With Americans consuming nearly 50 billion burgers a year, hamburgers are one of America’s favorite foods. In fact, Steve Martin’s french character in the movie The Pink Panther is taught to sound more American by reciting the phrase, “I would like to buy a hamburger.” July 28th has been named Hamburger Day to celebrate this American favorite. Hamburgers are often the go-to meal for cookouts, tailgating, family reunions and of course, for on-the-go.
While homemade burgers can be made with endless combinations of ingredients, allowing you to customize your burger, consumers must be wary of some of the burgers found at restaurants. One extreme example is the Quadruple Bypass Burger served at Heart Attack Grill in Las Vegas, Nevada. The name lets consumers know that it probably is not the best choice, clocking in at close to 8,000 calories. If you are looking for a leaner burger, forgo the burgers with multiple patties and keep it simple with one burger. Keep the fresh tomato and lettuce on top so your burger packs in a little more fiber. Restaurants today are even using different types of meat to make their burgers such as bison or buffalo; moreover, these varieties provide less saturated fat than beef and often pack in fewer calories.
At the supermarket, look for leaner packages of ground meat. The USDA defines lean as having fewer than 10 grams of total fat, less than 4.5 grams of saturated fat and fewer than 95 milligrams of cholesterol per serving. A serving of meat is 3 ounces, about the size of a deck of cards. The package may list 10% fat, or 90/10 as an indication that it is lean. When grilling a leaner burger, it can be more of a challenge to hold it together since it contains less fat. Grill lean meats on medium heat to maintain juiciness. Also, add moisture to your burger after it is cooked by getting creative with healthy toppings or sauces. Add ketchup, mustard, hummus, salsa or guacamole. Other toppings to consider include pickles, vegetable relishes, dark leafy greens like arugula or kale, mushrooms, onions or tomatoes.
Finally, there are endless options for meat-free burgers. The market is full of veggie burgers that are already prepared, or you can get creative and make your own burgers using inexpensive ingredients. Veggie burgers can be made out of black beans, chickpeas, lentils, quinoa, beets, rice, eggplant, mushrooms, potatoes, and endless other options. These burgers will be full of healthy fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals while being free of cholesterol and lower in fat.
To celebrate Hamburger Day, make one of these healthier burgers that will make your friends and family question whether they really are a healthier option!
Simple 5-Ingredient Burgers
- 1 lb. Lean ground beef
- 2 tbsp low-fat mayonnaise
- 2 minced garlic cloves
- 1 tsp chili flakes
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Salt & pepper, to taste
Mix together all ingredients in a bowl. Form into 4 patties using your hands. Grill over medium heat on each side until cooked, about 6 minutes per side.
Baked Black Bean Burgers
- 1 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 tbsp ketchup
- 1 tbsp mustard (yellow, dijon, stone-ground)
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- ⅓ cup instant oats
Preheat oven to 400F. Lightly grease a baking sheet and set aside. Mash the beans in a bowl with a fork until only little pieces of bean are left. Mix in the next four ingredients. Add in the oats last. Form into four patties and place on the baking sheet. Bake the first side for 7 minutes. Flip and bake for another 7 minutes, or until crispy on the outside.