But I Just Want A Cheeseburger!?

by in Dining Out, Healthy Tips, March 19, 2009

I don’t eat a lot of red meat, but when the craving strikes, I won’t deprive myself. Here are a few ideas for ordering a dreamy burger while avoiding a calorie nightmare.

Nutrition Lowdown
Many of your favorite restaurant cheeseburgers tip the scales at 1,100 calories and 75 grams of fat (that’s more than a days worth!). You can shave off calories and fat immediately just by making your own burgers with 3 to 4 ounces of lean ground beef — or cutting down the restaurant burger to that size. Beef is a great source of protein and iron; lean varieties have all these nutrients and less artery-clogging saturated fat.

Resist the Temptation to “Supersize”
No need to order the 5-pound burger — the smaller, the better (kid’s menu, anyone?). Be smart and pass on the mound of fries and gallon of soda (classic companions to a juicy burger). So your burger isn’t lonely, order up a side salad or some steamed veggies. If your burger just isn’t the same without the fries (I hear ya!), make sure you split the order with a buddy or two.

Lighter Burger Options
Lighter alternatives to beef include ground turkey, chicken or bison. Sometimes cheeseburgers come on 300-calorie buns; see if you can have your burger on an English muffin or sliced bread instead. Ask if there is low-fat cheese (every little bit helps), skip the bacon and steer clear of mayo and “special sauce” (which might be a sodium, sugar and fat nightmare) — go for low-fat condiments such as ketchup, mustard, relish or pickles.

[Photo by Tom Censani]

TELL US: What’s your favorite low-cal way to prep a burger?

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Comments (47)

  1. Linda says:

    I use ground sirloin when making burgers. Instead of a roll I use whole wheat Pita bread. My family enjoys it this way and it isn’t as heavy using pita instead of rolls.

  2. bea says:

    the turkey meat is healthy if you only use the white part of the turkey otherwise it is the same as using ground beef

  3. Cammy says:

    I make cajun turkey burgers.. Fresh ground pepper, onion powder, garlic powder,a little salt, and cayenne pepper! mmm… yummy :)

  4. Bev says:

    I buy the 90/10 Beef Patties already made, 4 oz. each (quarter pounders) for 5 ww points. Grill them with some Ranch Dressing/dry, pepper & then top with some low fat sharp cheddar. Place between Arnolds Sandwich thins for an awesome, huge and flavorful burger that will kill any “red meat” craving! Total points for entire thing 7! Of course adding some onion (sweet vidalia when in season is my fave) and tomato and lettuce helps get in those veggies!

  5. Bev says:

    Kim, the peanut butter thing sounds just strange enough to be good! LOL I’m trying it with the next burgers! Thanks! (Reduced fat PB of course)

  6. Stacie says:

    All these suggestions are great if you are cooking at home, but I've got to endulge in a professionally constructed burger sometimes. So I make it a rare therefore occasional treat – about once every other paycheck. It's just got to be full-fleged and a real "contender" sometimes. This sates the craving and completes the soul's needs enough to resist the "light-weight" replacements.

  7. phillycook says:


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