I had an awesome dinner tonight.
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
- Combine ground pork loin and sausage seasoning in a medium mixing bowl.
- Roast diced tomatoes under the broiler for 6-8 minutes – or until looking moderately dry and browned.
- Chop all vegetables.
- Mix together well.
- Press into an ungreased 8×8 glass baking dish.
- Top with tomato sauce and vinegar mixture.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for 30-40 minutes.
- 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
- Cut butternut squash in half. Scoop out seeds. Peel with vegetable peeler. Cube into medium size pieces. (Shown in picture below)
- Add to medium pot of boiling water.
- Boil about 10 minutes or until tender. Drain water.
- Add butter, honey, butter, and cinnamon. Toss lightly to mix ingredients.
- 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
- 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.
- Remove from water and cover with ice – or immerse into cold water.
- Drain thoroughly.
- Fry two slices of bacon until crisp. Discard grease. When bacon cools, crumble.
- 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.
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.