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Four Top Tips to Build a Better Burger

By Shannon Crocker MSc RD, Vibrant Nutrition Communications

Follow Shannon on Twitter and Instagram @shancrockerRD

 

Nothing says summer quite like a juicy burger grilled on the barbeque. Sadly, fast food burgers have given this summer staple a bad health rap. Don’t dismay! There are lots of tasty ways to keep your barbeque burgers healthy with my four top tips.

  1. Start smart – choose ground turkey for your patty.

Ground turkey is a smart choice for a healthier burger. Here’s what I like about a ground turkey for building a better burger:

  • It’s packed with high quality protein. A 100-gram serving of ground turkey boasts 28 grams of protein – that’s an ideal amount to help you stay satisfied long after your meal.
  • It’s extra lean. There are just 8.7 grams of fat in a 100-gram serving of ground turkey, making it a super ingredient starting point for your burger recipes.
  • It’s nutrient-rich and an excellent source phosphorus, zinc, B12 and niacin.
  • The taste!

I recommend you make your own turkey burger patties whenever possible. It’s easy. Plus, you control the portion and what goes in them while still making sure they taste terrific. Make a double batch and freeze them to save some time for your next burger barbeque.

Nobody likes a dried out burger. Here are a few patty pointers to keep that turkey burger juicy on the barbecue:

  • Be gentle. Make sure you don’t over handle the turkey meat while making the patties – that’s key to a moist burger.
  • Resist the urge to press down on the burger when grilling – it squishes out all the flavourful juices.
  • Don’t overcook (or undercook!). Use a thermometer to check internal temperature. A turkey burger is done when the internal temperature reaches 165F (74C).
  1. Slip in some extra veggies.

I’m a big fan of finding ways to get an extra hit of veggies into meals. Adding veggies, like onions or mushrooms, right into your turkey burger patty, can add even more nutritional value. It also helps keep burgers moist. Can you guess the secret ingredient in Popeye’s Favourite Turkey Burgers? You’ve got it, spinach!

Burger builders beware: too many veggie add-ins make your patties fall apart. Stick to amounts recommended in recipes.

  1. Choose a better bun.

White buns aren’t the best, nutritionally speaking. I suggest swapping your typical white burger bun for a more nourishing option, such as:

  • A whole grain bun – it gives you more fibre, minerals and phytonutrients (health-promoting plant compounds) than a typical white bun.
  • A mushroom ‘bun’ – a portobello mushroom is a lower calorie option that tastes great. This Southwest Turkey Burger on a Portobello Mushroom ‘Bun’ is a great option for gluten-free guests. Just be sure to look for a gluten-free corn flake cereal.
  1. Pile on Fresh Toppings.

Vegetable toppings such as tomatoes, cucumber slices, grilled onions, roasted peppers and dark leafy lettuce, add flavour and texture to your burger for few calories. The fibre from the veggies plus the quality protein from the ground turkey also help you feel satisfied for longer after you’ve enjoy your meal.

I don’t know about you, but I love a little cheese on my turkey burger! I recommend a strong-flavoured cheese, like extra old cheddar or blue cheese – they deliver big taste impact with just a small amount.  If you are not into strong-flavoured cheese, try a small slice of Provolone – it also pairs well with turkey.

What about condiments? Mustard and ketchup are often salty and sometimes sugary. How about an avocado relish instead? Along with fantastic flavour, the avocado relish on these yummy turkey sliders adds a hit of healthy fat and fibre. This slider is definitely on my summer barbeque menu.

Now that you’ve got some pointers for building a better turkey burger, you’re ready to get out there and enjoy that barbeque.

Happy Grilling!

Shannon