6 Healthier Alternatives to Burgers

There are few meals quite as tasty as a good hamburger! The combination of bread, meat, cheese, condiments, and toppings makes for one heck of a filling, delicious lunch or dinner. Sadly, burgers aren’t a very healthy choice. They’re loaded with fat, empty carbs, and only a bit of healthy protein, so they’re a meal you may need to skip more often than not.

But what should you do with all that ground beef in your freezer? If you can’t make burgers, what can you make? Here are a few healthier alternatives to burgers to consider:


This dish comes from Spain, Cuba, Mexico, the Philippines, and many Latin American countries, and it’s the perfect healthy mixture of carbs, veggies, and ground beef. The beef offers a lot of protein, the potatoes offers just the right amount of carbs to give you energy, and the carrots will add more fiber to your diet. It’s not much lower in calories than burgers, but the nutritional value is far better!

Lettuce Burgers

If you just can’t say no to a good hamburger, you may not have to quit just yet! Just replace the hamburger bun (all white flour and empty calories) with two thick beds of lettuce. You can use all of the same condiments and toppings, but place that burger patty between two “pieces” of lettuce for the perfect hamburger. You get all the delicious, but with far fewer calories and a lot more nutritional value.

Asian Lettuce Cups

Mixing ground beef with chopped, sautéed onions will give it a nice flavor, but you’re still missing out on the Asian tastes. For that, you’ll need Hoisin sauce. Mix the Hoisin sauce with the ground beef and onions as they are cooking. Once the beef is cooked, scoop it into lettuce leaves, making a sort of “cup” with the ground beef inside. It’s both delicious and nutritious!

Sloppy Joes

With Sloppy Joes, you get full with far less bread! The fact that the meat is saucy means that it will be more filling, so you won’t have to eat as many as you would hamburgers. The higher protein content makes it ideal for those who are trying to limit carbs. Simply fry up onions with the ground beef, then mix in tomato paste and tomato sauce. You’ll want to make it thicker and richer than a simple Bolognese pasta sauce, as you’re going to be pouring it over the top of a bun.

Stir Fry

If you want to really make it healthy, you’ll use far less ground beef and a whole lot more veggies! Start with diced onions, and add in carrots, celery, cabbage, sprouts, and any other delicious veggie additions. Add in the ground beef near the end, and serve it all over buckwheat (soba) noodles. This is one heck of a tasty Asian treat, and it’s surprisingly healthy.


With meatballs, you get all the flavor of hamburgers, but without all the calories you’d be eating from the bread! You’ll find that there are all sorts of tasty ways to eat meatballs. One of the most popular is with pasta, but that’s as many empty calories as you get with hamburgers. You can also serve the meatballs over a bed of sautéed cabbage, which will replace the noodles and make one heck of a tasty pasta. Or, go for a Greek version of the meatballs, complete with harissa, Marquez spice mix, garlic, and cilantro as the flavoring for the meat. It’s all about getting creative and thinking outside the hamburger bun!

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