Meatballs to the (Protein) Rescue!


Protein is the bane of my existence this week.

Like many of you out there, I’m using the new year to reset on some health goals. I take a wholistic approach to health, focusing on non-scale victories and what I like to call “true health” markers. With Paleo as my road map, I’ve turned my attention back to the basics: gut health, reduced inflammation, and blood sugar stabilization.

The big three with Paleo: gut health, inflammation, blood sugar.

Gut health? No problem.

Thanks to Paleo diet principles, legumes, grains, and refined sugars are already out. So now I’m paying attention to the kind of carbohydrates I’m eating, consuming more fiber (and water, cause hello!), and am armed with all the apple cider vinegar, kombucha, and sauerkraut. A happy gut is in my near future.

Inflammation? Dry January it is!

In addition to giving up all booze this month (and likely next month too), I know that reducing inflammation is gonna take a multi-faceted approach. We’re talking gentle exercise like walking, yoga, barre, and spinning away on my beloved Peloton. I also ordered an infrared sauna blanket. (Technically I apparently pre-ordered it, but it wasn’t clear at all so I’m still waiting to get the darn thing.) While I wait for the blanket to arrive so I can get my red-light, heat therapy on, I’m falling back on hot-as-I-can-stand-it baths.

*Edit: My sauna blanket arrived and… it’s everything I hoped it would be. Seriously, if red light therapy / sauna stuff is up your alley too, then look into one of these things. They’re really cool. If you have Amazon Prime, you can find a good deal on the one I have via this link.

Blood sugar? Still rocking the Lumen.

This thing is a godsend and my nemesis. I finally got into the habit of using it regularly (ya know… like you’re supposed to when tracking blood sugar fluctuations 🤦🏻‍♀️ ) and while I’m doing great on staying in my target range on carbs and fat for the most part, it has been shockingly difficult to hit my protein targets!

Anyone out there having a hard time hitting protein goals too?

On the off chance you’re having as hard of a time hitting protein intake goals, I wanted to write a post so I could share the two things that have finally got me to where I want to be.

The first win is finding Bone Broth Protein Powder by Paleovalley. I am genuinely surprised that it’s actually flavorless (as promised) and it doesn’t change the texture of foods that I’ve mixed it into. Full disclosure, I really expected it to be… gelatin-like? It isn’t. I can mix it into marinara sauce, eggs, green drinks, smoothies…. whatever! I’m pretty stoked to have found this product.

It’s flavorless, easily melts into just about anything, and adds a huge boost of protein to any meal.
If you want to try it, Paleovalley has it for 15% off right now >> Bone Broth Protein

And the second win?

Meatballs. Yes, meatballs.

Turns out, they go with everything!

Breakfast? Yep. Chop them up and add it to scrambles, omelettes, or mixed with leftover roasted veggies and top with a fried egg.

Lunch? Duh. Salads, of course, but I’ve been channeling my inner toddler and rocking the snack plate lately. Veggies, berries (to keep my carb goals on track), olives, avocado slices, hard-boiled eggs, and… meatballs. Done!

Snack? Meatballs + Sauce = ❤️ When did Paleo sauces get so good? Lemme tell you, back in the old days (yes, I’m going there) they were terrrrrible. And we had to make everything from scratch! Somehow now even store-bought sugar-free ketchup and BBQ sauces are great. Kills me. In a good way. I’m not mad at the years spent staring down “ranch” made from coconut milk or anything…

Dinner? Absolutely. In fact, you can find my latest recipe for Protein-Packed Meatballs >> here. They’re a combo of beef and pork and tasted great tossed in Primal Kitchen Steak Sauce!

Protein-Packed Meatballs by The Colacino Kitchen

But wait! There’s more:

So in the celebration of the two things that have made it possible for me to finally consume a proper amount of protein on a given day, I thought I’d do an old school recipe round up.

Here are 12 meatball recipes that are grain-free, dairy-free (Paleo) and Whole30 compliant where indicated.

Gluten-Free Meatballs | The Colacino Kitchen (c) 2021

Gluten-Free Meatballs in Quick Tomato Sauce by The Colacino Kitchen

Easy Skillet Swedish Meatballs by The Defined Dish

Fried Chicken Meatballs by Mel Joulwan (Also found on page 163 of Well Fed Weeknights for those of you who have the cookbook!) *Whole30

Pork & Basil Meatballs in Creamy Thai Green Curry Sauce
Published with permission from Meatified

Pork & Basil Meatballs in Creamy Thai Green Curry Sauce by Meatified

Whole30 Sweet & Sour Meatballs by FoodFaithFitness

Buffalo Chicken Meatballs by Real Simple Good

Honey Chipotle Meatballs
Published with permission by

Honey Chipotle Meatballs by Steph Gaudreau

Cilantro Chicken Meatballs by Cook & Savor

Pot Sticker Meatballs by Colacino Kitchen

Bulgogi Meatballs in The Frugal Paleo Cookbook by Ciarra Colacino
Bulgogi Meatballs

Bulgogi Meatballs via Zenbelly (from The Frugal Paleo Cookbook)

“Go-To” Meatballs in Classic Grape Jelly Sauce by Predominantly Paleo

Protein-Packed Meatballs by The Colacino Kitchen

Have any favorite meatball recipes in the Paleo / Whole30 realm? I’d love to add more to my list!

Drop a link to some of your go-to meatball recipes in the comments below. Thanks in advance!


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