The hamburger is probably one of the most iconic foods of American barbecues as well as one of the most widely consumed. From fast food chains and high-end restaurants to backyard barbecues, it’s always really easy to find a burger. However, they can often be unhealthy due to oversized portions, unhealthy toppings, and generous buns. For burger lovers interested in making theirs a bit healthier, we offer the following tips and recipes.
Ways to Make Your Burger Healthier
- Portion properly. Aim for burgers that are 3 ounces in size when cooked. That equates to ½ cup raw. As your burger cooks it will lose some of its size as the fat heats off. 3 ounces is the proper serving size of meat.
- Check your beef. The leaner the beef, the better it is for you. Look for ground beef that is at least 80/20, but the healthiest option is 95/5. Grass-fed beef is another lean option.
- Try a new protein. Ground turkey, chicken or bison; beans, chickpeas, quinoa, fish, and tofu all make delicious burgers. If you’re not daring enough for an option that isn’t beef, you can also minimize the amount of ground beef used by mixing it with one of the aforementioned proteins (with the exception of fish).
- Go veggie. Similarly, you can reduce the amount of beef used by mixing it with a vegetable. Finely chopped mushrooms and zucchini work really well since their flavors aren’t too strong. Mushrooms especially are not noticeable because they take on some of the color of the beef as it cooks. If you’re really brave, use a portobello mushroom in place of a beef patty.
- Ditch the bun. Many of the calories in burgers come from the bun. An average bun has about 200 calories! Try wrapping your burger in Bibb or butter lettuce (you’ll have to let it cool a bit prior to picking it up). You could also avoid the bun altogether and eat your burger with a knife and fork.
- Opt for whole grain buns. If you’re unwilling to ditch the bun, try a whole grain version. Other healthier options include: English muffins, slider rolls or potato rolls (these options are generally lower in calories).
Healthy Burger Recipes
If you’re looking for even more healthy burger ideas, let these recipes inspire you:
Sesame Seed-Crusted Salmon Burger with Yogurt Sauce – This delicious burger is high in healthy fats like monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and Omega-3 fatty acids, while being low in saturated fat.
Tasty Turkey Burgers – The name of this burger serves this recipe well; you’ll never know it isn’t made from beef.
Black Bean Burgers – You’ll love the flavor of this recipe if you’re a fan of black bean and cilantro.
Chickpea Burgers and Tahini Sauce – The inclusion of chickpeas helps these burgers pack a nutritional punch. They’re high in protein, fiber, iron, folate and Vitamin C.
Tofu Burgers – If you’re interested in trying tofu, you may want to check out this recipe. You’ll get good texture and flavor from the inclusion of rice as well as more of a burger feel than with tofu alone.
Portobello Burgers – This choice is low in calories and high in flavor. You’ll be pleased with the “meatiness” of this veggie burger.
For Health Advocate Members
If you’re a Health Advocate member with access to the Wellness Coaching program, connect with a Wellness Coach today for more recipe ideas and healthy eating tips.