"Healthy" and "hamburger" might not be two words you normally put together.
But making the right swaps, and adding in some extra ingredients can transform your meal. Hamburgers actually do have a lot of benefits–they're high in protein, can be rich in iron and other minerals (depending on the meat you use), and are a great vessel for extra added veg.
Where we tend to go wrong? Everything we put on top.
When you add a white bun, french fries, ketchup, mayonnaise, etc. that's a whole lot of added calories that you might not even notice.
But we're here to give your hamburger a makeover. It's time to rethink your classic burger, and make room for a new wave of drool-worthy ingredients.
Check out these tips to making a healthy hamburger!
1. The obvious tip: ditch the bun
Honestly, there are SO many other options out there. Here are a few:
- 2 iceberg lettuce leaves: we do suggest using a fork and knife instead
- Sweet potato toast: slice a sweet potato length-wise in 1/2 cm pieces. Roast, or BBQ till lightly brown.
- Collard greens: These ones are thick enough to actually hold a burger together!
- Grilled portobello mushrooms: again, knife and fork are a must
2. Cut the condiments
First, ditch the high-sugar ketchup and relish, and pass over the mayonnaise and Kraft Singles cheese slices. Instead, try:
- Salsa! But check the sugar content.
- Sauerkraut: make sure you're using homemade or purchase the kind you find in the refrigerator section (remember, it's fermented, meaning the ones on the shelf are high in preservatives).
- Mustard: pass on the honey dijon, but plain yellow, mustard grains or old fashioned dijon are all fair game.
- Plain dill, or garlic pickles!
- Grilled or steamed beets. Get the the sweet/salty mix that ketchup provides, but with added vitamins.
- Mashed avocado. Or even get creative and add some lime, cumin and garlic to make it a guacamole.
3. What's in a patty?
Top priority: don't buy a hamburger in a box.
First, think about your fitness goals, and your current health profile:
- If you're looking to lose weight, stick with lean ground meat, like chicken or turkey.
- Wanting to boost your skin, hair and nails? Go for a salmon burger.
- Feel like your iron is low? Stick to the classic ground beef, or even look at bison.
- Veggie or plant-based? Try a simple grilled portobello mushroom. Or mix chickpeas, egg and some garlic powder in a food processor. But remember to bake these–the chickpeas tend to crumble on a BBQ. .
4. Choose the right add-ins
Next, what else will you put in it? When making homemade burgers, you will usually add eggs and breadcrumbs. Swap the breadcrumbs for ground oats, or rice flour! But you don't need to stop there. Add some fun flavours and make it your own recipe like:
- Sun-dried tomato and feta cheese
- Goat cheese and roasted red pepper
- Garlic, chives and spinach
- Cauliflower and curry
5. Skip the fries
It's tempting to choose fries. Who DOESN'T like them? Even the healthiest person in the world loves a good, crispy french fry. Unfortunately, sweet potato fries aren't actually a good alternative either; deep fried is deep fried.
But you know what we don't love? The feeling we have after eating them. To help you out, here are some other options:
- Kale salad (believe us, with the burger, you'll be stuffed).
- Baked potato or sweet potato. Yes, it's carbs, but you're skipping out on the oil and fat that comes with deep-frying.
- Grilled potato or sweet potato. Slice potatoes, lengthwise, in 1/2 cm wide pieces.
- Grilled vegetables, like red peppers, zucchini, and eggplant.
- Roasted french fries, or sweet potato fries: Cut potato into fry-sized pieces. Cover in olive or avocado oil. Sprinkle lightly with salt, paprika, cumin and garlic powder. Bake at 400 degrees.