7 Tips for Healthy & Delicious Burgers

You can have your beef and eat it too. With these seven tips, find out how to trim calories while getting big flavor from your burger.

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©Jupiter Images

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1. Make smaller patties: The recommended portion is 4 ounces of beef, ground turkey or other meat. You'll get a lot of protein (about 22 grams), and if you bulk up on veggie toppings, we swear you won't miss the extra-large patties. It will also help you slash calories — upgrading to a half-pounder bumps up the calorie load to almost 400 (before the bun and toppings).

2. Look for skinless ground turkey: Don't assume that ground turkey is always leaner than beef. In fact, oftentimes turkey is ground with the skin on, making it have more calories and saturated fat than lean ground beef. If you're making turkey burgers, buy skinless ground turkey. Or grind boneless turkey breast in a meat grinder.

3. Go for 90 percent lean beef: You'll save at least 50 calories and 2 grams of saturated fat for every 4-ounce burger when you choose 90 percent lean ground beef over 80 percent lean. That might not sound like a big difference, but every bit counts (and if you are eating a bigger burger, the savings really add up).

4. Stuff the burgers with veggies: Although mixing too much grated or chopped veggies to the burger patty might make it fall apart, you can sneak an extra dose of juicy sauteed mushrooms or roasted red peppers into your burger by making two small burger patties and sealing them around a filling. Ellie Krieger shows you how in her Stuffed Turkey Burgers.

5. Get a whole-wheat bun: Most burger buns are just nutrition-void white bread — and a lot of it. Get some more nutrients and filling fiber by swapping a white bun for 100 percent whole wheat.

6. Heap on veggies: Cheddar and bacon have their place, but not when you're aiming for the healthiest burger. Instead, top your burger with flavor-packed caramelized onions and sauteed mushrooms. Or try guacamole for some heart-healthy fats as a more-nutritious replacement for ketchup and mustard.

7. Choose highly flavored cheeses: When you're making a cheeseburger, use a small amount of blue cheese or extra-sharp cheddar. These strongly flavored cheeses will add a big impact even when you're using a small amount.

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