A Healthy Meatloaf Recipe for Picky Eaters


Mealtime in our household, attended by me and my 7-year-old son, Sean, is always a battle.

I’m a health-conscious person who actually likes tempeh and brown rice, but as a mom I try to make kid-friendly dishes like spaghetti and meatballs or casseroles.

Sean is unimpressed with my efforts. He despises anything green, lean, wholesome, local or in season. Given the choice, he would live on Angry Bird Gummies and aerosol whipped topping squirted directly into his mouth.

Isn’t there some Buddhist quote about your best spiritual teachers being the people who drive you the most crazy? I hope it’s true. Because Sean’s food preferences are driving me nutso—thus “teaching” me to be more creative in the kitchen.

A colleague who has a very picky eater at home told me this was the best turkey meatloaf they had ever tasted. Others seemed to agree. When I checked out the comments section of Health.com’s recipe page, I noticed many of our users had devised genius ways to make this already healthy recipe even healthier, adding a few veggies and mixing rolled oats into the breadcrumbs. It’s like crowd-sourcing for picky kids!

I’ve made this healthy turkey meatloaf about five times, each with a different set of sneaky, good-for-you ingredients added. If you have a picky eater in your house, I suggest you try this delicious, veggie-packed, high-fiber meatloaf, which has about 200 calories per serving. Was it a success at my house? Scroll down for a pic of Sean’s clean plate to prove even junk-food junky kids will gobble it up!

Sneaky Meatloaf

Prep time: 5 minutes; Cook time: 66 minutes.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 medium red pepper, minced
  • 1 medium carrot, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper, divided
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup, divided
  • 1 3/4 pounds ground turkey, 97% lean
  • 1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs (you can substitute rolled oats for more fiber)
  • 1/2 rolled oats
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 large egg white, lightly beaten

1. Preheat oven to 375°. Heat oil in medium skillet over medium heat. Add onion, red pepper, and carrot and cook, stirring frequently, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in Worcestershire sauce, broth, and 1 tablespoon ketchup; transfer mixture to a large bowl, and cool.

2. Add turkey, breadcrumbs or oats, egg, egg white, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to mixture in bowl, and mix well. (Mixture will be very moist.)

3. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and coat lightly with cooking spray. Form the turkey mixture into a loaf, and place on the pan. Brush meatloaf evenly with remaining 2 tablespoons ketchup. Bake 1 hour or until thermometer inserted into center registers 170°. Let meatloaf stand 5 minutes before serving.

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