Meatballs Done Right: 5 Diet-Friendly Recipes

With the right combination of meat, spices, and care, you can make meatballs that will actually fit into your clean diet. Here are five recipes that taste great and provide muscle-building macros.

Fatty, calorie-laden meatballs probably aren't your go-to selection at the local Olive Garden, especially when they're paired with spaghetti and sugary marinara sauce. However, when prepared healthfully, meatballs make a great addition to a healthy diet. They're full of protein and can be paired with any number of vegetables and complex carbs to make a complete meal.

Not sure how to go about turning grandma's meatball casserole into something you can eat and enjoy? Here are five low-cal, high-protein meatball recipes to get you started.

Once you've tried them, add your own unique flavors to the recipes. Let us know how they turn out in the comments below!

1

Italian Chicken Meatballs

Bring some delicious Italian flavor into your clean diet with these meatballs. The oregano and basil provide extra flair and the ground chicken will definitely help you make and maintain those lean gains. If you want a complete meal, serve with some steamed vegetables.

Ingredients

ground chicken breast 2.5 pounds


egg whites 3


oats (dry) 1 cup


green bell pepper, finely chopped 1 medium


red bell pepper, finely chopped 1 medium


purple onion 1


minced garlic 1 tbsp.


onion flakes 1 tbsp.


dried basil 1 tbsp.


oregano 1 tbsp.


Salt & Pepper to taste


Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Using your hands, combine all ingredients together in a large bowl.
  3. Form about 12 meatballs from the chicken mixture.
  4. Spray a muffin tin with non-stick spray.
  5. Place a meatball in each muffin cup.
  6. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until golden brown.


Nutrition Facts
Amount per meatball
Calories 106
Total Fat 2 g
Total Carb 7 g
Protein 15 g
2

Spicy Turkey Meatballs

If you like it spicy, this recipe is right up your alley. Chili peppers, jalapenos, and salsa turn ground turkey into a zesty meal. Throw the meatballs in some tomato sauce, or plate them with vegetables and a complex carb. They're also perfect to pack as a lunch.

Ingredients

ground turkey 1.5 pounds


large egg 1


large egg whites 2


oats 3/4 cup


jalapeño pepper 2 tbsp. minced


chili pepper 1/2 tsp.


salsa 1/4 cup


green bell pepper 1/2 finely diced


red bell pepper 1/2 finely diced


Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Using your hands, combine all ingredients together in a large bowl.
  3. Form mixture into medium-sized meatballs.
  4. Set meatballs in a baking dish.
  5. Place dish in oven and cook for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown.
  6. Top with added salsa.


Nutrition Facts
Amount per meatball
Calories 121
Total Fat 1.7 g
Total Carb 7.2 g
Protein 19 g
3

Cheesy Chicken Meatballs

Cheese doesn't make the cut in everybody's macros, but if it fits in yours, you'll love this recipe. The meatballs are creamy, tasty and full of muscle-building protein. If you're not into mozzarella or Parmesan, feel free to use low-fat cheddar cheese.

Ingredients

ground chicken breast 1.5 pounds


low-fat mozzarella cheese 1/2 cup


low-fat Parmesan cheese 1/2 cup


oregano 1 tbsp.


egg whites 3


oats 1 cup


onion 1/2 cup finely diced


Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Using your hands, combine all ingredients.
  3. Roll chicken mixture into bite-sized meatballs.
  4. Place meatballs on a greased baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.


Nutrition Facts
Amount per meatball
Calories 155
Total Fat 4.3 g
Total Carb 7.2 g
Protein 19.6 g
4

Salmon Meatball Wrap

If you need a power-packed meal to get you through a busy afternoon or evening, here's your recipe. These salmon meatball wraps are full of fats, protein, and complex carbohydrates. If you have specific flavors in mind, add your own spices—it's easy to make this recipe your own!

Ingredients

salmon, skin and bones removed 1 can


onion 1 finely diced


egg whites 2


oats 1/2 cup


garlic 1/2 clove minced


whole wheat pitas 3


spinach leaves 2 cups


olive oil 1 tbsp.


Directions
  1. Combine salmon, onion, egg whites, oats, and minced garlic.
  2. Form into meatballs and set on a plate.
  3. In a skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil.
  4. Place salmon meatballs in skillet and cook 4-5 minutes, or until browned.
  5. Remove from skillet and place in pitas along with spinach leaves.


Nutrition Facts
Amount per pita
Calories 388
Total Fat 11.5 g
Total Carb 49 g
Protein 23.5 g
5

Caesar Chicken Meatballs

This creamy Caesar chicken meatball recipe is just plain yummy. Even your kids will like it! With almost 20 grams of protein per meatball, you can enjoy the taste without having to feel guilty about it.

Ingredients

ground chicken 1.5 pounds


egg whites 3


oats 1 cup


low-fat Caesar salad dressing 2 tbsp


clove garlic 1/2 minced


low-fat Parmesan cheese 4 tbsp


Directions
  1. Preheat oven 425 degrees F.
  2. Combine all ingredients together in a large bowl.
  3. Roll chicken mixture into about 20 meatballs.
  4. Place each meatball in a muffin cup and bake for 25-28 minutes, or until golden brown.
  5. Once out of the oven, remove from muffin tin.
  6. Before serving, squeeze lemon juice over top.


Nutrition Facts
Amount per meatball
Calories 129
Total Fat 2.8 g
Total Carb 7.2 g
Protein 19 g