There’s no better way to enjoy the summer weather than an outside BBQ. Indulging in juicy beef burgers is ok every once in a while, but the fat and calories they contain can start to add up. A 3.5 oz burger (a small to medium patty) made from 80 percent lean beef contains 271 calories, 26g of protein, and 18g of total fat. That’s almost half the amount of fat you should be eating daily! Add a bun and the dish gets bumped up to a total of 511 calories and 22g of fat. Make it a cheeseburger and you’re consuming a whooping 624 calories and 31g of fat. Studies have also linked high red meat consumption to cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
Switching up your burger base can help lower your health risks, while helping you achieve your lifestyle goals. Plus, getting creative with burgers can be a ton of fun and a great way to add more variety to your diet. Check out the healthy burger recipes below to get started.
Sweet potatoes are a delicious starchy vegetable full of vitamin A, vitamin C and fiber, and one medium sized tuber contains only 103 calories. This burger combines the veggie with protein-filled black beans to keep you full, as well as cumin and chili powder to bring on the heat. As a bonus, it’s also vegan and gluten-free.
Portobello mushrooms are a tasty meat substitute. Their hearty texture is reminiscent of a burger patty, and this recipe makes them just as easy to grill up. Marinated in a balsamic dressing and topped with a slice of cheese, these are bursting with flavor. Use a lower-fat or thinly sliced cheese to cut down on the calories even more.
Salmon is full of heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids, a nutrient group most of us do not eat enough of. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that we consume at least 2 meals composed of fish per week. This simple recipe combines fresh salmon with shallots and salty capers for a flavorful meal. You can also use canned salmon instead! Try topping the burger with fresh lemon juice or a homemade lemon vinaigrette.
Beets have a sweet and earthy taste and are chock full of vitamins and minerals like B-vitamins, iron, magnesium and potassium. In addition, studies have shown that consumption of the root veggie can lower blood pressure, improve liver function, and even fight chronic disease. This burger recipe combines beets with oats and lentils to make a hearty and beautifully colored patty that will brighten up any BBQ platter. Try ditching the bun and eating it on a lettuce wrap to add more crunch and freshness to these healthy burgers.
Ground turkey is a great alternative to ground beef, with a 4 oz patty totaling only 127 calories and 2g of fat. This simple recipe, inspired by Greek cuisine, is stuffed with feta and spinach. Serve it on pita bread with some yogurt-based tzatziki sauce for a full-on Greek culinary experience. This recipe forms 8 patties, so it’s great for a big group too!
Tofu is a fantastic plant-based protein option. Made from bean curd, tofu is protein-rich and low in calories and fat. These sweet and spicy burgers, topped with a vegan mayo, are only 236 calories and 12g of fat, and are sure to please even the biggest meat lovers.
Summer and seafood go hand and hand. Shrimp is low in calories and rich in protein and nutrients, providing 100% of the daily value for selenium and over 75% of the daily value for vitamin B12 — two nutrients we frequently lack in our diet. These healthy burgers are made with a little bit of mayo, celery, and red bell pepper for the perfect, fresh summer meal.
Tempeh is a soy-based product originating from Indonesia. The protein is full of vitamins and minerals, but naturally low in carbohydrates and sodium. This recipe combines tempeh with black beans, sriracha and maple syrup for a sweet and spicy meal. It also includes a bit of liquid smoke for a more concentrated BBQ taste, but feel free to leave it out if you want. The burger is topped with avocado for even more veggie goodness.
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Even with healthier recipes on the table, it’s easy to eat too much while hanging around the grill or picnic table all day. MealEnders can be a great tool to keep you on track with your health goals during long lazy summer afternoons and evenings.