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Healthy home entertaining

Make mealtime memorable with lean, nutritious flavorful lamb

Family Features | 9/6/2013, midnight
Sweet & Sour Lamb Meatballs.

When hosting your next get together, share a great meal that offers a variety of foods that are both delicious and good for you.

Nutrition is often overlooked when planning menus, even though a recent United States survey showed 81 percent of grocery shoppers report putting at least “some” or “a lot” of effort into better eating.

According to Janice Bissex, registered dietitian, one way to have enjoyable healthy meals is increasing variety at the table by including unique foods, such as lean lamb.

“When it comes to healthy entertaining, it’s important to serve a diverse array of foods, and flavorful, tender lamb is a nutrient-rich protein source that’s as easy to prepare as other meats,” said Bissex.

Here are a few reasons why lamb is the perfect protein to add to the menu:

  • Lean. On average, a 3-ounce serving of lean lamb has only 170 calories. Lean cuts include the leg, loin and rack.
  • Omega-3s. Lamb can contribute to your daily intake of the essential omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic (ALA). A 3-ounce serving of lean lamb provides about the same amount of omega-3s found in a 1 tablespoon serving of olive oil.
  • Nutrient Rich. Lamb is naturally nutrient rich, and on average, is an excellent source of protein, vitamin B12, niacin, zinc, selenium, and a good source of iron and riboflavin.

For more tips and tasty lamb recipes for healthy home entertaining, visit www.leanonlamb.com and www.pinterest.com/leanonlamb.

Sweet & Sour Lamb Meatballs

Yield: 8 appetizer servings (4 meatballs per serving)

Recipe provided by Janice Bissex, registered dietitian

  • 1 pound lean ground leg of lamb
  • 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 medium red bell pepper, finely diced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 3 scallions, white part only, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3 scallions, green part only, sliced into thin rings
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line large baking sheet with foil, lightly oil or coat with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

Combine lamb, panko, bell pepper, egg, scallion whites, soy sauce, ginger and pepper in large bowl and mix until ingredients are just combined. Shape meat mixture into 32 balls. Place on prepared baking sheet and cook until lightly browned, about 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk the hoisin sauce, honey, vinegar and ginger together in large bowl until well combined.

When meatballs come out of oven, add them to bowl and toss gently to combine. Place meatballs on serving platter with toothpicks and sprinkle with scallion greens and sesame seeds.

Note: Serve meatball appetizers with small cubes of fresh pineapple. Meatballs can also be served over whole wheat egg noodles with a side of sautéed vegetables, such as red bell pepper, snow peas and cauliflower. Nutrition information per serving: 180 calories, 10g fat (4 g saturated fat), 16g protein, 7g carbohydrate, 1g dietary fiber, 270mg sodium, 20 percent vitamin C.