|Patty||Turkey Breast, frozen.|
|Bun||Whole wheat (whatever is cheapest at the grocery store).|
|Toppings||Spinach, kale, tomato slices, chopped cubanelle and jalapeno peppers, sliced cucumbers, white mushrooms, and chopped broccoli.|
|Side||Salad containing kale, spinach, apple slices, cucumbers, mushrooms, and broccoli with a balsamic vinaigrette.|
The burger is one of the most common staples across Canada. Adults like it, kids like it, it is easy for students or those just strapped for time. Unfortunately however, the burger is often towards the unhealthy side of the food spectrum, so we suggest a couple changes to really make it a choice you can feel proud of. Although the traditional burger is centered around the beef patty, it is important to note that according to the Canada’s Food Guide, the average Canadian needs about 2.5 times more fruits, vegetables, and grains than meat. Therefore, to really make sure things are healthy, the beef will take a back seat to all the other stuff you can load in there. Everyone will like their burger different, so take the broad suggestions and make it your own.
Patty: Every burger needs a patty, but it’s important to be in a healthy frame of mind when picking yours. For the healthiest option, using a Turkey Breast burger is a good bet (make sure you check the label when buying, sometimes a Turkey Burger may include more than just the breast, which adds in the high-fat dark meat and skin). If turkey burgers really aren’t your thing, pick up the low-fat beef option. Now it’s important to note that one patty represents over 1 serving of meat – and remember that you should be targeting 2-3 servings of meat and alternatives a day. Because those alternatives, like nuts and legumes, are packed full of nutrients and should also be a component of your daily diet, if you are picking the burger for lunch, seriously consider doing a meatless option for dinner. The patty (turkey or beef) is quite simple to cook on a frying pan; just bring out a large skillet, put on the patties, and turn on to medium-high heat. Leave the burger on for about 8-10 minutes, flipping once, until cooked all the way through.
Cheese: If you are a cheese burger kind of person, feel free to add on your favorite. But – just a couple of things…cheese is great and packed with a bunch of solid nutrients, but it also contains a ton of fat and sodium, which is not so healthy. So if you are going to add on some cheese, make sure you practice moderation. Also, try and shred on some block cheese as opposed to pre-shredded or pre-wrapped cheese slices. Feel free to shred the cheese on to the burger while it is still on the frying pan (for the last minute) so it melts.
Bun: Whole wheat. This is an easy one…More than half of your grain choices per day should be whole grains, so knock some off the list.
Toppings: This is where you can start to get creative. At this point, we have covered the meat, dairy, and grains; 3/4 of the food groups. All that’s left are the veggies, and you need a ton of these per day so feel free to load on. Firstly, before you put on the standard iceberg lettuce, consider another darker leaf option like kale or spinach. Iceberg lettuce is almost all water, while kale and spinach are packed with nutrients. So if you are going to put some sort of leafy green on your meal, get more bang for your buck. Additionally, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and broccoli are just a few of the great options you can pile on. Fresh or canned works, depending on what is available to you.
Side: The burger and french fries combo is as established as the classic PB & J. However, fries -especially if fried – really put an unhealthy spin on your meal. Consider continuing the veggie trend by opting for a veggie salad with oil dressing. The Caesar salad is another staple, but as all that creamy dressing can load on the fat, consider an oil-based option first. Canada’s Food Guide strongly recommends having a little bit of oil in your diet each day, so sprinkling a little bit of vinaigrette over some veggies is a good way to cross that off your list. If you have just decided to start eating healthy and the veggies on the burger are enough to handle for one meal, consider adding some sweeter fruits as a side – possibly some apple and orange slices.
Image retrieved from http://www.popsugar.com/fitness/Healthy-BBQ-Turkey-Burger-35030413