Yes, There Is Such a Thing as a Healthy Burger and Here's How to Build It
6 easy ways to grill up a good-for-you meal
T hrowing a burger on the grill probably isn’t the first idea that comes to mind when you want a healthy meal. But with a few smart tweaks, you can make it one. So fire up the grill and follow these tips.
1. Blend your beef. Lean beef has less fat, but it dries out easily. To add back some juiciness and lower the calories and fat, mix in a purée of sautéed or roasted mushrooms and onions to replace up to one-third of the meat, says Todd Seyfarth, M.S., R.D., director and chair of the nutrition and dietetics department at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I. Another option: Replace 20 percent of the meat with cooked cracked bulgur wheat. It's like the texture of ground beef and doesn’t impart any dramatic flavors, Seyfarth says. “Making the burgers ahead of time and refrigerating them overnight will make them a little easier to cook,” he says.
2. Upgrade your bun. A 100 percent whole-grain bun adds filling fiber and other nutrients to your meal. But choices with more nutritious carbohydrates can still be oversized. A 3-ounce whole-wheatVirginia Roll from Great Harvest Bread, for instance, has 250 calories and 37 grams of carbs.
“Slice rolls crosswise into three pieces rather than two to make them carb- and calorie-friendlier, if that’s a goal of yours,” says Jackie Newgent, R.D.N., a healthy-cooking instructor at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City. (Save the middle piece for toast.) Or skip the bun and wrap the burger in sturdy leafy greens, such as collards, Newgent says. “You can use them raw—just trim the thick stem and center ribs.”
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