Calories in Meat Sauce

by Carolyn Robbins

A bowl of spaghetti with meat sauce.

Radu Sebastian/iStock/Getty Images

Steaming hot pasta noodles topped with an herb-infused, tomato-based meat sauce is a favorite meal in many households. Meat sauce can be quite light and healthy if you use lean ground turkey. Beef and sausage sauces, on the other hand, can have a sky-high calorie count.

Gourmet Sauce

If you were to play gourmet and make your meat sauce with rich ingredients such as beef or sausage, the sauce alone would contain 311 calories per 270-gram serving, which is just over 1 cup. A few revisions to the recipe will give you a considerably lighter meal. Swap ground turkey in for beef and use a light hand with the olive oil to make a sauce with under 200 calories per 270-gram serving. Use plenty of herbs and seasonings for a flavorful meal.

Store-Bought Sauce

Meat sauce in jars and cans typically contains very little actual meat and is relatively low-calorie. Meat is an energy-dense, or high-calorie, food, while vegetables and fruits, such as the tomatoes in marinara sauce, contain a lot of water. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Nutrient Database estimates that a 270-gram serving of meat-flavored sauce has around 167 calories.

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About the Author

Carolyn Robbins began writing in 2006. Her work appears on various websites and covers various topics including neuroscience, physiology, nutrition and fitness. Robbins graduated with a bachelor of science degree in biology and theology from Saint Vincent College.