One thing is for sure: Burgers and football season just go together! Most women (some men) tend to stay clear of burgers of all kinds fearing the fat and calories they might add to their diet, and this can be true, but does not have to be. 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 and mayonnaise oozing off of it. If they are really trying to persuade you, they might tack on other sizzling goodies too. The answer is yes, if you eat that thing every night a game is on in football season, your waistline might be busting at the seams before you know it!!! However, there can and is a healthy 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 football season:
- Choose the right bun: Everyone knows that the average hamburger bun is not a highlight of health, but more one of enriched, unbleached flour. Boo on that! Choosing a 100% whole wheat bun or bun “thin” is a great way to add B-vitamins and fiber to your burger. Most “thins” version of buns top off at 100 calories, so just enough to satisfy your bread need. However, if you are looking to lean out your burger even more, try using dark green, crunchy, romaine leaves as a bun or grilling portabella mushrooms and surrounding your patty with them. Tasty, healthy and very low in calories, both are a great bun alternative.
- Add some color: Skip the bacon and add some color to that burger! Putting the normal contenders, lettuce and tomato are great options. Try dark green leafy lettuce like romaine or spinach for a nutrient punch. Another option is to grill veggies with the burger patties and tack on some grilled yellow squash, zucchini and even purple onions to add a pop of color and nutrients. Grilling your tomatoes and topping with mushrooms is another way to change up your burger. Adding veggies adds flavor and color for very little calories. You can add a slice of cheese too, just choose 2% cheese and only use one slice.
- 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.
- Go lean: High fat beef can add lots of calories to a burger, but that does not mean you can’t eat beef ladies! Beef is rich in protein, vitamin B-12 and iron so a great pick, just 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! Just choose a lean choice and you’ll get the health benefits of beef. Note that if you have a husband, boyfriend or dad who likes to hunt, bison, buffalo and venison patties are all very lean too.
- 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, whole wheat pita chips and raw veggie slices to dip in hummus or guacamole. Try having fruit kabobs as a dessert or a JELL-O or pudding made with fruit as a healthy dessert. What’s the old saying: “You are the company you keep?” Give your burger some good company!