Cincinnati Children's Blog

Healthier Kid-Friendly Recipe: Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs

Healthier Kid-Friendly Recipe: Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs

Make this easy meatball recipe to go with whole wheat pasta and a canned or jarred low-sugar marinara sauce.  Some popular sauces with less than six grams of sugar are Barilla fire roasted marinara; Ragu Simply traditional pasta sauce; Prego no sugar added Italian sauce. Read labels to find healthy choices.

Makes 6 servings:  2 meatballs per serving


  • 1 pound lean ground turkey (at least 85% lean)
  • 3 slices of whole wheat bread, soaked in water and drained (you can squeeze out the excess water with your hands)
  • 1 egg (or ¼ cup of egg substitute)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon powdered oregano
  • 1 tablespoon powdered thyme
  • 1/3 cup dry parsley
  • ½ cup finely grated reduced fat parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 400°
  2. Mix bread into ground turkey, add beaten egg (or egg substitute). Mix well.
  3. Add spices: garlic, oregano and thyme. Mix well.
  4. Add parsley; mix.
  5. Add parmesan cheese. Mix and shape into 2” meatballs (a little bigger than a ping pong ball).
  6. Place meatballs on a broiler pan or baking sheet coated with cooking spray.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes or until cooked through. Turn half way through to ensure even cooking.

Cook’s Tips

  • Ask the kids to help! They’ll love using their hands to mix up the meatballs – just make sure they wash their hands before and after mixing.
  • Parmesan cheese in the container with a green lid works best. If you have trouble locating the reduced fat parmesan cheese – ask a store clerk for help or ask the store manager to order it.
  • These meatballs freeze well! You can double or tripe the recipe to have them for future meals. Serve one pound of meatballs. After cooling, place extra meatballs into a tightly-sealed plastic bag and freeze for quick dinners on nights when you’re too busy to cook. To reheat meatballs, bake in oven (350°F) for 25-30 minutes if frozen or 20-25 minutes if thawed; or microwave uncovered in batches of 8-10 meatballs on high for 2-3 minutes if frozen or 1½ or 2½ minutes if thawed.

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