Last year I read a brief report about a problem jumbo burgers are causing: jaw pain from trying to open the mouth wide enough to take a bite. If you look at some of the fancy offerings from fast food places, you may understand why.
These burgers usually pose quite another health risk. They are loaded with fat and sodium. Think about it. Two beef patties (or more), cheese, bacon and a fatty sauce are the start of it. Then some add onion rings while others add fried potatoes. This is not healthy in any way, shape or form. We can do better than that, and the results taste just as good.
Beef choice: I won’t go into some of the reports of how beef patties are made by some chains. However, they probably aren’t the ideal burger. To have a healthy burger, go for a 90% or leaner patty made from grass fed beef. This beef contains HDL cholesterol. Only a piece of salmon might be better.
Lettuce choice: I have yet to go to a burger place that served anything but iceberg lettuce. This is a vegetable version of junk food. While it does have some fiber it is not nearly as nutritious (or flavorful) as other variations. I particularly like romaine lettuce.
Tomato choice: You might be going “a tomato is just a tomato.” Not so. Most tomatoes are picked green and gassed to “ripe.” In fact, many times I’ve sliced one of these tomatoes to find the inside is still green. A vine ripened tomato is better for you (no gas) and it tastes (gasp) like a tomato. Do you know what else that will do? Reduce your need for a strong sauce somewhat.
To sauce or not to sauce: Read the nutrition label on the sauces you wish to use on your burger. Mayo based sauces come with a lot of fat and cholesterol. That’s understandable; mayo is basically an egg yolk with a cup of oil mixed in. Barbecue sauces are sometimes full of sugar. The only sauce you might want is mustard, which is very low in calories.
Avocado: Instead of a sauce I’ve found that mashed avocado is great on a burger. It too is full of fat, but it’s a healthy fat. Along with the tomato and lettuce, the avocado will make a tasty burger.
There are other safe things that can be added. I like cole slaw on mine. I sometimes make sauces that are within our dietary budget. Onions (either raw or caramelized) are a good choice. What we don’t add are things that will hurt our bodies. It doesn’t have to be huge. It doesn’t have to be fancy. A better, safer burger is actually quite tasty.