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Building a Balanced Burger

Posted on July 17, 2018 by Jaclyn Murphy, RDN, Dietitian

Summer’s in full swing, which means it's time for cookouts, celebrations and healthy choices. Why not start with building a better burger? With MyPlate’s nutrition recommendations to vary your protein, make half your grains whole and half your plate fruits and vegetables. The simple tips set forth below can help you keep your health goals on track at your next cookout.
 
Go lean with protein: From vegetarian options, such as a bean-based burger or a marinated Portobello mushroom, to a meat-based dish, like skinless chicken breast, lean ground turkey or a salmon patty, your options for varying your protein are endless. If you opt for red meat, trim the fat or choose a lean ground beef. And don’t forget your portion size! The palm of your hand can be used as a visual guide for a 3-4 ounce serving.
 
Make it whole grain: Whether you decide to go bun or bun-less this summer, a whole grain, seeded bun, an open-faced light English muffin or butterhead (Boston or Bibb) lettuce leaves are easy and creative ways to wrap your burger to add fiber, flavor and texture.
 
Vary your veggies: 'Tis the season for fresh, local produce. Whether you decide to add chopped vegetables to your burger patty or to get adventurous with plant-based toppings, you will not only be adding moisture, color and flavor, but will soon see the ease of incorporating more vegetables into your lifestyle. Consider adding heart-healthy sliced avocado, Jersey heirloom tomatoes, pickled red onions, microgreens and even grilled pineapple to your list of favorite toppings! If you opt for a slice of cheese, lean towards low or reduced-fat alternatives.
 
Looking to try a new, nutritious vegetarian burger this summer? Try this recipe by Dawn Jackson Blatner, RDN, CSSD, from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Eatright.org.
 
California BBQ Veggie Burgers
 
Ingredients:
2 cans (15½ ounces each) garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 green onions, finely chopped (about ½ cup)
1 large carrot, shredded (about 1 cup)
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste 
⅓ cup whole wheat flour (or garbanzo bean flour)
Mini whole grain hamburger buns, toasted
 
Toppings:
Avocado
Tomato 
Barbecue sauce
Directions:
1. In a food processor or with a hand blender, puree beans and oil until smooth.
2. Stir in onions, carrots, salt and pepper. Add in flour until mixture comes together.
3. Form 12 mini patties. Cook in skillet or on grill until each side is browned, about 4 minutes per side.
4. Assemble burger on bun with avocado, tomato and barbecue sauce.
 
Nutrition Information:
Serving size: 1 burger
Serves 12
Calories: 90; Total Fat: 3g; Saturated Fat: 0g; Trans Fat: 0g: Cholesterol: 0mg: Sodium: 160mg: Total Carbohydrate: 14g; Dietary Fiber: 3g; Sugars: 1g; Protein: 4g
 
Source:
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Eatright.org
https://www.eatright.org/food/planning-and-prep/recipes/california-bbq-veggie-sliders-recipe
 

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