When you try to lose weight and count every tiny calorie, eating a burger seems like an impossible dream. And so comes the frustration of limiting your cravings and only eating salads and quinoa.
What if I were to tell you that choosing a well-diversified diet plan, nutritious and tasty, represents the long run to a healthy, supple body?
With that thought in mind, do not deprive your pleasures if burgers are some of your favorite dishes. Once you get frustrated, the chances to quit the diet are high. Instead, you can make your own hamburger healthier by following some easy tips.
Today, you will learn how you can still eat hamburgers and lose weight, plus some secrets to make a lighter burger.
What Types Of Burgers To Avoid?
If you take care of your diet, you should try to avoid all those burgers loaded with lots of sauces and layers of cheese in between.
Furthermore, when you see those fluffy, giant buns, it means that a burger is not exactly the ideal model for a nutritious meal. Mainly if you serve prepared by a fast-food chain (1).
Healthy Burgers Are Real
However, burgers don’t have to be erased entirely from your diet, as long as you will try to eat them right.
In fact, as soon as you will add them to a varied diet, with lots of vegetables next to them, and search for good-quality red meat, you will enjoy a powerful protein source.
Beef meat also has many essential nutrients, such as zinc, vitamin B12, and iron (2). If you prefer chicken or turkey, these meats are also full of high-digestible proteins, copper, zinc, B vitamins, and so on (3).
So, where is the mistake? How can burgers add more weight? Well, it’s all in the:
- Fluffy bun
- Toppings (which usually are full of sugar and saturated fats)
- The size of the burger (as larger the burger is, the more calories you eat)
While the burgers coming from fast-food chains are full of fat, and you need to limit them to cheat days, the home-made versions are delicious and healthy.
Up The Health Benefits Of Burgers
Making your favorite burgers healthier is easy. The only trick is given by the toppings you choose. You can increase the health benefits by adding fresh vegetables, such as lettuce or onions. You can also look for some plant-based burgers, which are currently very popular.
The vegetarian burgers are made of vegetables and seeds, so they basically reduce the level of cholesterol, calories, and saturated fats.
Even some of the famous fast-foods have introduced these veggie options, such as Subway, Del Taco, or White Castle. Along with the traditional burgers, even Beyond Meat and The Impossible Burgers have plant-based protein sources in their vegetarian menu.
Here is how you can create some vegetarian burgers on your own.
Healthy Burgers To Help Losing Weight
A healthy diet does not mean eliminating burgers for good. Instead, you can learn some hacks in making healthy burgers. And you can start doing so right now.
Here are my favorite tips I want to share with burger lovers:
1. Trim the fat, and still keep the burger all juicy
One of the best ways to eat fewer calories from your burger is by trimming the fat (4) that usually stands in the ground beef, chicken, or turkey.
This way, you will reduce the saturated fat content, some of the main enemies in diets. According to the USDA, we refer to “lean” to that food that contains less than 10 grams of fat. While “extra lean” means less than five grams of fat.
When you are shopping for meat, look for lean meat, which has less than 10% fat.
Tip: When the meat is very lean, it’s crystal clear that calories are fewer, as well as the fat. However, the burger might be a bit dry after cooking it.
Handle the meat just a bit when forming the patties to keep its juiciness. Also, make sure not to press the meat too much on the grill, as all the juices will come out.
2. Size the burger right
Some fast-food chains are selling burgers as big as your face. You might say that you want to eat just a few bites, but it will be a true challenge not to devour it all.
To make sure you will eat the right amount of your burger, try to cook it at home. This way, it is easier to control the patty size and make the whole dish a lot reasonable and healthy.
3. Choose your toppings wisely
As long as you will eat a salty, sugar and fat-laden topping in your burger, you can be sure you just sabotaged your healthy diet. Avoid those sugary tomato juices from store bought salsa, or make your own ketchup at home without adding too much salt and sugar.
When it comes to the creamy sauces, avoid mayo and choose guacamole instead. Go for the real estate to top your burger, and pack some nice, fresh veggies, or grill them.
Choose mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes, or onions. I promise you the taste will be delicious. Here are some recipes to try at home.
4. Cut the meat
Who said burgers need to have only meat? Sometimes, overeating lean meat is not the healthiest option (5).
I encourage people to try making burgers at home, so they can sneak tons of veggies into their sandwiches. If you don’t necessarily like vegetarian burgers, add mushrooms, greens, onions, peppers, or sweet potatoes to the classic burger.
This way, your meal will contain lots of healthy fibers, and you will increase the level of saturation.
Even if you go for lean meat, vegetables such as carrots, zucchini, or mushrooms will offer those extra juices to your burger. You should also try adding black beans, quinoa, rice, or lentils. Put these ingredients in the raw meat mixture right before shaping the patties.
5. Spice it up
Sometimes, when creating a low-calorie burger, the taste might not be the expected one, compared with the classic burgers, that has tons of creamy toppings. The secret to making your burger a lot tastier is adding spices and herbs.
More than their unique flavor, spices contain great antioxidants, such as polyphenols. Try to add rosemary, saffron, sage, thyme, or paprika into the meat or veggie mixture right before cooking the patties.
Then, before serving up your dish, chop some fresh herbs and spread them on top of the burger. The final result will be full of flavor.
6. Think outside the bun
How about eliminating the fluffy, full of carbs buns? While going all naked burger is not always the best choice, there are healthier alternatives to the classic white bun. The final taste can be close to the authentic one, and you will still enjoy the burger-eating experience.
I recommend you to try the low-carb option and make some veggies buns using lettuce, mushrooms, tomatoes, zucchini, or sweet potatoes. The burger will have fewer calories and more fibers and juiciness.
On the other hand, you can opt for a whole grain bun and try this recipe. Many restaurants already have the option of “low-carb” or “protein-made” lettuce wraps instead of burger buns.
7. Skip The Fries
Next time you eat a burger, try not order the fries anymore or at least share one portion with your friend.
You can order a green salad instead, a much lower-fat and calorie choice. If you simply cannot resist the temptation, order the smallest serving of potatoes, or go for the baked sweet potatoes.
8. Check The Nutrition Label
Reading the nutritional facts in black and white is one of the top motivators to help you choose the healthiest type of burger. Whatever your health goals might look like, nutrition information is the base and will help you always stay on track.
I must admit that it won’t be easy to see how a burger is representing half of the whole quantity of calories and fat per day, but at least you know how to manage this intake.
In the end, life is also about satisfying your food cravings. However, if you know how to look for the healthiest burgers, you can absolutely include them in a healthy diet plan. Try to apply the tips and tricks above and keep on losing or maintaining your weight.