Summertime and grilling go together like peanut butter and jelly—they’re a classic duo! But all too often a casual backyard event can derail your healthy eating plans. One delicious, juicy burger with all the fixings can tack on upwards of 900 calories to your day. Here’s how to watch what you eat without making your burger boring.
Start with lean meat 90% lean ground beef, chicken, and bison are all good options. Be wary of ground turkey: it’s often a mix of light and dark meat and can be higher in fat than lean beef.
Downsize your patty Restaurants have gotten us used to monster-sized 8-ounce burgers. But you’re better off cooking up a more modest 4-ounce patty and then topping it with sliced avocado. It’s just as filling, but you’ll be replacing saturated fat with healthier mono- and poly-unsaturated ones.
Opt for a whole grain bun Packing more fiber and vitamins than white bread; whole grain buns are the way to go. Look for packages that say 100% whole grain and then compare labels to find the buns with the highest fiber and lowest calorie counts. Or consider using a whole-wheat English muffin instead to slash the calories in half.
Choose cheese or mayo, not both It’s hard to resist a slice of melted cheddar or classic American on a burger, but if you also add a dollop of mayonnaise you’re loading your lunch with saturated fat. Pick one or the other (not both!) and add more flavor with veggies, pickles, and low-cal condiments.
Skip the BBQ sauce Condiments tend to sneak in extra calories and sugar, and BBQ sauce is the biggest offender. Give your burger a small squirt of ketchup or go for mustard instead.
What’s your favorite burger topping? How do you keep it healthy during BBQ season?