Meatloaf is a traditional home dish made up almost entirely of ground beef baked or smoked in the shape of a loaf.
Ground beef is the most commonly used meat, although other ground meats such as hog, lamb, and veal, as well as other less usual combinations involving seafood and poultry, are also used.
But, is meatloaf healthy?
It is good for those on a high protein diet and includes some essential vitamins and minerals.
However, it also contains a lot of saturated fat, salt, and calories, the former two having been linked with increased cardiovascular disease such as stroke, coronary, and peripheral heart disease.
In addition, the ground beef is combined with components like eggs, breadcrumbs, and sauces to keep the loaf from drying out, which may contain other artificial additives and preservatives.
So it’s to exactly healthy even though it has some healthy elements. but this could also depend on an individual’s recipe.
What Is A Healthy Serving Of Meatloaf?
Meatloaf has a lot of saturated fats, cholesterol, sodium, and calories, which can lead to health consequences.
As a result, the generally recommended serving size of meatloaf is less than or equal to 4 oz per person per day.
4 oz of meatloaf provides you a calorie of anywhere between 210 to 350 calories, depending on the kind of meat used, and has:
- 51g of saturated fat (23% of DV)
- 90mg cholesterol (30% DV)
- 469 mg of sodium (20% DV)
Meatloaf has long been a favorite comfort meal in many families throughout the world.
However, given its nutritional and health profile, it is necessary to consume it as a comfort meal in moderation.
A pound of meatloaf contains:
- 962 calories
- 24g saturated fat (120% DV)
- 222mg cholesterol (74% DV)
- 1565mg sodium (68% DV)
Aside from the portion size, how the meatloaf is prepared and what goes into it both have a role in deciding its benefits and drawbacks as part of our diet.
Restaurant and store-bought meatloaf are heavy in sodium and fat and should be avoided, whereas home-cooked meatloaf is preferred for better nutrition.
You may make some tweaks to the way the homemade meatloaf is made and enjoyed while making it far more nutritious and wholesome.
Here are some ways you can cut down the bad stuff and make meatloaf healthier.
- Making a lean meatloaf by lowering the red meat content to some or none and using white meat, such as turkey and chicken.
- By cooking a low-sodium meatloaf, you can minimize the amount of salt and sodium-containing items such as sauces and ketchup you use.
- Replace refined bread crumbs with whole-grain bread crumbs or crackers because refined bread crumbs are devoid of nutrients and put you at risk of metabolic diseases such as diabetes.
- Serve the meatloaf with plenty of vegetables and fiber-rich foods to round out a healthy balanced meal.
Is Meatloaf Good For Your Heart?
The high sodium and saturated fat content of the meatloaf, which is rich in fatty meat, can raise the risk of high blood pressure and high cholesterol, which can lead to negative heart health effects.
People with preexisting conditions like high blood pressure should limit their consumption of meatloaf.
Otherwise, healthy people must also be mindful of how much meatloaf they consume and the type of meat they consume in order to reduce their chance of getting cardiovascular disease in the long term.
Below is a comparison of the nutritional profile of making meatloaf using lean versus fatty meat. Both are made with a combination of beef and turkey.
*93/7 has 93% lean meat and 7% fatty meat
*85/15 has 85% lean meat and 15% fatty meat
*95/5 beef has 95% lean meat and 5% fatty meat
|93/7 Beef||93/7 Turkey||85/15 Beef||85/15 Turkey||95/5 Beef||99% Fat-Free Turkey|
|Protein||25 grams||23 grams||24 grams||21 grams||25 grams||25 grams|
|Fat||8 grams||9.9 grams||13 grams||15 grams||6.4 grams||2 grams|
|Saturated fat||3.3 grams||2.5 grams||4.9 grams||3.9 grams||2.8 grams||0.57 grams|
|Sodium||73 mg||77 mg||76 mg||72 mg||72 mg||50 mg|
|Iron||2.7 mg||1.3 mg||2.5 mg||1.7 mg||2.7 mg||0.67 mg|
|Zinc||5.9 mg||3.2 mg||5.6 mg||3 mg||6 mg||1.9 mg|
|Vitamin B12||2.4 mg||1.6 mg||2.4 mg||1.4 mg||2.4 mg||0.57 mg|
As the fat content of beef and turkey meat increases, so do the calories and saturated fat.
The best meat for lowering saturated fat consumption is 99 percent fat-free turkey, followed by 93/7 turkey meat and 95/5 beef meat.
It can also be seen above that while the overall fat content of white turkey meat white is higher than that of beef meat (red), the saturated fat content, which is a major health risk factor, is higher in beef rather than turkey.
Thus, for those with pre-existing heart problems, the ideal meat option for meatloaf would be turkey meat in the low-fat category, although they can still take beef meat in moderation as long as the fatty meat component is present in a modest amount.
Why Is Meat Loaf So Good?
Meatloaf is the ultimate comfort food that many of us grow up with.
It’s hearty, filling, and packed with protein.
And it’s also a great source of iron, which is essential for carrying oxygen in the blood.
But what really sets meatloaf apart is its versatility.
You can make it with just about any combination of ground meats, vegetables, and spices, and it’s always delicious.
Though conventional meatloaf might be unhealthy for our bodies owing to the use of high-fat red meat and high sodium in its preparation, adding a few smart tweaks to its preparation method can transform it into a nutritious dish rich with protein, vitamins, and minerals important for a healthy body.
- By replacing the fatty beef with lean meat, the meatloaf would be lower in saturated fat while maintaining a high protein level. This reduces the risk of heart disease that would have otherwise been caused by traditional meatloaf consumption.
- Its high protein profile makes it a perfect protein source for folks who wish to lose fat while maintaining muscular strength and tone. This is because high-protein foods take longer to digest and hence keep you full for a longer period of time.
- The protein profile not only aids in muscle maintenance but also in various other biological processes, including:
- Optimizes brain nerve functions
- Improves memory
- Reduces the risk of dementia
- It is also a source of essential nutrients, particularly Vitamin B12, heme iron, and calcium, which can only be obtained from animal sources. Meatloaf fulfills a significant amount of daily recommended intake per serving.
- Vitamin B12 is required for the formation of red blood cells as well as the proper functioning of the brain and neurological system.
- Unlike non-heme iron present in plants, heme iron is easily absorbed by our bodies. This ensures that your body gets enough easily accessible iron for the production of hemoglobin, a protein found in red blood cells that aid in the transport of oxygen throughout the body.
- Calcium promotes bone growth, adds up bone mass, and improves overall bone health.
I’m Chris Watson & the Founder of EatForLonger.com. I’m a food and wellbeing enthusiast researching and sharing foodstuffs and simple food-based concepts, such as fasting and clean eating.
I hope it inspires you to make tiny changes to what you eat and when you eat while optimizing your healthspan and all-around well-being.
Read more About Me here.