5 Ways to Build a Build a Better Burger this Labor Day

One thing is for sure: Burgers and long weekends just go together! Many people falsely believe they need to stay clear of burgers of all kinds fearing the fat and calories. When we think of the average burger, we picture what we see on TV, which is a single, maybe double patty with bacon, melting cheese, bacon, creamy sauces, and mayonnaise oozing off of it. If they are really trying to persuade you, they might even add on fried potato strings!

The answer is yes, if you eat that thing every weekend in football season, your waistline might be busting at the seams before you know it!!! However, there can and is a better-for-you twist to everything. Hamburgers and cheeseburgers alike can be a nutrient-rich experience replicating your normal boring grilled chicken, sweet potato, broccoli meal. Really you might be asking?  Yes and Yes! Check out 5 ways to build a better burger this cookout season:

  1. Choose the right bun: Everyone knows that the average hamburger bun is not a highlight of health, but more one of enriched, unbleached flour. Choosing a 100% whole wheat bun or bun “thin” is a great way to add B-vitamins and fiber to your burger. Dave’s Killer Bread even makes a bun with 21 grains and seeds! Most “thins” version of buns top off at 100 calories, so that can work too. However, if you are looking to lean out your burger, try using dark green, crunchy, romaine leaves as a bun or grilling portobello mushrooms and surrounding your patty with them. Tasty, healthy, and very low in calories, both are a great bun alternative.
  2. Add some color: Skip the bacon and add some color to that burger! September is actually National Fruit and Veggies Month, making it a great time to amp up the veggie power of your burger. Putting the normal contenders, lettuce and tomato are great options. But try dark green leafy lettuce like romaine or spinach for a nutrient punch.  Another option is to grill veggies with the burger patties and layer on some grilled yellow squash, zucchini, and even purple onions to add a pop of color and nutrients. Grilling You can add a slice of cheese too, just choose 2% cheese and only use one slice.
  3. Be a selective spreader: Mayonnaise and other creamy spreads can get a sister in trouble fast with fat calories so be a selective spreader! Spreads like fresh guacamole and hummus can be great additions to add healthy fat to a burger of any kind. Mustard is also a fine choice as it is calorie-free.
  4. Go lean: Beef is rich in high-quality protein, vitamin B-12, iron and more nutrients, so a great pick is to choose lean ground beef like 90/10 or even 93/7 for your burger. Turkey, chicken, black bean, and veggie burgers are all good options too, but don’t be afraid of beef! (This dietitian is going for the real thing!)
  5. Surround it with healthy friends: No burger surrounded with chips, queso, potato salad, and cookies looks like a beacon of health, so do yourself a favor and surround your burger with healthy friends. Sure, your company might want chips so, have them out, but fill the table with a fresh green salad, a bowl of berries, sweet potato fries, and raw veggie slices to dip in hummus or guacamole.  Try having fruit kabobs as a dessert or a Medjool dates stuffed with peanut butter What’s the old saying: “You are the company you keep?”  Give your burger some good company!