Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Healthy Hamburger

Yes, hamburgers CAN become healthy burgers with a little attention to detail.

by Sheila Burcin, MS, RD

A typical hamburger can contribute a significant amount of saturated fat to your diet. Unlike whole cuts, which have trimmable fat, the fat in ground beef can only drip away during cooking.

Ground beef labeled .80% lean. is 20% fat by weight, and that fat contributes 70% of the total calories. On a per-gram basis, fat (9 calories per gram) provides more than twice the calories of carbohydrate and protein (4 calories per gram).

With the cookout season here, try this new lower fat version of the familiar and traditional hamburger.

1. The first step is to visit a supermarket that has a butcher. Choose a very lean cut of round from the meat case and, before the meat is ground, ask that all fat be trimmed.

2. To compensate for the fat that has been removed, mix the beef with tomato juice, chopped onion, and Worcestershire sauce before cooking. This will lessen the chance that the burger will become too dry.

3. Prepare each patty with three ounces of hamburger.

4. Grill, broil, or pan-broil your burger instead of frying.

5. Mushrooms and onions simmered in broth can be added as a garnish -give portabello mushrooms and Vidalia onions a try.

6. Place the burger on a whole grain bun. Add a slice of tomato, a leaf of romaine lettuce, salsa, or other condiments to help you incorporate vegetables and fruits into your diet.

And remember, go easy on the mayonnaise.

The Healthy Hamburger
Nutrition Information

315 calories
7 grams total fat
2 grams saturated fat
72 milligrams cholesterol
415 milligrams sodium