Healthy Meatloaf

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5 from 48 votes
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Made with a handful of wholesome ingredients, this healthy meatloaf recipe is lighter than the classic, yet still juicy and tender. It’s always a hit for easy family dinners!

meatloaf healthy.

Comfort food has a new meaning with this easy, healthy meatloaf recipe! Like my healthy burgers, it’s a lighter alternative to a classic meatloaf recipe but tastes just as juicy and tender.

It’s made with wholesome ingredients and tastes just as good (hello, air fryer meatloaf). Plus, it’s the perfect choice for quick and easy weeknight dinners!

Table of Contents
  1. Recipe highlights
  2. Ingredients needed
  3. How to make healthy meatloaf
  4. Recipe tips and variations
  5. Storage instructions
  6. Frequently asked questions
  7. More delicious ways to get your meatloaf fix
  8. BEST Healthy Meatloaf (Recipe Card)

Recipe highlights

  • Made with no-nonsense ingredients. You won’t find any funny or complicated ingredients here. Everything in this juicy meatloaf is easy to find at your local grocery store or in your pantry.
  • Perfect texture and flavor. Like my turkey meatloaf, the texture is perfectly juicy and moist in the middle, and the sticky glaze on top is top botch. It has a rich and meaty flavor, with sweet and tangy notes from the topping.
  • An instant hit! Just ask my family- everyone LOVES it when meatloaf is on the menu.
  • Great for meal prep. I typically bake two of these meatloaves at a time for quick weekday meals. Paired with cauliflower mash and some steamed greens, it’s a healthy, wholesome meal.
healthy meatloaf.

Ingredients needed

This easy healthy meatloaf calls for pantry staples you’ll likely already have to make. Here is what you’ll need:

  • Ground beef. I like making my ground beef meatloaf recipes with 80/20 ground beef (80% lean and 20% fat). It’s a lean yet juicy and flavorful option that always gives you tender meatloaf that isn’t dry or overly greasy.
  • Onion and garlic. For flavor. To deepen the savory flavors of these aromatics, sauté them in an oiled skillet until they’re soft and golden.
  • Eggs. The eggs help bind the meatloaf mixture together.
  • Ketchup. Opt for a ketchup that has few ingredients and no added sugar. You can try my sugar free ketchup if you like.
  • Milk. To soften the bread crumbs. Any kind of milk will do, like regular cow’s milk or dairy free almond milk.
  • Parsley. Fresh parsley is best and gives the meatloaf a layer of freshness.
  • Panko bread crumbs. To add bulk and help bind the meatloaf mixture. For a gluten-free option, choose gluten-free panko breadcrumbs or classic gluten-free breadcrumbs.
  • Salt and black pepper. To taste.
  • Italian seasonings. Use a store-bought blend to keep this recipe as easy as possible.

For the glaze:

  • Ketchup.
  • White vinegar. For some tang and to balance the sweetness in the glaze. Apple cider vinegar works as a substitute.
  • Brown sugar. The natural molasses flavor works so well with the other ingredients. Coconut sugar or white sugar will also work.

Find the printable recipe with measurements below.

How to make healthy meatloaf

Step 1- Make the meatloaf mixture: Gently mix all of the meatloaf ingredients together in a large bowl.

how to make healthy meatloaf.

Step 2- Shape: Dump the meatloaf mixture onto a lined loaf pan and shape it into a loaf.

meatloaf in tin.

Step 3- Bake: Place it in the oven to bake.

baked meatloaf in tin.

Step 4- Make the glaze: Meanwhile, whisk the glaze ingredients together. Take the meatloaf out of the oven when it’s almost done and brush the glaze all over the outside.

glazed meatloaf in tin.

Step 5- Finish baking: Place the glazed meatloaf back into the oven to finish baking. Once it’s done, garnish each slice with the pan juices and fresh parsley. Enjoy!

glazed meatloaf.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Use a meat thermometer. My #1 tip. An instant-read meat thermometer is the easiest way to tell if your meatloaf is cooked. Ready-to-eat meatloaf should have an internal temperature of 160°F (71°C).
  • Don’t overmix the meat. Only stir the meatloaf ingredients until they just come together. Overworking the meat mixture will make the meatloaf tough.
  • Let the meatloaf rest. Once it’s done baking, set the meatloaf aside for 10 minutes. Slicing when it’s too hot may cause the meat to crumble!
  • Avoid extra lean beef. Even the healthiest recipes need a little fat for flavor, and this meatloaf is no different. Avoid using fat-free or extra lean beef, as it will yield a dry texture.
  • Use other ground meat. Try this healthy meatloaf recipe with ground turkey or ground chicken, or use a 1:1 mix of ground beef and the other lean ground meat of your choice.
  • Add veggies. Give it a boost of extra nutrition by folding broccoli florets, cauliflower florets, shredded carrots, shredded zucchini, or diced celery into the meat mixture.

Storage instructions

To store: Keep the leftover meatloaf or individual slices in an airtight container or in plastic wrap and store them in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

To freeze: The whole meatloaf or individual slices can be stored in the freezer for up to 6 months. Let them thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating.

To reheat: Quickly zap the leftover slices in the oven or reheat large batches in a 350ºF oven until heated through.

Frequently asked questions

Is meatloaf healthy?

Meatloaf isn’t typically known as a healthy food but it’s easy to make adjustments to the recipe to put a healthier spin on this classic dinner. Using lean ground beef, for example, is a great way to avoid excess grease and calories. You can also add fresh herbs and vegetables into the mix to give it a boost of fresh flavors and nutrition.

What do you serve with healthy meatloaf?

An abundance of healthy side dishes, of course! Pair each juicy slice with sauteed brussels sprouts, cauliflower mashed potatoes, a leafy green salad, cooked carrots, and any other cooked veggies or salads you love.  

Is almond milk good for meatloaf?

Any milk works to keep the meatloaf moist and juicy. If calories are a concern, almond milk is a fantastic option as it has fewer calories than other milks.

More delicious ways to get your meatloaf fix

healthy meatloaf recipe.

BEST Healthy Meatloaf

5 from 48 votes
Made with a handful of wholesome ingredients, this healthy meatloaf recipe is lighter than the classic, yet still juicy and tender. It’s always a hit for easy family dinners!
Servings: 8 servings
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes
Total: 50 minutes

Ingredients  

  • 2 lbs lean ground beef
  • 1 medium onion grated
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons parsley finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning

Glaze

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 190C/375F. Line a 9 x5-inch pan with parchment paper and lightly grease. 
  • In a large mixing bowl, add all the meatloaf ingredients and mix well. 
  • Add the meatloaf to the greased pan and shape it nicely to the edges.
  • Bake the meatloaf for 35-40 minutes or until tender. While the meatloaf bakes, whisk together the glaze ingredients.
  • After 40 minutes, remove the meatloaf and spread with the glaze on top. Bake for a further 5-10 minutes, until it thickens.
  • Remove the meatloaf from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

Notes

TO STORE. Keep the leftover meatloaf or individual slices in an airtight container and store them in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
TO FREEZE. The whole meatloaf or individual slices also freeze well for up to 6 months. Let them thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating.
TO REHEAT. Quickly zap the leftover slices in the oven or reheat large batches in a 350ºF oven until heated through.

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 232kcalCarbohydrates: 18gProtein: 26gFat: 6gSodium: 693mgPotassium: 528mgFiber: 1gSugar: 11gVitamin A: 246IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 52mgIron: 3mgNET CARBS: 17g
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Author: Arman Liew
Tried this recipe?Give us a shout at @thebigmansworld or tag #thebigmansworld!

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Arman Liew

I’m a two time cookbook author, photographer, and writer, and passionate about creating easy and healthier recipes. I believe you don’t need to be experienced in the kitchen to make good food using simple ingredients that most importantly, taste delicious.

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Comments

  1. Will it still bind together without eggs if I make it with brown rice breadcrumbs? Should I use eggs for gluten free? Thank you!

      1. 5 stars
        Actually if you use a pedal attachment on your mixer and beat the mixture until threads appear, it should hold together without the breadcrumbs. But in this case I’d presoak the breadcrumbs and milk before adding it to the meat.