The burger has always been one of the poster foods of unhealthy eating. Most people trying to keep a healthy diet would want to avoid having burgers in their menu and with good reason. High amounts of trans fats, calories, and additives make the usual burgers common culprits when it comes to increasing the risk of heart diseases and obesity. If you’re aware of this, you’d probably be thinking that there’s no way a burger would ever be considered even remotely healthy.
Or could it?
The idea of a healthy burger is a win-win situation: you get to eat something that’s good for your body while also getting to enjoy a juicy, meaty dish that burger-lovers have always loved. You’d probably be hard-pressed to find a healthy burger at your nearest fast food outlet or restaurant but that doesn’t mean you can’t make your own healthy burger.
The Basics of a Healthy Burger
In order to make a healthy burger, you have to understand what makes a burger bad in the first place. Here are the biggest reasons why people who want to stay healthy don’t want burgers in their diet plans:
- Additives – The usual burgers have additives such as sodium phosphate to keep them edible after being stored for a long time in the freezer. Sure, these chemicals are approved by the FDA, but they’re still chemicals a healthy meal could do without.
- Calories – You’d be surprised that burgers sold at fast food joints can contain as much as 1,000 calories per serving. It’s too much calories for just one snack, considering that burgers are usually served with soda and fries (which are also high in calories).
- Fat – Trans fat increases the risk of heart disease, and you can find a lot of it in your typical fast food burger. Burgers, being a meat-based dish, are also naturally packed with saturated fat, which could also be bad if taken in excess – an easy thing to miss if you eat burgers on a regular basis.
- Sodium – Burgers served at a dine-in fast food chain contain high amounts of sodium, way more than the daily recommended amount of sodium intake. Too much sodium can damage your heart and kidneys, causing problems such as high blood pressure and stroke.
Basically, a healthy burger has minimal amounts of the bad stuff while still having the taste, juiciness, and texture of a proper burger. A healthy burger recipe will require some research on using healthier alternatives to otherwise unhealthy ingredients, but we’ve come up with a quick list of things to help you get started.
- The bun used for your hamburgers are just as important as the meat. Consider replacing regular burger buns with fiber-rich wheat bread to cut down on the calories.
- Don’t hesitate to slim down your burger patties. You’re probably used to having large burger patties, but that’s actually the main reason why fast food burgers are excessive in the first place. Thinner patties mean fewer calories and fat per serving.
- Use ground lean meat when making your burger patties. Lean meat contains lower amounts of calories, trans fat, and saturated fat. A 3 oz burger patty made using lean ground meat can have as little as 140 calories per serving and 2 grams of saturated fat.
- Use healthy toppings. While most people prefer ketchup and mustard, you should try using healthier alternatives such as guacamole, pepper, and onions. These ingredients still taste good without having as much sodium and calories as your typical burger condiments.
While the usual burger won’t be hitting the top of everybody’s health food charts, making your own healthy burger recipe should be more than enough to add some juicy, meaty goodness into your personal diet.
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