Recipe: Lean Meatballs (GF/High-Protein)

Easy to make meatballs.

These easy to make, oven-baked meatballs are high-protein, juicy and gluten-free. Made with very lean ground pork and turkey, you’ll be able to taste the difference.

Don’t settle for those frozen meatballs when you can make your own in less than 30 minutes. They’re so easy to prepare that even the kids can get involved, turning cooking time into family time.

You can add some extra spice and serve with marinara sauce for a delicious appetizer, lunch or dinner. Make a big batch and enjoy them hot or cold.

So, next time you have last minute company, don’t worry, because these meatballs will make your guests think a professional chef lives in the house.


1 lb. extra lean ground pork (95% fat free)

1 lb. ground turkey

1 egg, beaten

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 TBSP chopped fresh parsley

1 TBSP dried oregano

1 TBSP salt

1 tsp pepper

½ tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

1 ½ cups prepared marinara sauce


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray lightly with nonstick pan spray.
  2. Put meats, egg, garlic, parsley, oregano, salt and pepper into a large bowl. Combine with hands to mix well.
  3. Form mixture into about 24 meatballs (about the size of a ping-pong ball) and place on prepared baking sheet. Bake 20-22 minutes until cooked through.
  4. Serve with ¼ cup marinara sauce.

Makes about 24 meatballs/6 servings (1 serving = 4 meatballs)

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Recipe: Sweet Potato Toast With Avocado

Replace bread with sweet potatoes.

Try this low-carb, high-fiber and gluten-free recipe prepared with sweet potatoes and avocado.

Want a quick breakfast or a healthy appetizer for this busy time of year? Try this low-carb, high-fiber and gluten-free recipe prepared with sweet potatoes and avocado. Replace bread with sweet potatoes, and in less than 30 minutes you’ll have a dish that’ll please everybody.


  1. Peel (or not) and slice sweet potatoes into pieces (like toast) about ¼ inch thick. Brush lightly with a little olive oil.
  2. Pop into the toaster – it may take two or more rounds on high to cook through. Be patient – it might take as long as 15 minutes; you want the potato to be cooked and slightly browned.
  3. Add ¼ of an avocado, and salt and pepper to taste.


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Gluten-free: Going Against the Grain

Gluten-free diet alternatives

In recent years, gluten has become the new dietary no-no. As during the fat-free and low-carb crazes of the past, consumers are now clamoring for gluten-free products like never before.

Before jumping on the gluten-free bandwagon, though, a bit of background is in order.

Gluten is a protein found primarily in whole-grain wheat, rye and barley.

When you eat whole grain bread or barley soup, gluten provides the body with protein to build and repair muscle tissue or to manufacture other body proteins like hormones and enzymes. Gluten protein provides structure to baked goods, and can be isolated from grains and formed into a vegetarian meat substitute known as seitan.

Many people feel that they can’t handle gluten because they feel bloated or gassy when they eat grains, and because they feel less bloated when they stop eating gluten-rich foods. And they note that they often lose weight when they cut out the gluten, which could be reason for the sudden enthusiasm for gluten-free foods.

Because gluten lurks not only in grain foods, but is also used as a stabilizer and thickener in lots of processed foods like salad dressings, frozen yogurt, and processed cold cuts, it could be that people feel better after they go gluten-free, whether they’re intolerant or not. After all, they’re cutting out fast foods and processed foods and possibly replacing starchy foods with healthy fruits and veggies, which would promote weight loss.

Some people truly have gluten intolerance and do have to follow a strict gluten-free diet, but the numbers are relatively small. It’s been estimated that only about one percent of the population has the most severe form, known as celiac disease.

Those who are truly intolerant to gluten have to spend lots of time reading labels.

They must avoid wheat, rye, and barley, as well as wheat “cousins” kamut and spelt. And products made from these grains, such as bulgur, couscous, wheat germ, semolina, durum, and bran, are forbidden, too. Gluten might also be disguised on a label as vegetable protein, modified food starch or malt flavoring, and it’s sometimes found in soy sauce and grain-based alcohol.

True gluten intolerance is relatively rare, but one argument for going gluten-free is that it’s a way to improve the diet, especially if refined grains have been the source of most of the gluten. Replacing starch-heavy pastas, cakes, cookies, white bread, and pretzels with gluten-free whole grains like quinoa or millet is good advice for everyone.

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Diet Advice that You Should Probably Ignore

Dieting Advice You Should Ignore

Is a restrictive diet right for you?

There are many popular beliefs about the best way to lose weight, but some diet advice may not help you – and should probably be ignored.

Where do you get your diet advice? As much as I’d like to believe that most people seek out diet advice from a dietitian or other health professional, I know that’s probably not the case. There is an endless amount of diet advice in the media (some of it reliable, some not so much) and, if you know someone who has successfully lost weight, I think it’s natural that you’d want to know how they did it.

Related Article: Calories: What They Are and Why You Need Them

Now, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t seek out diet advice – far from it. Being inquisitive is a good thing – as you seek out information from a variety of sources, it may help you find the best route to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.

What can happen, though, is that you hear the same advice so often, you come to believe that it’s true. But just because you hear a certain diet tip over and over again, doesn’t necessarily mean you should follow it.

Five Popular Diet Tips You Should Probably Ignore

  • Stop eating after 7 PM (or 8, or 9….). I have had endless discussions with patients who insist that their weight problem is due to the fact that they “eat late and then I just sit around, so I don’t burn off those calories”. And, of course, when they do stop eating after their designated cutoff time, they do lose weight. But the reason has nothing to do with the fact that they are taking in their calories earlier in the day. If you eat more calories than you need – no matter what time it is – you’re going to store them as body fat. The reason people lose weight when they stop eating after 7 PM (or 8 or 9…) is because they have kicked the evening snacking habit – which might have accounted for hundreds of extra calories.
  • Don’t snack. Another piece of advice that should probably be ignored is the idea that snacking is a bad thing. Nutritious, well-balanced snacks can help you meet your daily nutritional needs, and can also help you manage your hunger and control your portions at mealtimes. Note that I said, “Nutritious, well-balanced snacks”. One reason snacking has such a bad reputation is because people associate “snacking” with “snack foods” – greasy snack chips, candy, cakes, sodas. But a balanced snack of protein and carbohydrate – some yogurt and fruit, a few slices of turkey on some whole grain crackers, a few tablespoons of hummus and raw veggies – is, in my view, a healthy habit.
  • Calories are calories. This bit of advice suggests that as long as you don’t exceed your calorie limit for the day, it doesn’t matter all that much what you eat. Of course it does. The quality of your diet is vitally important, which is one reason why I’ve suggested that you think of your calories as money – and aim to spend those calories as wisely as you can. Yes, you could probably lose weight eating a diet heavy on junk food, as long as you eat fewer calories than you need. But, your nutritional needs would likely go unmet and your health could suffer as a result.
  • Fat makes you fat. While it’s true that fat has more calories per gram than protein or carbohydrate, too many calories, from any source, will put weight on you. Some people make the mistake of cutting high fat foods like cookies or ice cream from their diet and replacing them with fat-free versions of the same foods. But many of these fat-free treats have more sugar, so they save you few – if any – calories. So, yes, too much fat can make you fat – but so can too much sugar.
  • Just go low carb/vegetarian/vegan/raw/gluten free. A highly restrictive diet – especially one that is a dramatic shift from the way you usually eat – may lead to temporary weight loss. But if the plan is unbalanced, or if it’s a plan you can’t sustain, then what’s the point? Very low carbohydrate diets may not provide enough carbohydrate to fuel your active lifestyle, and vegetarian and vegan diets – while they might sound healthy, can still be very high in fat, sugar and calories. And don’t assume that going gluten-free is a sure path to weight loss. With so many gluten-free breads, crackers, cereals and pastas (not to mention gluten-free cakes, cookies and other treats), staying away from gluten may be easy, but staying away from excess calories might be a lot harder to do.

Susan Bowerman is Director of Nutrition Training at Herbalife. Susan is a Registered Dietitian and a Board-Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics.


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