Meatloaf is the ultimate comfort food: Packed with protein, a single loaf makes multiple meals. It’s warm, cozy, and reminiscent of childhood dinners with your family. And since it freezes well, you can serve it up the next night you don’t feel like cooking. Many recipes call for extra veggies, which were traditionally added to stretch meat further. “That means you’ll benefit from the extra fiber and antioxidants and can have a bigger piece than you would if you were eating just meat,” says Christy Brissette, R.D., President of 80 Twenty Nutrition.
However, like most other comfort foods, meatloaf isn’t traditionally considered a health food. Watch out for meatloaf recipes with refined carbohydrates like breadcrumbs made from white bread, along with added sugars, like loads of ketchup and BBQ sauce, Brisette suggests. Those can pack in the calories and negate the nutritional value you’d get from the protein and veggies that make up the rest of the dish.
But never fear, you can still enjoy your retro favorite without messing up your healthy-eating goals. Here, five nutritionists share their favorite healthy meatloaf recipes.
(Learn how bone broth can help you lose weight with Women’s Health’s Bone Broth Diet.)