Meatballs can be made healthier by switching from traditional ingredients to healthier choices. The definition of healthy may vary based on the type of diet you choose to eat, so one of the recipes below works well for a traditional low-fat, low-calorie diet. The other would be considered healthy on a paleo or low-carb diet.
Low-Fat, Low-Calorie Meatballs
This recipe replaces traditional high-fat pork or ground beef with ground turkey breast, which is lower in fat and calories. Likewise, cheese is replaced with plenty of herbs and spices that make the meatballs flavorful. Baking the meatballs instead of frying them also reduces calorie counts. These meatballs would be great in a meatball sandwich with some red sauce.
- Non-stick cooking spray
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, minced
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound lean ground skinless turkey breast
- 1 cup dried whole wheat breadcrumbs
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1/2 cup Italian flat leaf parsley, minced
- 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment and spray it lightly with cooking spray.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large nonstick sauté pan over medium-high heat, heat oil until it is shimmering hot.
- Add onions and cook until softened, about three minutes.
- Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Set aside to cool to room temperature.
- In a large bowl, combine ground turkey, breadcrumbs, eggs, parsley, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, and cooled onions and garlic.
- Mix, using your hands, until all ingredients are well-combined. Do not overwork, or meatballs will be tough.
- Form golf-ball sized meatballs and place on parchment-lined tray.
- Bake for 20 minutes, or until meatballs register 165 degrees on an instant read thermometer.
Nutrition data for both recipes comes from Self Nutrition Data. Yield: 4 servings, Calories: 325, Carbs: 23 g, Protein: 27 g, Fat: 4 g
These meatballs are healthy for people on low-carbohydrate and paleo diets. They do not contain breadcrumbs or other grains, and instead contain vegetables and meat. The meatballs would great with spaghetti squash and tomato sauce or a vegetable ragout.
- 1 tablespoon grass-fed butter
- 1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound 85 percent lean grass-fed ground beef
- 1 egg, beaten
- 3/4 cup shredded carrot
- 3/4 cup shredded zucchini
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment.
- In a sauté pan, heat butter over medium-high heat.
- Cook onions to soften, about three minutes.
- Add garlic and cook until it is fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Allow the onions and garlic to cool to room temperature.
- In a large bowl, combine ground beef, egg, carrot, zucchini, parsley, basil, sea salt, pepper, and onion mixture.
- Work mixture with your hands until combined, but do not overwork or it will toughen the meatballs.
- Roll into golf ball-sized meatballs and place on parchment lined baking tray.
- Bake until meatballs reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees, about 20 to 30 minutes.
Yield: 4 servings, Calories: 339, Carbs: 6 g, Protein: 31 g, Fat: 20 g
Healthy Food to Fit Your Lifestyle
Whatever lifestyle you choose to be healthy, you can modify recipes to suit your lifestyle. These meatballs have been tailor-made to be a part of your healthy diet.