by Jessica Smith, REDBOOK
Let's hear it for hamburgers! May 28th is National Hamburger Day, and with Memorial Day Weekend coming up, we thought we'd share some tips on how to better your burger - just in case you are gearing up for a cookout this weekend.
And while you may not think of a burger as a health food, it's actually a pretty decent choice when it comes to getting in a satisfying protein-filled meal. But there are definitely a few changes you can make to your healthy up your hamburger, without sacrificing taste.
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Try these simple tweaks to get more delicious nutrition out of every bite:
1. At the supermarket, look for a label that says "lean beef" and opt for the lowest percentage of fat (95% lean). Go organic and grass-fed whenever possible.
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2. Don't be fooled by turkey burgers. They can often be as fatty as their beef counterparts. If you go for turkey, choose the 80 percent lean variety. Can't tell if it's lean or not? Choose the lean beef option - chances are it's got less fat.
3. Keep your buns dry. Adding mayo or butter to your bun can add unnecessary fat and calories. Opt for light mayo, or add flavor with low fat options like mustard, ketchup and pickles.
4. Sprinkle in some vitamins. Prep your patties with add-ins like chopped onions, celery, apples or even some cooked spinach for a nutrient rich and flavor-filled burger.
5. Juice it up! Lean beef can often be drier because of it's low fat content, so keep it juicy by mixing 1 cup of yogurt and ¾ cup of bread crumbs per pound of lean beef. The yogurt's lactic acid tenderizes the meat, and the breadcrumbs hold in the moisture, so your lean burger stays juicy.
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6. Wrap it with whole grains. Skip the white bread (i.e. processed sugar) bun and opt for a high fiber (over 3g) whole grain one instead. We love Rudy's Organic 100% Whole Wheat Buns (available at Whole Foods).
Your best bet to keep it healthy and weight watching friendly is to make it at home, so you know exactly what is going into your food. Try some of these yummy burger recipes.
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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.
Jessica Smith is a certified fitness lifestyle expert and creator of the 10 Pounds Down DVD series.