When you think of a burger, the first word that pops up to your mind may be UNHEALTHY. But it does not have to be that way. What if I tell you that you can have your burger, guilt-free, not worrying about the amount of fat and grease you put into your body?
Yes, burgers can be healthy. In fact, most foods can be healthy, when cooked and consumed the right and ethical way. If you think burgers loaded with layers of cheese and a variety of sauces is the idea of a 'wholesome meal,' you need to restructure your thoughts because a ton load of cheese and processed sauces and dips can inversely affect your health in the long run - resulting in several health issues .
And the way to avoid this is not to give up on these fun layers of food but make it a healthy one. When incorporated into a healthy, varied diet, many ingredients used in the making of a burger such as red meat, cheese, pickles etc. can be a great source of high-quality protein and essential nutrients such as iron, zinc, and vitamin B12 .
Today, we will tell you the different ways in which you can make your burger a healthy one. Take a look.
How To Make Your Burger Healthy?
A burger can be healthy when you choose the bun, toppings, and size of the patty smartly. Let's see how you can do that.
1. Use whole-wheat bun: Instead of the usual burger buns that are made with refined flour, sugar, milk, yeast and butter, choose whole-wheat buns for a healthy twist to your burgers. Whole-wheat buns are loaded with complex carbohydrates, healthy fats (if made with added oil), plant-based protein and small amounts of iron, potassium, and B vitamins thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, and folate, that can help promote digestion, aid weight management and can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes .
2. Pick poultry over red meat: With the support of hundreds of studies and surveys, I can assure you that eating poultry such as chicken, instead of red meats, such as beef, pork and lamb is always the healthy option . It is best to avoid or reduce red meat consumption as they contain more saturated fatty acids and trans fats and can raise your blood cholesterol and worsen underlying cardiovascular conditions . If you still would like red meat in your burgers, go for the lean option.
3. Add grains and seeds: Healthy seeds such as chia, flax, sunflower, pumpkin, sesame etc. are perfect additions for a healthy burger. These not only improve the health quotient of the burger but also adds a crunchy experience and unique flavour .
4. Add some grilled vegetables: Include some onions, peppers, even zucchini, eggplant or pumpkin to your burgers. Adding grilled veggies can add moisture and boost flavour. When you are eating grilled vegetables, you are consuming less fat, and does not have the risk of heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) - chemicals that are formed when meat, including beef, pork is cooked in high temperatures .
5. Add beans: Adding fibre-rich foods such as beans can help bring the fat content in your burger down. That is, by adding boiled beans into your burgers, you can balance out the fat content . You can add mashed beans for better consistency, and they are good for your heart and liver, and also help control your appetite and blood sugar levels .
6. Add avocado: This is something all healthy recipe gurus swear by. Adding avocado to your plain old burger can improve the health status of the burger and also prevent any sort of intestinal inflammation that usually occurs after eating a grease-filled take-out burger . Besides, avocado can be used as a substitute for mayo.
7. Add all the greens: Going green with your food is never a wrong step. Add healthy green vegetables such as spinach or romaine lettuce for not only a health kick but also for some nice crunch while biting into that no-longer unhealthy burger.
8. Go vegan: Skipping all the dairy and meat can never be wrong. Instead of the cheesy, meaty filling and patty, use vegan options such as tofu, edamame, seitan etc. A vegan burger is one that is solely made from vegetables, whole grains, and legumes (like beans or lentils), without any cheese, butter or honey . You can swap the meat with mushroom for a nice, hearty texture and you may not even notice the difference.
9. Skip the butter: If you are not one to go complete vegan, one way is to avoid lathering your buns with butter. By simply skipping the butter, it is easy to save 100 calories in every burger. Once the patty and other ingredients are added, it is highly unlikely that you will notice the butter missing.
10. Keep it simple: When you think burger, the image that pops up in our head is a hundred layers of patty slathered together with several sauces and abundance of cheese. Nutritionists say that it is best to keep a limit and go simple, and not to add cheese, egg, bacon, mushroom, onions, and so on in one go.
11. Skip the fries and sides: What are burgers without a side of fries and crisps? A healthy burger. Yes, that's right, by choosing not to partner the burger with french fries or chips, you are saving your body from the assault of greasy, heavily salted, deep-fried potatoes. For a nutritious complement to your healthy burger, try adding a green salad, fresh fruit, beans or roast vegetables .
12. Watch the sauce: Repeat after me, burgers don't need ketchup. A healthy burger can be easily ruined by high fat, high-calorie condiments such as tomato ketchup, ranch dressings or barbeque sauces. Instead of these processed foods, opt for pesto, plain mustard, salsa, guacamole or homemade hummus.
13. Don't shy away from spices: Adding spices such as oregano, thyme, sage, rosemary, and saffron to your home-made burger (add it to the patties) not only spruces up the flavour but is also beneficial for your health as these dried herbs are packed with antioxidant compounds, like polyphenols .
14. Make your mayo: Yes, mayonnaise is an integral part of any burger, and store-bought mayos are nothing but a step closer to health problems . Why buy mayo from the store when you can make it at home? All you need is one large egg, olive oil, mustard seeds (optional), salt and lemon juice.
15. Keep the portion small: When you're making burgers at home, you are in control of the size of the patty, so be mindful and make sure that it is not as big as your face. One serving size of the protein is about a 4-ounce (113 g when uncooked) patty, or one that is the size of a standard 52-card deck .
16. Skip the cola, go for water: While it may be a tradition that burgers go with fries and drinks, we are breaking it. Instead of sipping on a glass of carbonated-coloured water, go for a glass of cold water or a cup of freshly squeezed fruit juice.
On A Final Note…
While burgers are a fast-food staple usually limited to cheat days, your home-made versions of burgers can be healthy and equally delicious. So, what are you waiting for? Try making that unhealthy burger into a healthy one.