemon-Rosemary Turkey Meatballs and More Healthy Meatball Recipes

Here are her 6 tips for healthier meatballs:

1. Start with lean meat.
To cut saturated fat, opt for meats that are 90% lean or leaner. Or if you want to use a fattier meat, such as pork or lamb, for flavor, combine it with something leaner (ground pork is usually 80% lean and ground turkey breast is 99% lean).
Related: 10 Secrets to Healthier Cooking

2. Opt for whole-grain binders.
Typical meatball recipes call for breadcrumbs or rice. Use whole-grain versions (i.e., whole-wheat breadcrumbs and brown rice) to add fiber and nutrients.

3. Use plenty of herbs and spices.
There is truth to the saying, “Fat equals flavor.” So when you’re cutting the fat from a favorite recipe, add dried or fresh herbs and spices to bump up the flavor.

4. Change up how you serve them.
A healthier meatball is great, but not if it’s served over a pile of white rice. So opt for better sides, such as polenta, brown rice or whole-wheat pasta. And if you’re making a meatball sub, choose whole-grain bread.
Don’t Miss: 5 Secrets to a Healthier Spaghetti & Meatballs Dinner

5. Don’t overmix.
Be careful to mix the ingredients until they’re just combined, otherwise you’ll end up with overly tough meatballs that you’d rather use as paperweights.
Related: 10 Bad Cooking Habits You Should Break

6. Cook smarter.
No need to cook meatballs in loads of extra oil. If you want to cook them in a skillet, use just a tablespoon of oil in a nonstick pan. Most meatballs can also be baked on a baking sheet lined with foil for easy cleanup.
Don’t Miss: 5 Things You Should Learn to Cook

What do you do to make your meatballs healthier? Tell us what you think below.

TAGS: Hilary Meyer, Healthy Cooking Blog, Cooking tips, Recipe Makeover

Hilary Meyer
EatingWell Associate Food Editor Hilary Meyer spends much of her time in the EatingWell Test Kitchen, testing and developing healthy recipes. She is a graduate of New England Culinary Institute.

Hilary asks: What do you do to make your meatballs healthier?

Tell us what you think:

Connect With Us

20 minute dinner recipes
Advertisement

EatingWell Magazine

more smart savings
Advertisement
20 minute dinner recipes
Get a full year of EatingWell magazine.
World Wide Web Health Award Winner Web Award Winner World Wide Web Health Award Winner Interactive Media Award Winner