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6 tricks for healthier meatloaf

By Emily McKenna, January 20, 2012 - 11:59am

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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

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

More Makeovers:
5 Tricks for Lighter Lasagna
How to Make Healthier Macaroni and Cheese
8 Tricks for the Best Healthy Chili

What are your tricks for lightening up meatloaf? Tell us what you think below.

TAGS: Emily McKenna, Healthy Cooking Blog, Dinner, Recipe Makeover

Emily McKenna
Emily McKenna has been a recipe tester and developer in the EatingWell Test Kitchen and has worked at Food & Wine Magazine, and Real Simple Magazine. She is a recent convert to the glories of kale and has a weakness for doughnuts, strawberry licorice and anything her Italian-American grandmother makes, especially pizza.

Emily asks: What are your tricks for lightening up meatloaf?

Tell us what you think:

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