How to Cook a Healthy Meatloaf

How to Cook a Healthy MeatloafBy Stacy Fraser, Test Kitchen manager at EatingWell

There's a new way to make a great meatloaf. Purists focus on the meat, de-emphasizing the importance of the other fillers like breadcrumbs, vegetables and seasonings, but we look at meatloaf as an opportunity to sneak in some extra ­vegetables and whole grains and play with different flavors to give this classic a regular place on a healthy dinner table. In just 30 minutes you can throw together a killer meatloaf that has a fraction of the calories and saturated fat of a traditional recipe. (Our Basic Meatloaf, for example, saves you 170 calories and 6 grams saturated fat per serving.) To get started, pick a flavor combo that you want to try and follow our how-to instructions (see recipe ideas below the how-to tips).

Add VegetablesStep 1. Add Vegetables
Add vegetables to meatloaf to improve the texture, boost nutrients and keep portions reasonable without many extra calories. Cook the vegetables first to reduce the liquid in the loaf and prevent it from crumbling.

Use FlavoringsStep 2. Use Flavorings
Use big bold flavorings (spices or condiments like ketchup, mustard or Worcestershire) to make healthy meatloaf taste great. For 2 pounds of meat add 3/4 cup filler-anything from whole-wheat breadcrumbs to brown rice-and an egg to help it all stick together.

Knead GentlyStep 3. Knead Gently
Gently knead the meatloaf ingredients just until combined-overmixed meatloaf is dense and less tender.

Make A Freeform LoafStep 4. Make A Freeform Loaf
Try making a freeform meatloaf on a baking sheet. A freeform loaf cooks about 15 minutes faster than one in a loaf pan.

Here are 5 ways to flavor your meatloaf:

Basic MeatloafBasic Meatloaf
While meatloaf purists focus on the meat, we like to look at meatloaf as a way to pack extra veggies and whole grains into a meal, as we do in this healthy, classic meatloaf recipe.

Cranberry-Turkey MeatloafCranberry-Turkey Meatloaf
This healthy turkey meatloaf recipe is packed with cranberries, sage and celery-all the flavors of Thanksgiving dinner wrapped up into one delicious turkey meatloaf.

Hoisin-Ginger MeatloafHoisin-Ginger Meatloaf
Scallions, hoisin sauce and ginger give this pork-and-turkey meatloaf great flavor and plenty of vegetables boost the fiber and nutrients. We love the texture of brown rice as

a filler in this healthy Asian-flavored meatloaf recipe, but feel free to swap fresh whole-wheat breadcrumbs for the rice.

Bacon Cheeseburger MeatloafBacon Cheeseburger Meatloaf
Do you like bacon cheeseburgers? Try this healthy meatloaf recipe packed with bacon and Cheddar cheese. It has all the flavor of a bacon cheeseburger with none of the guilt.

Reuben MeatloafReuben Meatloaf
Inspired by the classic Reuben sandwich, this nontraditional, healthy Reuben meatloaf recipe includes sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, dill pickles and rye breadcrumbs.

How do you make meatloaf healthier?

By Stacy Fraser

Stacy Fraser is Test Kitchen manager at EatingWell. With a background in ecological agriculture and many past growing seasons under her belt, Stacy began her study of food in the field, literally. Before joining the crew at EatingWell, Stacy managed the kitchen of breakfast and lunch hot spot Penny Cluse, in downtown Burlington, Vermont, where she learned how to make simple, delicious food from fresh ingredients.

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