How to Make a Healthier Burger

National Hamburger MonthMay is National Hamburger Month, celebrating a cornerstone of American cuisine. Trouble is, burgers aren’t always a healthy food option, especially the fast food variety – so it helps to know how to make a healthier burger.

Traditional hamburgers (ground beef, a bun and condiments) tend to be high in fat (particularly saturated fats) and cholesterol – but they also pack a solid protein punch and can be low in bad carbohydrates. Tweaking the ingredients can make all the difference.

1. A Leaner Hamburger Patty
Most ground beef is packaged with a label that lists two numbers, representing the lean meat to fat content percentage. For example, ground beef labeled 80/20 is 80% lean meat and 20% fat. The higher the fat percentage (surprise!) the higher the fat content of your burger. Substituting a quarter-pound burger made with 80/20 ground beef for a 90/10 patty makes a big difference:

4oz patty

Calories

Fat

Protein

80/20

290

23

19

90/10

172

8

23

2. Grass Fed Beef vs. Corn Fed Beef
Cows were born to eat grass, not corn and soy. Most cows end up in feedlots where they bulk up on a concentration of corn, grains and soy. Grass-fed cows live their entire lives grazing on grassland, which makes a big difference on the composition of their beef. Grass-fed beef has less overall fat, fewer calories and more omega-3 and good fats than conventional beef.

3. Hamburgers Don’t Need to Be Made of Beef
The Earl of Hamburger
(not a real person) wouldn’t be okay with burgers made of turkey, beans or veggie patties, but your body is! Look for other burger building blocks to put between two buns and get creative with combinations and toppings. A grilled portobello mushroom burger with Dijon and basil sauce? A grilled chicken burger with pico de gallo and avocado? Be a burger artist!4. Build a Better Bun
Carb-conscious eaters and those looking for more fiber in their diet should go the whole wheat or thin-bun route when choosing what to hug your patty. Make sure the wheat buns you’re choosing are actually whole wheat and not baked with caramel color. Or skip the bun entirely!

5. Load up on Healthy Toppings
Traditionalists only need ketchup, mustard and relish on their burgers—but hamburger visionaries know the more toppings, the better. Load up on healthy and delicious things like grilled mushrooms, onions, tomato, avocado, peppers, lettuce, salsa, horseradish, wasabi, garlic and anything else from the garden.

Looking for some additional inspiration? Try these healthy burger recipes from our Pinterest page or suggest your own recipe in the comments below!

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