The hamburger – it’s an iconic American dish. Juicy and delicious, a freshly made burger is hard to resist – but it might be a little easier to once you know what may be lurking inside.
Whether ordered at a dine-in restaurant or drive-thru, burgers can have a host of unhealthy characteristics, according to Everyday Health. Some burgers can contain up to 50 grams of fat, including harmful trans fat, as well as more than 1,000 calories and sometimes 3,000 to 4,000 milligrams in sodium – the FDA recommended daily value of sodium is just 1,500 milligrams per day. Not to mention the additives and chemicals that can be used to enhance the beef.
Not to fear, though – you can still enjoy biting into a big, juicy burger without wrecking your diet. Just try these lighter, healthier alternatives:
- Tofu burger
Made from soybeans, tofu is a great meat alternative because it contains a high level of protein as well as important amino acids and other vitamins and minerals. Tofu can be shaped into patties and used in burgers, or can be crumbled and combined with other ingredients and then shaped into patties. For example, you can mix together crumbled tofu and sweet potato to make a tasty vegan-friendly burger.
Veggie burgers are a delicious beef substitute.
- Tuna burger
A diet rich in seafood is essential to overall health and wellness, since fish contains omega-3 fatty acids, which help promote heart health. Tuna is a particularly healthy fish, thanks to its high levels of omega-3s and potassium content, which help lower blood pressure. Tuna makes for a simple and filling beef burger replacement and can be prepared in a variety of ways. You can cook fresh tuna filets and use them as burger patties, or mix canned tuna with bread crumbs, fresh herbs and other seasonings, like in this light and fresh Lemon and Garlic Tuna Burgers recipe.
- Black bean burger
Black beans are delicious in burritos, salads and other dishes, but it’s time to make them the star of the show for a change by using them to make burger patties. Black beans contain lots of fiber, potassium and other important nutrients, and can help promote heart health. To make black bean burgers, you simply mix together black beans, chopped vegetables like peppers, onions and zucchinis, and an egg. Form into patties and then grill or cook in a pan on the stovetop. Black bean burgers pair particularly well with Southwestern flavors – try this tasty recipe for Cilantro Lime Black Bean Burgers.
When making turkey burgers, choose high-quality lean meat.
- Veggie burger
Veggie burgers have come a long way – no longer do you have to settle for a tasteless frozen version out of a box! There are many delicious recipes out there for veggie burgers – how about Greek Veggie Burgers with Cucumber Feta Sauce, Chunky Portobello Veggie Burgers or Hawaiian Veggie Burgers? There are so many different flavor varieties that even the most ardent meat-eater will find something to enjoy.
- Turkey burger
Turkey burgers are another fantastic alternative to traditional beef burgers, as they contain lots of protein and as well as important nutritional compounds like vitamin B6, iron and potassium, and can even help lower cholesterol levels . However, it’s important to check the ingredients list if you’re buying turkey patties frozen – many pre-made burgers contain a high amount of dark meat and skin, which contains more fat, Fit Day noted. Choose high-quality lean turkey when making your own turkey burgers for the most health benefits – try this delicious recipe for Spinach Feta Turkey Burgers.