Just because you're watching your carb intake doesn't mean you have to give up meatloaf -- the ultimate comfort food. Although traditional meatloaf recipes include carbs, such as bread and oats, a variety of low-carb foods can serve as substitutes. Low-carb meatloaves are budget friendly and they're tasty, whether served hot or cold. By starting with your favorite meatloaf recipe and thinking outside the box, you can create a meatloaf that's low in carbohydrates and high in flavor.
Select heart-healthy lean meat as your basic meatloaf component. All naturally occurring meats have no carbohydrates. Ground turkey and 95 percent lean ground beef are good choices.
Substitute textured soy protein for part of the meat. Soy is low in carbohydrates, calories and fat, but is protein rich. Soy also helps reduce cholesterol and may aid in preventing bone loss. TSP adds texture to your meatloaf, serves as a binder and absorbs the flavor of the meat and spices.
Replace traditional bread crumbs with those made from low-carb bread for your meatloaf filler. Traditional meatloaf recipes call for the meat to be mixed with some type of starch filler, such as bread or oatmeal, to help absorb the meat juice and make the loaf less dense.
Use fiber-rich vegetables instead of low-carb bread crumbs, or combine the two, for your filler. Chopped onions, mushrooms, green peppers, apples and spinach make excellent low-carb substitute fillers. The National Cancer Institute states that foods high in fiber may protect against some types of cancer, particularly colon cancer. Fiber also aids the digestive system and prevents constipation, which is important because meat contains no fiber.
Top your meatloaf with a low-carb, tomato-based sauce instead of serving it with a flour-based gravy. Try a tasty barbecue sauce. Create your own custom sauce by adding garlic, Worcestershire sauce or special spices and seasonings, such as those with an Italian, Asian or Mexican flavor.
Items you will need
- Ground turkey or 95 percent lean ground beef
- Textured soy protein
- Low-carb bread crumbs
- Fresh vegetables, chopped
- Barbecue sauce or tomato sauce
- Worcestershire sauce
- Traditional meatloaves, made with regular ground beef, sausage and pork, are high in saturated fat. Excess saturated fat in your diet is a major risk factor for heart disease. Fat is also high in calories, which can contribute to weight gain.
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Fat - Side Effects
- University of Minnesota: Research in Agricultural & Applied Economics: Estimating Price Premiums forBreads Marketed as "Low-Carbohydrate Breads"
- University of Arizona: Cooperative Extension: College of Agriculture & Life Sciences: An Introduction: Dietary Fiber
- University of Illinois: National Soybean Researh Laboratory: Diabetes and Soy
- Colorado State University: Extension: Dietary Fiber
- Practical Applications in Sports Nutrition; Heather Hendrick Fink, Lisa A. Burgoon, Alan E. Mikesky, Ph.D.
- Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images