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Meatballs Done Right: 5 Diet-Friendly Recipes

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
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 Fat2 g
Total Carb7 g
Protein15 g

Italian Chicken Meatballs PDF (45.3 KB)

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
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 Fat1.7 g
Total Carb7.2 g
Protein19 g

Spicy Turkey Meatballs PDF (46.8 KB)

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
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 Fat4.3 g
Total Carb7.2 g
Protein19.6 g

Cheesy Chicken Meatballs PDF (41.0 KB)

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
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 Fat11.5 g
Total Carb49 g
Protein23.5 g

Salmon Meatball Wrap PDF (51.4 KB)

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
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 Fat2.8 g
Total Carb7.2 g
Protein19 g

Caesar Chicken Meatballs PDF (39.2 KB))


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About The Author

I’ve been working in the field of exercise science for the last 8 years. I’ve written a number of online and print articles.

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SaraSolomon

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SaraSolomon

Great idea for an article Shannon! Holy Meatballs! :)

May 30, 2013 7:43pm | report
 
JeepNasty

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JeepNasty

nice! Have been looking for something like this. Thanks!

May 31, 2013 1:20am | report
 
Propo

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Propo

Reckon you could do it with mince beef or tuna?

May 31, 2013 1:40am | report
 
  • Body Stats
  • ht: 5'10"
  • wt: 167.42 lbs
  • bf: 10.0%
lynnaspen

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lynnaspen

I'd like to try bison, buffalo or venison. All red meat, but extremely lean.

May 31, 2013 7:41am | report
 
Roxanne1966

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Roxanne1966

Mmmm, sounds good. I love meatballs, but had given them up. I think I may need to try some of these. :)

May 31, 2013 10:34am | report
 
sbrooke

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sbrooke

Great collection of recipes. Have been a fan of turkey meatballs because they are so easy and transport so well. Happy to have some variety now. Thanks for sharing these. Always a fan of your articles.

May 31, 2013 4:40pm | report
 
chiefgreybeard

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chiefgreybeard

Before you actually purchase ground chicken or ground turkey at your local supermarket, READ THE NUTRITION FACTS LABEL ! You may figure out what they do with all of those turkey or chicken skins that they removed from those boneless/skinless chicken and turkey breasts that we all love so well.

Jun 1, 2013 2:42pm | report
 
armen

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armen

I've got to try the cheesy chicken .

Jun 1, 2013 9:56pm | report
 
akkiboy99

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akkiboy99

I just made some with lean beef(the first recipe) came out just awesome! Thank you!

Jun 4, 2013 10:02pm | report
 
ScorpionsLair

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ScorpionsLair

I'm making a batch of these tonight, Thanks!

Jun 23, 2013 3:08pm | report
 
xcheapcityhalox

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xcheapcityhalox

I made the spicy turkey meatballs tonight. They are sooo soo good I'm glad I made a double batch so I can eat on them all week! Thanks for the recipe!

Jun 30, 2013 9:21pm | report
 
piggy268

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piggy268

Loved the Italian Chicken Meatballs. I made a fat free Neapolitan sauce with Wholewheat Spaghetti topped with the said meatballs. Great meal!

Aug 31, 2013 11:22am | report
 
Birdmannan

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Birdmannan

Definitely going to try some of these!!! I'm always eating my meatballs whether it's turkey/chicken/beef. Such a good food for a student!

Oct 30, 2013 3:35am | report
 
ELinnane

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ELinnane

Made the turkey ones added some garam masala, italian herbs, fresh garlic and fennel seeds to one batch to the over i added Fajita spice, italian herbs, fresh garlic i did leave the jalapeno's out as i forgot to buy them but to be honest there was so many flavours going on you don't need them. they are really tasty

Dec 8, 2013 2:17pm | report
 
iRoninLA

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iRoninLA

I tried the Italian Chicken meatballs, only as a meatloaf. Bake it in a loaf pan at 350 degrees for an hour. It was great.

Jun 18, 2014 9:48pm | report
 
Showing 1 - 15 of 15 Comments

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