Miami VA Healthcare System
Mozzarella Stuffed Turkey Meatballs
Welcome to another edition of the Healthy Teaching Kitchen, brought to you by the Miami VA Healthcare System’s Nutrition and Food Services. My name is Amy Faulkner, registered dietitian. One of my goals is to teach Veterans to become more connected to their food, by showing them how wholesome foods can be easily prepared and by highlighting some of the nutritious benefits foods provide.
In this recipe, we’ve added a healthy spin on a traditional favorite: spaghetti and meatballs. Cooking a meal that is both delicious and nutritious can be so rewarding! Making healthy substitutions for “not-so-healthy” ingredients in recipes can have a positive impact on your overall health.
Benefits for Your Health
“Mozzarella-Stuffed Turkey Meatballs over Zucchini Noodles”
The turkey in this recipe is a great source of lean protein, which is essential for building new cells, maintaining healthy tissues, and producing enzymes and hormones necessary for growth. Including a protein source at each meal not only helps us feel satiated afterwards, but also ensures our bodies are able to carry out all of these crucial functions.
Phytochemicals act as anti-inflammatory and antioxidant
The word phytochemical means “plant chemical.” Phytochemicals are naturally occurring in plant foods, and while they are not needed to sustain life, they may help prolong life due to their unique health benefits in stimulating the immune system—which can protect from certain cancers, and chronic diseases such as heart disease, osteoporosis and arthritis.
The rainbow of colors you see in a variety of fruits and vegetables all contain different types of phytochemicals:
- For example, the zucchini in this recipe contains immune-boosting, anti-oxidative vitamins:
- vitamin C
- vitamin A
- phytochemical zeaxanthin, which plays a role in maintaining your vision
- Tomato sauce is rich in lycopene, which is known to prevent prostate, stomach and esophageal cancers
Some foods used to flavor recipes can also provide health benefits. For example, garlic does more than make this meal fragrant and tasty.
- Garlic contains a phytochemical called allicin, which is known to fight disease-causing agents in our bodies known as free radicals. Garlic is widely recognized for its ability to help decrease the risk for heart disease, high blood pressure and some cancers.
Nutrition Tidbits Corner
This recipe is intended for anyone following a regular and diabetes diet; however, readers have requested recipe substitutions for special dietary restrictions. Here are solutions if you are following a special diet:
Renal/Dialysis Diet: Substitute the marinara sauce for roasted red pepper sauce to avoid excess potassium
Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian Diet: Substitute ground turkey for a pureed red bean and/or tempeh mixture and bind with breadcrumbs and egg
Gluten-Free Diet: Be sure to read your food label to ensure the marinara sauce used does not contain any gluten
If you have any additional dietary restrictions that may be of nutritional concern when making this recipe, consult your registered dietitian.
|Mozzarella-Stuffed Turkey Meatballs
Yield: 2 servings | Serving Size: 4 meatballs
A. Form and Sear Meatballs
B. Prepare the Sauce
C. Finish the Meatballs
D. Cook the zucchini
E. Plate the Dish
Nutrition Facts (per 4 oz. or ½ cup)
We want to hear from you!
Stay tuned for more healthy recipes. Now that you’ve had a chance to view the video and see this recipe prepared, let us know what you think. Do you have a healthy recipe? Your recipe could be featured in a future Healthy Teaching Kitchen video. To submit your recipes, call 305-575-7000, ext. 3070. Happy cooking!
Note: The Miami VA Healthcare System Healthy Teaching Kitchen recipes are designed for the general population that desires to follow a healthy diet. For recipe modifications due to diet restrictions please contact a Miami VA Registered Dietitian at 305-575-7000, ext. 3070.