Sure, burgers have received a pretty bad rap as of late, with rumors that claim red meat can be the cause of all sorts of ailments. Many nutritionists, however, contend that lean beef can be a great part of any diet. Registered dietician Nancy Anderson, for example, claims that though ground beef shouldn’t be eaten more than 2-3 times a week, it’s a great source of protein and iron. While the whole family enjoys a hearty, fatty burger, you may want to keep an eye on your family’s health by opting for the lean, healthy alternative or other healthy family recipes. However, many people have no clue how to cook a lean burger to make it just as luscious and delicious as its fatty counterparts. Don’t worry — there are plenty of tips that can help you trick your family into thinking they are eating the real deal.
Choosing the meat
All lean burgers start at the meat. Turkey burgers taste great and carry the same consistency as beef burgers. You could also try bison burgers or even veggie burgers if you’re feeling a bit adventurous.
- Turkey Burgers: Ground turkey, bread crumbs, onion, egg whites and garlic can be combined to make a mean turkey burger. Turkey burgers should reach an internal temperature of about 180F.
- Bison Burgers: If you want to go the bison burger route, look for 80-90% lean meat. Less than 10% fat may result in a dry burger. Cook your burger until it’s at least 160F internally. A continuous heat of about 475-500F will result in a well done bison burger.
- Veggie Burgers: Black beans, panko breadcrumbs, eggs, scallions, basil, garlic and various spices make a delicious black bean burger and red beets, black beans, and brown rice can be combined to make a burger with a strikingly beef-like consistency.
Cooking Tips for Lean Burgers
You could go with turkey, veggie, or bison burgers, but lean beef reigns supreme when it comes to the “healthy” burger. Lean meat is defined by the USDA as meat that has less than 10 grams of total fat, 4.5 grams or less of saturated fat, and less than 95 milligrams of cholesterol per 100-gram. All these factors combined and you have yourself a healthy burger. Keep these tips in mind if you want to cook up a lean burger tonight:
- Outdoor grilling is ideal for your meat to give it massive amounts of flavor and a juicy interior.
- Try to handle and shape your burgers as little as possible when making them into patties and never press down on your lean burgers as they cook. This will keep them nice and juicy.
- Leaner burgers require a lower cooking temperature and could be easier to cook with added ingredients, which help increase moisture. Ingredients that give you a bit of moisture include sauces, toppings, or add-ins. Use veggies like onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, and pickles, to give your burger some moisture.
- It doesn’t stop at the burger. If you pair your lean burger with French fries and a soda pop, you may be defeating the whole purpose of the meal. Instead, bake sweet potato fries and serve your dish with iced tea.
Next time you’re at the grill, try to prepare some family real recipes that aren’t saturated in fats. Make sure your family is taking in great, healthy meals for a healthy and happier lifestyle.