As far as I am concerned, the burger is a cuisine on its own. Once in a while, I just want that big, juicy burger for lunch. We eat them when we are busy or at leisure, happy or sad, hungry or just looking for a treat. Sadly, burgers do not really enjoy the reputation of being part of a healthy diet. But the fact is, they touch our lives so much so that I feel they have some merit. When burger cravings strike, how can you have your burger and eat it too? That’s the question. Call me Wimpy, but once in a while I just want the taste of a good hamburger.
To pursue the healthful burger, I have decided to re-learn its basics. What is a burger? Well, it starts with one bottom bun; spread on some mayo; lay in some onion, lettuce and sliced tomatoes; then add a ground beef patty; and finally top it off with the top bun. The quality and flavor of these ingredients can vary widely, but this basic formula has been captivating us since we were little kids. Its calorie count is right about 500 to 600, depending chiefly on the fat content and the size of the meat.
However, according to an ABC News survey, the calories inside hamburgers served in the best- known restaurant chains actually range from 250 to a whopping 1590. What makes such a vast difference? The secret is mainly in the fat. Burger chefs have been battling the sizzling question as to how to balance the fat in the burger so that there is just enough of it to remain moist for the customers but not so much that it becomes a fat bomb.
As a customer, I still have to watch what I eat for lunch. Therefore, my grilling question is how to order my smart burger whenever I want one. Apparently controlling the fat and the portion are important in this case. It’s time to ask the experts.
For techniques on portion control, I have recently reviewed a great book that contains a wealth of intel. To read about the book, follow this link.
Now, here are a few tips that I have summarized from the American Heart Association and University of Wisconsin – UW Health Clinic. This step-by-step eating guide will show you how to avoid the land mines when you order your next burger. So start enjoying your next big bite.
Choosing your place
To me, a burger is an indulgence. Therefore, I want it to be served by someone who knows how to make it. In my opinion, if you wish to expend some of your calorie allowance on this food, you may as well go to a place that can serve up the true taste.
Smart choice: Avoid places that serve only cookie-cutter type of burgers. Instead go to places that serve burgers that can be customized to your taste. Also look up the calories on their menu while you are there.
Choosing your burger
Let’s face it, we want burgers for the taste of beef. So let’s stick to the plan and construct a more healthful burger .
Smart choice: If possible, ask for whole wheat or whole grain buns, as they contain more vitamins and fiber. Skip the mayo altogether if possible or switch to mustard. Then ask for extra lettuce, tomatoes, or onion (if you don’t have to worry about your breath). The more veggies, the more balanced is your meal. Then ask for BBQ or broiled beef if you can.
Choosing your add-ons
Add-ons are what make the restaurant menu confusing and restaurants engineer their menu to entice customers to spend more money. To me, they are simply distractions to the true beef taste.
Smart choice: After ordering your burger, as the waiter begin to bombard you with adding extra cheese and bacon, just say no! If you do prefer having some add-ons, ketchup, mustard and pickles are healthier choices. If there are fresh vegetable add-ons, choose those.
Choosing your size
Double beef, double size, and value size are just marketing tools that entice you to spend a little more. Avoid falling into these traps. Meanwhile, a serving size of meat is about 2 to 3 oz, just about the size of a deck of cards. In many places, even a regular burger with a single patty exceeds that serving size.
Smart choice: Order the “regular” burger on the menu. Just say no to add-ons. Also, when it exceeds a serving of meat, it is smart to ask the server to pre-cut the burger in half so that you can easily share it with a friend..
Choosing your side
This is the part that can easily add calories onto your plate since a large fries can quickly add another 500 calories onto your meal! Fortunately, the side is also very easy to control.
Smart choices: Like many people I know, my lunch breaks are short. Why waste time eating the sides? Skip it and dig right into the burger. However, if you do prefer a side, order a small salad or baked potato instead.
Choosing your drink
Ah h…the sugar drinks, I don’t know why but a burger begs for fizzy drinks which can come with loads of sugar.
Smart choices: Order soda water, just water, or diet soda
Choosing your after-burger activities
No, you don’t need to spend the rest of the day in the gym to work off the calories, but do plan on being more active that day. Here are some activities from Good Housekeeping that can burn 100 calories.
Smart choices: 15 minutes – climbing up and down your stairs, 20 minutes – power walk, 25 minutes – a serious Ping-pong match, 30 minutes – sweeping the floors, 35 minute – playing catch with your kids, 40 minutes – window shopping.
A good burger is satisfying, but a healthful burger is worth celebrating. Do remember this, burgers are not low-fat or low calorie food. Therefore, I recommend that no one should over- indulge in this delectable bite. Moreover, keep it to the basics, share it with someone, and plan to work off the extra calories. These are the keys to having your burger and eating it too.
~Lunch on.Pin It