Remaking Classics: Heart Healthy (Paleo-friendly) Meatloaf

I had an awesome dinner tonight.

heart healthy meatloaf

Notice, I titled this a “Heart Healthy” Meatloaf. I hope it’s not a surprise that meatloaf isn’t generally considered a heart healthy option.

What makes a meatloaf dinner unhealthy?

  • Meatloaf is usually made with 70/30 beef. There is a considerable amount of saturated fat in this type of beef. Saturated fat intake, paired with a sedentary lifestyle, can raise your LDL. High LDL can cause you to start developing athrosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries). That’s no good.
  • Meatloaf is served with mashed potatoes and gravy.
    • Gravy is an unnecessary source of sodium and added fat.
    • Mashed potatoes are a simple carbohydrate that cause your blood sugar to spike. If you have diabetes, this can be hard to match in insulin production. 
    • A lot of mashed potatoes are made with heavy cream and butter (especially if you are eating them at a restaurant). These ingredients are also high in saturated fat and will help narrow your arteries.
  • Meatloaf is served with greenbeans… but not enough of them to fill up half your plate. The green beans are usually canned – which adds unnecessary sodium and decreases the fiber content. Low fiber diets can cause you to have slow bowel movements.
  • There are no healthy fats in this menu: meatloaf, mashed potato, gravy, green beans.
  • Overall nutrient composition from vegetables is low.
  • The high fat meat and potato portions are large – excessive calories in one meal.

No worries, this meatloaf is good! And the sides are MUCH better than the traditional ones.

How did I have this stroke of genius? (excuse the pun.)

Basically, I had some things that needed to be used up. Any time you have vegetables that are looking a little past their prime, cut them up and put them into a dish!

Here’s what I had…

I also had a few chopped tomatoes.

You can use whatever is in your pantry or fridge at home – as long as it’s a vegetable.

Recipe: Heart Healthy Meatloaf


  • 1 1/2 lb ground pork loin, (have the butcher do this for you)
  • 3-4 Tbsp Sausage Seasoning (Cumin, Oregano, Basil, Sage, Garlic Powder, Salt, Pepper)
  • 2 Bell Peppers, chopped
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 1 C diced tomato, drained, roasted and cooled
  • 5 green onions, chopped
  • 1/8 C sundried tomatoes, chopped
  • A few mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 small can of tomato sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Vinegar (white or apple cider)
  • 2 slices crispy bacon, crumbled


  1. Combine ground pork loin and sausage seasoning in a medium mixing bowl.
  2. Roast diced tomatoes under the broiler for 6-8 minutes – or until looking moderately dry and browned.
  3. Chop all vegetables.
  4. Mix together well.
  5. Press into an ungreased 8×8 glass baking dish.
  6. Top with tomato sauce and vinegar mixture.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30-40 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven when center is white instead of pink. Top with bacon crumbles.

Nutrition Information: Makes 6 servings. 219 calories, 9g fat, 3g saturated fat, 75mg cholesterol, 212mg sodium, 5g total carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 25g protein.

Recipe: Cinnamon Pecan Butternut Squash


  • 1/2 Butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1tsp Honey
  • 2 tsp Butter
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4 C toasted pecans
  • Salt, light sprinkle


  1. Cut butternut squash in half. Scoop out seeds. Peel with vegetable peeler. Cube into medium size pieces. (Shown in picture below)
  2. Add to medium pot of boiling water.
  3. Boil about 10 minutes or until tender. Drain water.
  4. Add butter, honey, butter, and cinnamon. Toss lightly to mix ingredients. 
  5. Plate and top with toasted pecans. Sprinkle salt lightly.

Nutrition Information: Serving size – 1 cup. 117 calories, 7g fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 5mg cholesterol, 17mg sodium, 15g total carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 2g protein.

Recipe: Sauteed Fresh Greenbeans


  • 3-4 Cups Fresh Greenbeans
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 slices bacon, cooked crisp
  • 1 tsp olive oil


  1. Snap greenbeans and place into a pot of boiling water. Add 1/2 tsp salt to water and boil until greenbeans turn bright green color and still firm to touch.
  2. Remove from water and cover with ice – or immerse into cold water.
  3. Drain thoroughly.
  4. Fry two slices of bacon until crisp. Discard grease. When bacon cools, crumble.
  5. Place cooled greenbeans into skillet with 1 tsp olive oil. Heat quickly, tossing in the oil. When slightly seared, remove from heat and toss with crumbled bacon.

Nutrition Information: Serving size – 1 cup. 60 calories, 2g fat, 0.5gm saturated fat, 3mg cholesterol, 146mg sodium, 7g total carbohydrates, 4g fiber, 3g protein.  

Comparison: Heart Healthy VS Traditional

  • Heart Healthy Meatloaf, Butternut Squash, Greenbeans = 396 calories, 18g fat, 5g saturated fat, 375mg sodium, 27g total carbohdyrate, 9g fiber. PLUS you have enough calories leftover to add in a medium piece of fruit (80 calories, 20g carbohydrate) for dessert!
  • Regular Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy, Greenbeans (similar portions)= 874 calories, 46g fat, 14g saturated fat, 3571mg sodium, 76g total carbohydrate, 13g fiber. Chances are… you’ll add a roll for another 110 calories and 21g carbohydrates.

478 calories more for traditional. We’re talking about a difference in calories equal to 4.5 miles of walking. Unless you plan on doing that after your meal, I think we can afford to change out a few of these ingredients. And GOSH! Take a look at the sodium content of those commercially prepared foods in the traditional meal. YIKES!

Not to mention, it’s delicious. You won’t miss the calories. :) Happy eating.

Paleo Meatloaf dinner

A Note to the Diabetics: Remember not to count carbohydrates from non-starchy vegetables. They breakdown very slowly and are not likely to affect your blood sugar. This meal has 15g of “countable” carbohydrate. Women – Add a medium/large piece of fruit for 30 grams of carbohydrate. Men – Add a large piece of fruit and a cup of low fat milk. Tada! Carbohydrate budget met.

One thought on “Remaking Classics: Heart Healthy (Paleo-friendly) Meatloaf

  1. Pingback: Make Your Own Heart Healthy Sausage | thebeetingheart

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s