Meatloaf has gotten a bad rep for sure. Every time I make meatloaf I think, am I really making meatloaf? but then I quickly snap out of it because I remember how much I LOVE meatloaf. Especially this healthy meatloaf with HOMEMADE KETCHUP (this is easier than it sounds, trust me!).
Also, I didn’t realize how hard meatloaf was to photograph. Wowzers 😅
What makes this Healthy Meatloaf, healthy?
It’s all in the sourcing baby! Let me explain…
The health of this recipe isn’t really in the ingredient list, as much as it’s in the sourcing of the ingredients.
Because when you look at the list it’s all real food:
- ground beef
- tomato paste
- apple cider vinegar
That’s why ingredient sourcing plays a big role in how healthy you want to make this meal.
Below is a breakdown of good, better, and best for each ingredient. Do the best you can, but don’t break your back over it.
Conventional beef is injected with hormones, antibiotics, and a boatload of other pharmaceuticals; which means when you eat it you too are ingesting said hormones, antibiotics and a boatload of other pharmaceuticals. Conventional cattle is also fed GMO corn which is not a species appropriate diet for cows. This then causes stress and inflammation in their body, meaning you’re ingesting stress hormones and inflammation markers. This, unfortunately, is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the problems with conventionally raised meats.
- Good: Opt for organic & pasture raised at the supermarket.
- Better: Connect with your local farmer. More likely than not, the living conditions will be far superior, they won’t be injected with growth hormones & pharmaceuticals, and they will be fed a species appropriate diet, which means better, more nutritious meat for you.
- Best: Raise your own cattle!
Conventional eggs are about 6 months old by the time you get them from the grocery store. The chickens are fed a vegetarian diet (which is not a species appropriate diet) that’s made up of mostly GMO corn & soy. Their feed is also likely a medicated feed containing antibiotics, synthetic vitamins, and other pharmaceuticals. They get little to no sunlight, are confined in such tight spaces that they can barely move around, and the living conditions are horrible.
- Good: Opt for organic & pasture raised at the supermarket. Unfortunately the labels like “pasture raised”, “free-range”, and “cage free” have so many loopholes that they are virtually meaningless.
- Better: Connect with your local farmer. This way you can see if they are pasture raised, what the living conditions are like, and you can ask about their diet.
- Best: Raise your own chickens!
Onions & Garlic
According to the USDA, conventionally grown produce (aka non-organic) is allowed to be watered with sewage sludge, grown in synthetic fertilizers, and sprayed with toxic chemicals including glyphosate (Round-up).
- Good: Reach for organically grown onions & garlic. Unfortunately, like their conventional counterparts, these are typically picked before ripening and blasted with a gas to make them ripen in time for when they’re put on grocery store shelves.
- Better: Get them from your local farmer.
- Best: Grow them yourself!
According to the USDA, conventionally grown grain (aka non-organic) is allowed to be watered with sewage sludge, grown in synthetic fertilizers, and sprayed with toxic chemicals including glyphosate (Round-up).
- Good: Reach for organic ROLLED oats. These are more processed than steel-cut oats. They have been through a steaming and flattening process.
- Better: Reach for organic STEEL-CUT oats. These oats are the least processed of the oats.
- Best: Reach for sprouted oats or sprout them yourself. This process helps to remove the anti-nutrients and make the oat more digestable and causes less inflammation.
Herbs & Spices
- Good: Regular, non-organic herbs & spices
- Better: organic herbs & spices
- Best: Herbs & Spices from your local farmers market (or your own garden!)
How to Make Healthy Meatloaf
This recipe may look overwhelming at first, but trust me, it’s easy! Here’s a quick run-down…
- In a sauce pan, bring water and dates to a boil, then cover with lid and turn off burner.
- While the dates and water are cooling, sauté the onions and garlic in butter and salt.
- In a large bowl, combine sautéed garlic & onion mixture with the remaining meatloaf ingredients. Put into a loaf pan and bake for 20 minutes at 375.
- While the meatloaf bakes, we’re going to finish making the ketchup… Take your dates and water, put in a blender with remaining ketchup ingredients and BLEND!
- When your meatloaf timer goes off, spread ketchup mixture over meatloaf, then put back in the oven for another 20 minutes.