What goes on your mind when you think about the burger? To many, it’s one of the most sinful foods out there, and many Americans indulge in it. It’s one of the most sinful foods on the planet due to how it contributes to obesity.
If you’re thinking of a topping for your hamburger, it won’t hurt if you choose healthily. Tomatoes, cheeses, greens, onions, and even mushrooms are some of the best. Chiles, pickles, poached egg, avocado, pineapples, and bell peppers work too. As long as you know how to work them with your burger, they’ll be super tasty.
If you’re looking to be healthy, these are the right ingredients for you. Even with all these ingredients, you need to know how to make the best of them. You don’t only pile them on top of each other; instead, you build that hamburger into something you’ll enjoy.
Let’s see what you can do.
Trying to Eat Healthy With a Burger
Before you pick your ingredients, you need to establish a few ground rules. Trying to eat healthily can be a problem if you’re eating a burger. What you put in your hamburger accumulates in you.
Calories. Fats. Sodium. Sugars.
You need to balance out what you use as a topping for your burger so you can cut down. You want to control not only the ingredients in their raw state but how you treat them.
A good example is a mayonnaise. If you’re using mayo, 2 tablespoons (28.3 g) of the stuff already put you at 188 calories. That doesn’t count the saturated fats and sodium in the mayonnaise.
Another one is bacon. Bacon is delicious and, in all seriousness, it’s hard to catch us not topping it on our burgers. Two slices, some blue cheese, a nice thick patty with potato rolls are heaven for us.
Even then, that entire burger will put us at 700 – 800 calories for a small burger. If you want your burger not to be a gut buster, you need a careful audit of ingredients. There are a few easy ways to do it.
Keeping Your Burger as Healthy as Possible
When looking over your food, keep as few processed types of meat as possible. Processed meats contain a lot of nitrates that can put you over the edge quick.
As for the toppings, fresh and raw is a usual solid choice. Fresh veggies and fruits will have all the vitamins and minerals that are good for your body. The fiber will also aid you in your digestion.
Try to do as little as possible with your toppings. The problem with a lot of toppings is they’re healthy until they undergo some processing too. Many of these cooking techniques add extra flavors but can add fats or sodium.
Carrots and cabbage, for example, taste awesome and are almost lacking in calories. Once you convert them to coleslaw, you’re looking at 70 calories for 3 tablespoons.
When putting this into consideration, you want to have as fresh ingredients as you can. You can do some changes here and there. Too much processing can pile on the unhealthy gunk on top of each other.
With that in mind, here are 11 healthy toppings for your hamburger and how you can make the most out of them.
Tomatoes are some of the most delicious burger toppings out there. They’re fresh and healthy and add a lot of juice to your hamburger. A tomato gives a pleasant, refreshing taste to your burger.
What we love about tomatoes, however, is its health benefits. Tomatoes are a significant source for the antioxidant lycopene, which gives different benefits. Lycopene can reduce your risk of heart disease.
A slice of tomato also has minimal calories and has different vitamins with every bite. They’re a great source of vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, and folate (vitamin B). How much of each does every fruit have?
One medium tomato will have 28% RDI of vitamin C. This vitamin helps improve the development of all your body tissues. It promotes many different functions, including improving your immune system and bone maintenance.
The Reference Daily Intake (RDI) used in nutrition labeling on food and dietary supplement products in the U.S. and Canada is the daily intake level of a nutrient that is considered to be sufficient to meet the requirements of 97–98% of healthy individuals in every demographic in the United States. While developed for the US population, it has been adopted by other countries, though not universally.Wikipedia
How to Prepare Tomatoes for Burgers?
If you want to make your burgers tastier, a sweet tomato slice will make it delicious. Heirloom tomatoes give an excellent and sweet flavor profile. Beefsteak tomatoes (beef tomatoes) are also plump and superb enough to add a rich taste.
Some people, however, don’t like raw tomatoes on their burgers. There are other ways you can enjoy the benefits of these burger toppings.
For starters, you can roast or sundry tomatoes to remove the extra moisture. This will also pull out the umami flavor of fruits, which goes well with cheeses. Some pico de gallo or salsa with spicy chiles can give you a different experience.
Cheese is the quintessential partner of hamburgers. Almost every burger in existence gets much better if you add some cheese to it. It adds a new dimension of richness to the burger patty, and every bite is an exciting moment.
What makes cheese great is the change in texture. Every cheese has its flavor, and it can give you specific experiences.
It’s hard to imagine burgers without cheese. It’s the perfect culinary partner for burgers, and it has its set of benefits that encourage palates. These benefits are not only going to taste but to body growth too.
Eating cheese every day gives your daily allowance for calcium, protein, vitamin A, B12, and zinc. With the calcium, it can help give you stronger bones and teeth and even prevent osteoporosis.
How to Prepare Cheese for Burgers?
When adding cheese, you want to make sure you take it in moderation. A slice or two of sliced cheese should be enough or two tablespoons of the stuff. There are a few ways that can help make your cheeses for your burger tastier.
For starters, find cheese that has good moisture content. What makes a good cheese for hamburgers is that it has enough moisture to allow even melting. This makes the burgers creamier and more luxurious with every bite.
American cheese is a perfect pick and has good meltability, but it lacks flavor. Cheddar cheese is the bare minimum you want as it embodies good meltability and robust flavor. You want to pick a cheese with good moisture content and is not too dry to the touch.
Sharp jack cheese and blue cheese are also a solid pick in moderation. They have a delicious mouthfeel and blends well with your meat.
3. Greens/Green Leafy Vegetables
Green, leafy vegetables are among the most common toppings for hamburgers. Lettuce, arugula, and watercress offer a savory, crunchy experience. It cuts down on the grease factor of the burger, making it more appealing as you eat.
Greens have always been a standard in veggies. They add an extra dimension to our burgers by keeping the meaty flavors in check. They’re also ultra-healthy beyond belief.
Almost all green, leafy veggies have calcium in them. They are rich in iron and folate, which is excellent for the body and blood circulation. Greens are rich in vitamins A, E, C, and K.
What makes greens better is the lack of calories. Veggies are between 0 – 5 calories even in higher volumes. As long as you give them the right treatment, green, leafy veggies will keep the calories down.
How to Prepare Greens for Burgers?
The best use for green, leafy vegetables on burgers is to use them fresh and raw. All you need to do is give them a good wash, cut into manageable pieces, and you’re good. If there are stems you need to remove, do so.
Iceberg lettuce is excellent as it is cheap and ultra-sweet. It goes well with many of the most common ingredients you use in hamburgers. Romaine lettuce is the same but is easier to wilt, so you want to add and serve ASAP.
Arugula adds a rich, earthy flavor profile that goes well with cheeses and refreshes the palate. Kale is refreshing and can be extra crispy if you give it a quick bake in the oven. Mizuna or Japanese mustard greens give you some natural, spicy kick.
If you want to add a bit of extra flavor, you can use some salad dressing or vinaigrette. A quick drizzle should give you a tang that can give you a superb time eating your burger.
Onions come with the hamburger. They’re delicious and sweet while improving the flavor and adding some zinc. Whether you pick white, brown, or red onions, you can enjoy some delightful onion goodness the same way. It’s so good that even the Oklahomans will not take a burger unless some onion is on it.
The health benefits of onions are undeniable too. These bulbs come packed with nutrients with minimal calories with every bite.
Onions are rich in vitamin B6, and B9 for better metabolism and RBC production. They also have superb amounts of vitamin C in every piece. Onion is a super heart-healthy and can help reduce your risk of heart problems in the future.
Red blood cells (RBCs), also referred to as red cells, red blood corpuscles, haematids, erythroid cells or erythrocytes (from Greek erythros for “red” and kytos for “hollow vessel”, with -cyte translated as “cell” in modern usage), are the most common type of blood cell and the vertebrate’s principal means of delivering oxygen (O2) to the body tissues—via blood flow through the circulatory system.Wikipedia
If you can get at least a slice of onion in your hamburgers, you should be in a good position.
How to Prepare Onions for Burgers?
Onions are delicious and nutritious. A slice of raw white onions should be enough to work with your burger patty. There are different ways you can make it better.
Caramelized onions, for example, are super sweet and would work superbly on your burgers. Fried onion strings can also give you some of that extra crunch. You need to be careful with fried onion strings, however, since this adds extra batter and oil.
Vidalia onions are some of the most pleasant onion varieties you can use on your burger. They are sweet and don’t have as much bite as red onions.
Mushrooms are some of the mild-tasting but delicious toppings for hamburgers. They give off a sweet, earthy flavor to your burger that balances the meatiness of your patty. Its umami flavors are off the charts and go well with other ingredients in your sandwich.
Why we love mushrooms as healthy toppings are their denseness. They can help you feel fuller faster without the extra calories. They give that delightful texture that is impossible to ignore if you like your burger bites.
All types of mushrooms contain some levels of fiber and protein content. If you want to double down on the protein for your burgers, mushrooms should give you that. Mushrooms also have B vitamins that provide you with energy and improve brain function.
What makes mushrooms awesome is selenium. Selenium plays a vital role in your immune system by reducing inflammation.
How to Prepare Mushrooms for Burgers?
There are different ways to enjoy mushrooms in your burger, depending on the style you want. The most famous is to use them raw in your burger. Raw button mushrooms, portobello, or even wild chanterelles should be excellent.
You can also make mushroom gravy by sweating your button mushrooms and cooking them on a nice roux. If you’re going for crunch, mushrooms roasted in olive oil should do the trick for you.
Chilies are a great burger topping for people who want to add some fiery spice to their burgers. They add a dash of exciting spice flavors on your burger, which gives it the right heat. If you’re the type who adds the hot sauce in your burger, it’s better if you start with chilies.
Hot peppers are a great fruit with vitamins and minerals. They have zero calories, so their health benefits are palpable. Spicy food also helps induce your appetite so that you enjoy them.
The health benefits of chiles include helping promote weight loss through improved metabolism. It promotes better eye health and helps the body fight through infections. With its vitamin C rich skin, hot peppers are exquisite toppings for burgers.
How to Prepare Chilies for Burgers?
If you’re looking to integrate chilies into your burger, adding a few chopped pieces should be enough. You can also add it with your other toppings like incorporating it in your salsa. Roasted red chili peppers should work great when you combine it with condiments.
There are also other ways to incorporate chilies into your burger. For starters, you can use kimchi to add a spicy, fermented flavor. You can even use roasted red pepper sauce and slather it on the patty too.
Pickles are almost quintessential in burgers. They give a tangy, sour snap to the hamburger, which is refreshing to the palate. It works well snugged under the patty, making it a sacred ingredient for burger fans.
There are many different pickles you can even use with your burger. Sure, the classic dill pickle is the best, but there are others too. Pickled radish and sauerkraut can help give you that deli-style Reuben taste.
Pickles are super healthy too. They ferment in a special brine that contains good cultures. These can help you move your diet better. Pickles are also rich in vitamin A and K for better eyesight.
Pickles are also low in calories and sugar while improving one’s appetite.
How to Prepare Pickles for Burgers?
When using pickles, do so in moderation because of their sodium content. There are different ways to serve pickles as hamburger topping, depending on how you want it.
Dill pickle chips are a great add-on and will give that remarkable zest. Pickle wedges can also do great by working with your burger’s cheeses.
If you’re looking to replace some other veggies, sauerkraut can work excellent with burgers. It will give that sour snappiness that some people love.
8. Poached Eggs
Eggs are hard to classify as healthy because of their different cooking methods. By adding butter to an egg, you fry it and make it far less healthy. You can’t eat it raw either, so you need to find a way to cook it.
Poached eggs are the healthiest way to enjoy an egg. By boiling a free egg in water and vinegar, you let it thicken and “cook”. This results in an oil-free egg with a delicious, runny center for a creamy treat.
Eggs in moderation are ultra-healthy. They are high in proteins and are rich sources of vitamin D, selenium, B6, B12, and other minerals.
How to Prepare Poached Eggs for Burgers?
When you use a poached egg, it’s best to add some salt and pepper to it for extra flavor. Poached eggs are notorious for not having enough flavor, so a dash of salt & pepper should do the trick.
There’s not much extra you can do with a poached egg. Unlike a fried egg, poaching is clear and straightforward, giving you the same one every time.
Avocados are the fruit of modern America and a healthy burger topping for all millennials. The fruit itself is a favorite among people because of its creaminess and thickness. It gives you a lot of ways to enjoy, and you can process it at any time.
The health benefits of avocado are clear too. Avocado is a rich source of a wide array of vitamins and minerals. This includes vitamins B6, C, E, K, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Experts say avocados have high cholesterol. Even then, this monounsaturated fat is right for you. Take it in moderation, and you should be good to go.
How to Prepare Avocado for Burgers?
Avocado is best used as a burger topping fresh and in thin slices. You can also spread it like a paste after you grind it into more homogenous pieces.
Another great way to enjoy your hamburgers is to use it traditionally. Turn that avocado into fun mealtime guacamole for everyone to enjoy.
Pineapples on pizza are a typical controversy even among its fans. Pineapple on hamburgers, however, is a stroke of little genius.
Pineapples are some of the best tasting tropical fruits out there. Its sweetness improves the quality of the beef while its juices help add sugar sites for a new reaction.
The health benefits of pineapples are astounding. Their vitamin C content can top off all your daily needs for a day, especially with vitamins A, E, K, and calcium.
How to Prepare Pineapples for Burgers?
If you plan on using pineapple as your topping, there are at least two common ways to use it. You can either choose to use it raw or roast the pineapple itself.
A raw slice of pineapple should be enough to give you a nice, juicy serving. It will provide you with a sweet burger that is both fruity and easy on the palate.
To get more out of the fruit sugars, char roast the pineapple on a grill or pan. By heating the pineapple, you start the Maillard reaction on the pineapple. This creates a sweeter, more complex flavor for your hamburger.
11. Bell Peppers
Bell peppers are not the same as chiles. They’re capsicum sure, but they offer a different flavor profile than their spicy counterparts. Bell peppers are savory, sweet, and earthy, depending on their color.
Bell peppers have almost zero spice, and they have more bite than zinc. They add some subtle textures that are hard to find in other burger toppings too.
Much like chiles, bell peppers are rich in vitamin C, and carotenoids. They improve eye health and can help reduce the risk of heart attack and specific cancers.
How to Prepare Bell Peppers for Burgers?
Bell peppers are hard to eat raw. They are best when you cook them light in olive oil or roast them in open fire. Fire-roasted bell peppers can help shed off their outer skin, which makes them sweeter.
When using bell peppers, you can also incorporate them into other mixtures like your salsa. It’s best to make them easy to swallow as the skin can be hard on the throat.
For burger lovers who want to stay healthy, finding the right options is the best. Healthy burger toppings can keep you in tip-top shape and cut down your risk for obesity. With the right toppings, you can stay fit while keeping your burger tasty.
When picking your toppings, all you need is to be considerate of the final product. Keep your calories low and cut down on the fatty stuff. There’s always a way to get delicious, mouthwatering burgers without the added calories.
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