Follow these five steps, and relish the real thing!

By: Jodie Shield, RDN

May is National Hamburger Month—fire up the grill! Sure, I love a portabella or turkey patty, but this dietitian can’t resist a juicy, beef burger. The trouble is a typical half-pounder packs at least 600 calories and more than half your daily fat quota. Add that to the salty, fatty fixings (think: cheese, bacon, fried onions), and your burger becomes a belt-buster. Still, there’s is a healthier way. Check out my Hamburger Light post and follow these five steps.

Step 1: Have fun with the bun. White bread? Yawn. I prefer toasted whole grain pumpernickel, or a whole-grain pretzel bun instead. Tip: Aim for at least 3 grams of belly-filling fiber.

Step 2: Spread wisely. Mustard, ketchup, and barbecue sauce may be low-cal, but they’re loaded with sodium and added sugar. You’re better off with salsa, guacamole, and light mayo made with heart-healthy olive oil. Tip: Stick to 1-2 tablespoons.

Step 3: Go lean on the meat. Choose freshly ground beef that’s 90 or 95 percent lean, and press into 4-ounce patties (portions matter!). Grill over medium heat until they reach an internal temp of 160°F. Tip: To keep patties moist and prevent crumbling, add freshly chopped onion to the ground beef.

 Step 4: Banish bacon; cut the cheese. One slice of fatty cheddar adds 113 calories—no thank you! My trick: I toss grated Parmesan into the patties for a flavor boost. Tip: Limit Parm to 1 tablespoon per patty.

Step 5: Pile on fresh produce. Layer your burger with peppery arugula, crisp hearts of romaine, plum tomato slices, roasted sweet peppers, red onion rings, and sautéed mushrooms. Tip: All veggies are fair game!

Need some tasty burger recipes? Download my FREE app Eat Healthy Homemade Meals in Minutes available at iTunes and GogglePlay.You’ll discover how to make a basic beef patty along with my personal fav –Mediterranean Burgers and the ultimate burger side: Sweet potato fries!



This article originally appeared on the FitStudio blog.


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About Author


Jodie Shield, M.Ed., R.D., L.D.N. Jodie Shield has been a consultant and spokesperson in the field of nutrition for over two decades. A former national media spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association (1989-1995), she has worked extensively with the Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center and taught nutrition and medical dietetics at the University of Illinois. Currently she is a complemental faculty member of the College of Health Sciences in the Department of Clinical Nutrition at Rush University in Chicago.

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