Sometimes, you just need comfort food. The name encapsulates the essence of these recipes. With this set of healthy tweaks, you’ll be able to enjoy some of your favorite comfort meals even more.

Everyone’s mom or grandma has their own meatloaf recipe, and everyone swears that theirs is the best. That’s the hallmark of a great comfort food. When you get down to it, though, meatloaf is essentially a giant hamburger. And if hamburgers are fattening, you better believe meatloaves are too.

Mashed potatoes are a popular pairing with meatloaf, and mashed potatoes are no fitness saints either! With the cream and butter, you won’t get thin eating a lot of mashed potatoes or meatloaf. Unless, of course, you follow these tips to lighten this classic comfort meal!

Use a Mix of Lean Meats

One of the best kept secrets of meatloaves comes down to the actual meat. Often, you will use strictly ground beef. If you want to enhance the flavor of your meatloaf, mix the beef with another type of meat. It causes a blend of flavors that adds a richness to the loaf.

This also helps you to cut some of the calories! The trick is to use lean meats. When it comes to meatloaf, beef is a must. When making a leaner meatloaf, go with 90% lean beef, which can still provide a good flavor/health balance.

Now, instead of using a whole pound of ground beef, use a leaner meat like turkey. Turkey is fantastic because it packs in a lot flavor without much of the fat that comes with other meats.

Ground chicken has even fewer calories, though not as much flavor. For the truly experimental, you can even try vegetarian options like quinoa or chickpeas! The world is your oyster (please, don’t try oyster meatloaf…).

Swap Mix-ins for Healthier Alternatives

All meatloaf recipes will call for cooks to add other ingredients to the meat mixture to add flavor. That’s your next avenue to cut calories.

Usually, a meatloaf recipe will call for milk, which keeps the meatloaf from getting too dry. You can replicate these benefits while adding extra flavor with beef stock. For comparison, one cup of milk is 125 calories while one cup of beef broth is 17 calories. Quite the drop.

Many recipes use breadcrumbs in the meat mixture as a binding and filling agent. In other words, it beefs up the meatloaf. By swapping out breadcrumbs for panko, you can save over 400 calories per cup. That’s a huge difference!

Skim Off the Calories for Lighter Potatoes

The beauty of mashed potatoes is the simplicity of the ingredients. Most mashed potatoes are potatoes mixed with milk and butter, along with any seasoning you like.

If you’re looking for lighter options for mashed potatoes, you can swap a few things. Instead of milk and butter, skim milk and margarine are easy swaps.

Another switch to make is low-fat sour cream, which can replace either milk or butter or complement both.

Print this Recipe


Healthy Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes Recipe

For Roasted Garlic

  • 1 bulb of garlic
  • 2 tsp of olive oil
  • 2 tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp of pepper

For the Meatloaf

  • ½ pound of 90% lean ground beef
  • ½ pound of 93% lean ground turkey
  • 1 egg
  • 3 cloves of roasted garlic
  • ½ cup of low fat beef broth
  • ½ cup of panko
  • 2 tsp of dried thyme
  • 1 tsp of dried oregano
  • 1 tsp of dried basil
  • ½ of small sweet onion, diced

For the Meatloaf Sauce

  • 1 tbsp of brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup of ketchup
  • 1 tsp of honey

For the Mashed Potatoes

  • 8 medium Russet potatoes, peeled
  • ¼ cup of skim milk
  • ¼ cup of margarine
  • 2 tbsp of low-fat sour cream
  • 6-10 cloves of roasted garlic (to taste)


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Peel the skin off one bulb of garlic. Cut the tip off the bulb, exposing the very tops of the individual cloves.
  3. Place the bulb of garlic on a sheet of aluminum foil and drizzle with olive oil. Salt and pepper, then wrap in tin foil.
  4. Bake for 30-45 minutes, until browned. Remove from oven and set aside.
  5. Mix the ground beef and ground turkey in a large bowl. Add remaining meatloaf mixture ingredients and lightly knead together. In a 9x13 oven-safe pan, form the meatloaf.
  6. Combine meatloaf sauce ingredients in a separate bowl, stirring until mixed. Use half to cover the meatloaf.
  7. Place meatloaf in the oven and bake for 40-55 minutes, until thermometer reads at least 160°. When there are 15 minutes remaining, add the rest of the sauce mixture to bake.
  8. While the meatloaf is in the oven, bring roughly 8 cups of salted water to a boil.
  9. Drop peeled potatoes in boiling water. Bring water to a simmer at low heat and cook potatoes until soft. This should take 15-20 minutes.
  10. Drain water and place large bowl.
  11. Mash potatoes and add in roasted garlic to taste. Mix in warm skim milk, margarine, and sour cream. Salt and pepper to taste. You can add additional milk, margarine, or sour cream to reach your desired texture.
  12. Serve!