Meatballs are an easy way to add flavor and protein to a meal, and frozen meatball options make home cooking easy and hassle-free. Read on for better-for-you picks that are lower in sodium, saturated fat and carbs than many standard beef meatballs, as well as options you should avoid.
These “love it” options are made with lean animal protein or plant protein and contain negligible amounts of saturated fat and are moderate in sodium and carbs.
Beetnik Organic Chicken Meatballs | $8.98 at Walmart (gluten-free)
- Ingredients include: Organic chicken, water, organic gluten-free bread crumbs, sea salt, organic plum juice concentrate, seasonings
- Nutrition facts per serving: 4 meatballs (5 servings per container), 100 calories, 0.5 grams saturated fat, 220 milligrams sodium, 5 grams carbs, 0 grams fiber, 0 grams sugar, 15 grams protein
Gardein Classic Meatless Meatballs | $4.79 at Walmart (vegan, dairy-free)
- Ingredients include: Textured vegetable protein (soy protein concentrate), canola oil, vital wheat gluten, soy protein isolate, white flour, methylcellulose, spices, organic cane sugar, organic distilled vinegar, natural flavors, salt, cane sugar, pea protein
- Nutrition facts per serving: 3 meatballs (4 servings per container), 150 calories, 0.5 grams saturated fat, 380 milligrams sodium, 9 grams carbs, 3 grams fiber, less than 1 gram added sugar, 14 grams protein
These picks are made from lean meat but are still high in sodium.
Colameco’s Fully Cooked Gluten Free Italian Style Meatballs | $7.99 at Whole Foods
- Ingredients include: turkey, water, rice flour, Romano cheese, seasonings
- Nutrition facts per serving: 3 meatballs (4.5 servings per container), 150 calories, 2.5 grams saturated fat, 520 milligrams sodium, 5 grams carbs, 0 grams sugars, 15 grams protein
Nature’s Rancher Fully Cooked Turkey Meatballs | $6.99 per bag at Whole Foods
- Ingredients include: turkey, water, seasoning, bread crumbs, white flour, spices, brown sugar, Romano cheese, textured soy flour, ricotta cheese and natural flavor
- Nutrition facts per serving: 3 meatballs or 85 grams (7 servings per container) 140 calories, 2.5 grams saturated fat, 560 milligrams sodium, 4 grams carbs, 1 gram fiber, 1 gram sugar, 12 grams protein
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Higher in sodium and saturated fat, these options contain trans fat, have unnecessary ingredients (caramel coloring) and are lower in protein than the other “Love it” and “Like it” products.
Nature’s Rancher Fully Cooked Angus Beef Meatballs | $6.99 at Whole Foods
- Ingredients include: beef, water, seasonings, brown sugar, caramel color, natural flavor, Romano cheese, textured soy flour, and ricotta cheese
- Nutrition facts per serving: (3 meatballs per serving; 85 grams and about 7 servings per bag) 220 calories, 17 grams fat, 8 grams saturated fat, 1 gram trans fat, 4 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 1 gram sugar, 11 grams protein
Editor’s note: Registered dietitian Molly Kimball offers brand-name products as a consumer guide; she does not solicit product samples nor is she paid to recommend items. A version of this article originally appeared on WGNO’s “Get the Skinny” segment.