What makes a better burger? Healthy ingredients and smart cooking. Be sure to check the Delicious Living archives for healthy-ingredient burgers, including Grilled Thai Salmon Burgers with Peanut Sauce, Blueberry-Flax Turkey Burgers, Southwestern Bison Burger with Chipotle Mayo (pictured), and lots more. And use these tips for to build a better-for-you burger.
1. Choose organic and/or grass-fed meat. You'll do yourself and your family a favor with meat that's raised without antibiotics or hormones. Grass-fed beef and bison also contain more healthy fats (CLA) than grain-fed beef.
2. Stretch with healthy fillers. Using ground flaxseed, whole-wheat breadcrumbs, chopped sauteed mushrooms, and tons of fresh herbs make ground meats go further and add valuable nutrients.
3. Round out with fresh stuff. Buns tend to be refined carbs--tasty but lacking nutritional punch. Instead, serve burgers on top of salad greens with a great chutney or guacamole (try my recipe for Easy, Foolproof Guacamole), plus lots of sliced red onion, tomato, the works.
4. Cook thoroughly but don't char. Blackened meat may harbor carcinogens, so cook meat until cooked through but not charred. (Use a meat thermometer to test for doneness, or simply cut into a burger to see that it's cooked through.)
Check out these burger stats from market-research NPD Group's National Eating Trends.
> Burgers are the number-one food grilled at home (steak was number one in 1998), but burgers are the least likely food to be prepared at home.
> In 2009, the per capita in-home burger consumption was 12; at restaurants it was 30.5.
> 9.5 billion burgers were ordered in restaurants in 2009, compared with 8.5 billion in 2005.
> A soft drink, burger, and fries is the most popular restaurant meal in America.
> Burgers rank #3 among the top food men order and are the #3 lunch food ordered by women.