Shape Up Your Slider: 4 Healthier Hamburger Alternatives

Registered Dietician

| 3 min read

Who doesn’t love a good burger? I know I do, but you have to be careful: A traditional hamburger usually uses fatty ground red meats, and toppings like cheese and bacon push things off the cliff nutrition-wise. Here are a few healthier burger alternatives that you should try to keep building healthier habits and a healthier lifestyle.
Pick leaner meats — Try turkey burgers or ground sirloin. Just be aware of how much fat and saturated fat are in the choices you are making. In general, the more marbling (or the white) you see, the more fat. Take note that ground turkey breast is leaner than ground turkey. Ground turkey will have all the turkey parts, including skin and more, so it will have more fat than ground turkey breast.
Try adding vegetables to your burger — I am not just talking about lettuce, tomatoes and onion. I often will finely dice or use my food processor to chop up whatever vegetables I might have at home and add them to the burger itself. The vegetables add great color, flavor, texture, moisture and of course, good nutrition. My basic recipe is to use about 1.5 cups of diced veggies for every pound of meat. You can use this with any of your favorite homemade burger recipes. Try it and let me know how it works for you.
Fish burgers — These can be homemade or purchased from specialty grocers, which often carry things like salmon patties and tuna steaks. The beauty with this alternative is that you are getting heart-healthy fat into your diet. The goal is to eat fish at least three times a week for better heart health. I love salmon burgers and even like using these salmon patties as a protein source to top a salad. Here are a couple of my favorite recipes:
Veggie burgers — I think the term “veggie burgers” covers a wide range of things:
  • It could be a veggie burger that is trying to taste and look like an actual meat burger. Think of some of the Boca burgers or some of the Morningstar burgers that use soy as a base.
  • There are also veggie burgers that are made with a variety of things such as black beans, legumes with rice or other whole grains. These can be bought from a store as well or you can try making them yourself. This is one of my favorite recipes: Vegan Southwestern Black Bean and Brown Rice Veggie Burger Patties. I have made it a couple times and played with the spiciness of it by adding jalapenos. Yum!
  • Lastly, there is the wonderful portabella mushroom burger. They have a meaty texture which substitutes well for a burger. There are only about 30 calories in one portabella mushroom and there is no fat or cholesterol. The key to a good portabella mushroom burger is making sure your marinate the mushroom to give it full flavor. I love to have mine with roasted red peppers, grilled thin slices of eggplant and grilled zucchini. When I want a little more protein, I sometimes add an over-medium egg onto it. It is making my mouth water just thinking about it.
What are some of your favorite burger alternatives?
Photo Credit: Dalboz17

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