Hamburgers are one of America’s favorite foods, and what’s not to love? They’re rich, filling, and meaty, with just the right balance of mouth-watering flavors. Sadly, they’re also fairly high in calories. Between the beef patty and the bun, you can easily consume up to 500 or 600 calories. Add in the extras (onion rings, mayo, ketchup, etc.), and your burger can reach as much as 1000 calories or more. Plus, there’s all that fat! But with the healthy alternatives listed below, you can cut the calories and fat from your hamburgers and make them a bit healthier:
Grilled chicken is one of the best healthy alternatives to the classic hamburger. Not only is it rich and flavorful, but it contains that meaty taste you can’t help but love. But if you use a nice thick slice of chicken breast, you get about 60 to 75% of the calories you’d get from an all-beef patty. Definitely a good option to try!
Grilled Turkey Breast
Don’t think of turkey ham for your burger, but consider a nice thick slice of turkey breast. Grill it up with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper, and you have a recipe for healthy burger magic. You can even use ground turkey to make a classic turkey burger patty, one that will taste only marginally different from your regular beef patty.
Soy Burger Patty
You may find this an odd one, but soy patties aren’t as bad as you think. Made from soy beans, they are a plant-based alternative that is lower in both calories and fat than your beef burger patty. You may have to add a few more condiments to make the burger taste better, but it’s worth it if you’re trying to watch your cholesterol.
Beef isn’t the only red meat you can use to make burgers! Venison and moose are both delicious when ground and grilled as burger patties, and you’ll hardly notice a difference in the flavor. In fact, you may find yourself addicted to game burgers, as they have a much deeper, richer flavor than beef. They have a much lower fat content than ground beef, making them a healthy alternative to the classic burger.
This may sound odd, but don’t knock it until you’ve tried it! Mushrooms have a distinctly meaty flavor, even though they’re a vegetable. You’ll find that throwing a mushroom on the grill with a bit of butter, salt, and pepper will make a delicious vegetarian “burger” patty, which will taste wonderful with the right mixture of condiments and burger veggies. Definitely a low-fat, low-calorie option you’ll want to try.
You may not be a huge fan of fish, but a salmon burger is one of those foods you have to try at least once before you die. Salmon is soft and flaky, making it a wonderful addition to a hefty burger. It’s especially delicious when topped with teriyaki sauce, as the sweetness combines with the mild fish flavor for a perfect balance. It’s also one of the healthiest burgers around!
Using black beans to make a burger may sound a bit iffy, but once you try it, you may just find that you love it! Beans have a rich, meaty flavor, particularly if you cook them up with a (tiny) bit of bacon or ground beef. Use those leftover chili beans to make one heck of an awesome burger patty. You’ll need bread crumbs to hold the bean patty together, but overall, it’s a very healthy alternative to your classic burger.