You may be thinking, “Why am I reading a blog post about burgers from a girl who doesn’t eat burgers?”
I may not eat the beef variety, but I love turkey burgers, veggies burgers, lentil burgers, basically any burger that is made without the beef.
Adding healthier ingredients to your burger won’t only add nutrients, it will also make your burger more flavorful. Topping a burger with ketchup, mustard and a slice of cheese is just boring.
Let’s start with the meat:
- Go for grass-fed. I will probably get hate mail for saying this in Nebraska, but choose grass-fed beef over corn-fed beef. Grass-fed beef is a leaner choice and the cows are raised without antibiotics or growth hormones. Grass-fed beef ranching is also better for the environment.
- Amp up your turkey. Ground turkey can often end up being dry and flavorless. Add an egg white to your raw ground turkey to make it a juicier. Also add your favorite spices. I love adding oregano and feta cheese to my ground turkey before making burgers. Delish!
- Choose the right veggie burger. If you’re buying packaged veggie burgers, check out the ingredient list. Some veggie burgers taste too fake. Check the ingredient list for real ingredients like black beans, mushrooms, etc. I like Gardenburger and Amy’s.
- Try lentils. I love lentil burgers and they are easy to make. Try this recipe: http://sweet-success.tumblr.com/post/18084994329/lets-eat-vegan-lentil-burgers
- Just grill a big mushroom. Drizzle olive oil on a portabella mushroom and grill over a light to medium flame. I like to use a garlic-infused olive oil and add fresh chopped rosemary to bump up the flavor.
Now for the bun:
- Choose a whole wheat bun. When choosing whole wheat bread products check the ingredient list. The first ingredient should be whole wheat flour. Don’t go for bread that lists, “enriched flour,” “multi grain,” or “unbleached wheat flour.” Those breads still contain refined white flour. Choose buns with the least amount of ingredients.
- Try making your own buns: http://chocolateandcarrots.com/2011/07/whole-wheat-hamburger-buns
- Go bun-less. I often pile the toppings on my burger minus the bun and dig in with a fork. That way I save cals for dessert.
Try these healthy burger toppings:
- Top your burger with tomato slices instead of ketchup. If you can’t go without the red sauce choose ketchup with no high fructose corn syrup. Both Heinz and Hunts have no HFCS varieties.
- Go for avocado instead of mayo. The avocado will add healthier fats and if you mash it up a bit, will give you the creaminess of mayo.
- Load your burger with veggies. Lettuce, red onions, tomato slices - Veggies will give your burger a nice crunch and add nutrients.
- Pick the right cheese. Choose real cheese over American. Read the American cheese package and you’ll find the words “cheese product” somewhere. Go for something more flavorful like cheddar or Swiss. Sargento has new ultra thin slices, which are a good way to cut a few calories while still getting the flavor of a full-fat cheese. Just make sure you don’t go overboard. I like to put feta on my burger.
- Top your burger with non-traditional condiments. Try these: http://www.self.com/fooddiet/blogs/eatlikeme/2012/06/seven-fun-and-healthy-toppings.html