Learn the nutritional facts of America’s favorite food and discover ways to make your own healthy burgers at home.
When it comes to food, nothing quite symbolizes American cuisine like the hamburger.
Whether flame-grilled at home or served with a side of fries at both fast food and upscale restaurants alike, hamburgers are a beloved staple and naming it one of America’s top foods is no exaggeration.
It is estimated we eat 50 billion burgers per year, which clocks in at roughly 156 per person.
Comparing fast-food hamburger nutrition facts
While hamburger meat packs a decent amount of protein and iron, hamburgers as a whole are not exactly considered healthy food.
Usually sandwiched between refined white wheat buns and slathered with processed condiments, a single hamburger can deliver an unhealthy amount of sodium, fat, and sugar.
Before you think of swinging by the drive-thru to grab your next hamburger, consider comparing the nutritional facts of a single or double patty burger, complete with bun, pickles, onions, ketchup, and mustard, among three leading national hamburger chains.
Keep this in mind at the drive-thru
Remember that as the number of ingredients that come with your burger add up, so do the calories, fat, and sodium. A double-patty or quarter-pound patty will pile on the calories much quicker than the single patty option.
Fast-food burgers may not be great for your health, but there is no reason to necessarily give them up as a once-in-a-while meal.
Making healthy burgers at home
Preparing your own burgers at home is a cinch when using creative ingredient swaps that can actually promote your health.
Swapping out the typically used 80% lean ground beef for 95% lean beef can easily slash your saturated fat intake from 4.9g down to 2.8g in a 3 oz. patty without sacrificing tons of flavor.
Or consider using 99% fat-free turkey, a protein-filled but much leaner option which provides only 0.57g of saturated fat – and leave out the butter or oil while cooking to keep calories low.
Encase your patty with a whole grain bun for an extra dose of fiber. Want to forgo the bun entirely? Wrap your burger with iceberg, butter, or romaine lettuce for a lighter option.
As for toppings, look for ketchup that is lower in sugar and free of high fructose corn syrup, and stay away from sweetened mustards. Consider garnishing your patty with healthy options like avocado, red onion, arugula, or sauteed mushrooms instead.
Burgers may be synonymous with meat, but actually, there are countless ways to prepare burgers made of nourishing plant foods using a combination of chopped vegetables, cooked grains and legumes, spices, fresh herbs, and ground oats, chopped nuts, or breadcrumbs.
Zesty Black Bean Burger
Makes 6 patties
2 (14 ounce) cans black beans, drained, rinsed, and patted dry
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup finely chopped bell pepper (1/2 of a pepper)
1 cup finely chopped yellow onion (1/2 of a large onion)
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 cup bread crumbs or oat flour
1/2 cup feta cheese
- Preheat the oven to 325F. Spread beans evenly onto a lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes until slightly dried out.
2. Meanwhile, sauté olive oil, chopped pepper, onion, and garlic over medium heat until peppers and onions are soft, about 5-6 minutes or until moist of the moisture has evaporated. Place in a large bowl or in a food processor with the remaining ingredients (cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, bread crumbs, cheese, eggs, salt, and pepper). Stir or pulse everything together, then add the black beans. Mash with a fork or pulse the mixture, leaving some larger chunks of beans.
3. Form into patties– about 1/3 cup of mixture in each.
4. To bake: Place patties on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake at 375°F for 10 minutes on each side, 20 minutes total.
5. Serve with your favorite toppings. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Nutrition Facts (Nutritionix)
· Calories : 587
· Total fat : 9.2g
· Saturated fat: 3.4g
· Sodium: 240mg
· Protein: 35g
· Carb: 95g
· Iron ( if available): 46% daily value
Makes 6 patties
3 medium beets, peeled (about 2 cups)
1 cup almonds
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup ground flax seed
2 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup white beans
Preheat the oven to 375F and line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper.
Finely grate the beets and set aside. Add the almonds, oats, flax, garlic, all dry spices, and salt to a food processor. Process until a slightly coarse flour forms.
Add the shredded beets and beans to the food processor and blend until combined, scraping the sides of the device with a spatula as necessary.
Scoop out the burger “batter” to form patties and then place on a baking tray.
Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, then flip the burgers and bake for another 15-20 minutes, until the edges are crispy and slightly browned.
Nutrition facts (Nutrionix)
· Calories : 321
· Total fat: 15g
· Saturated fat: 1.3g
· Sodium: 334mg
· Protein: 15g
· Carb: 36g
· Iron ( if available): 31%
Lean Turkey Burger
Makes 4 patties
Canola oil for cooking
1 lb 99% lean ground turkey
1.5 Tbsp soy sauce
¼ cup onion, diced finely
½ tsp garlic powder
1 cup shredded carrots
¾ cup green pepper, chopped small
Black pepper to taste
1) Combine all ingredients except oil in a medium bowl.
2) Form patties and set aside.
3) Heat oil in a large skillet on medium heat.
4) When oil is heated, place patties into the skillet to cook through, 3 to 4 minutes per side.
Nutrition facts (Nutrionix)
· Calories : 202 cal
· Total fat: 7.1g
· Saturated fat: 1.2g
· Sodium: 427mg
· Protein: 29g
· Carb: 5.8g
· Iron ( if available): 8% daily value