Edit ModuleShow Tags
Published:

“Nutrify" That Dish! Spotlight on Cheeseburgers



Food & Nutrition | Stone Soup | “Nutrify" That Dish! Spotlight on Cheeseburgers

Photo: Thinkstock/Bartosz Luczak


Cheeseburgers are delicious! There’s something magical about that ground beef patty when it’s been lovingly grilled and topped with perfectly melted cheese!  Eating it plops us right in our happy place.

While there’s no shame whatsoever in enjoying that cheeseburger, sometimes it’s nice to go a little lighter. You can do just that by a using little process I like to call “nutrifying.”

“Nutrifying” is about how you can make small changes to your favorite foods to make them a little more nutritious. You likely do this already — remember when you swapped in that Greek yogurt for sour cream? That’s “nutrifying!” And good news — nutrifying isn’t about food shaming or sacrificing flavor. No way — I love food, all of it. Instead, “nutrifying” is all about celebrating the food in a new way, one that honors its flavor and natural goodness!

Now, back to that cheeseburger. Should you choose to “nutrify” it, let me break down the process, step-by-step!

Step 1: Ingredients 

Let’s look at what most burgers are made of — ground beef that usually has plenty of fat mixed in so that you get a moist bite every time. Luckily, you have options here, and you can find one that works for you.

Option 1: Swap it out. Replace up to three quarters of the 80 to 85 percent lean ground beef (chuck or round) with leaner, 90 percent ground turkey or ground sirloin, but know that the leaner the patty, the drier it will be.

Option 2: Go “half-sies.” Jump on the veggie burger bandwagon! Replace up to half of your patty with chopped mushrooms. Sound crazy? It’s not. Mushrooms add not only moisture, but plenty of umami! It’s the perfect way to balance out that burger.

Step 2: Instructions 

Most recipes call for simply shaping the ground beef into patties and cooking. If you’re using leaner meats, you’ll have to adjust a few things to accommodate your swaps. 

Modification 1: Regardless of what you decide to do with the ingredients, handle your farce (the meat/veg mixture) with care. That means gently mixing with your hands and not over-working it. Too much will lead to a tough burger.

Modification 2: Since you’re adjusting the amount and type of meat in your burger, you may want to consider adding seasoning. Yes, you’ll need salt and pepper, but also think about adding a little bit of Worcestershire sauce, garlic or garlic powder, minced onions or herbs and spices such as oregano, thyme, chili powder, cumin or curry powder.

Step 3: Cooking 

How are you cooking that patty? If you’re adding ground turkey into the mix, you’re going to have to cook those burgers to 165°F, so you’ll need a few tricks up your sleeve to prevent them from turning into hockey pucks!

Cooking Tip 1: Shape equally sized patties that aren’t too thick, then make a thumb size indentation into the middle of each burger. These adjustments allow the burgers to cook more evenly and at the same rate, and that indentation helps ensure you’ll end up with a flat burger, not one with a huge mound in the center.

Cooking Tip 2: Adjust time and heat. Burgers don’t take that long to cook, and that means staying close and not messing with them — no smashing! If you’re grilling, make sure the fire in your grill isn’t raging— that will scorch your burgers. Instead, go with a high heat, well-oiled grill, cook for a few minutes on each side, then move to a less hot part of the grill to finish cooking for a few additional minutes.

Step 4: The Cheese

Did you think I would forget the cheese? No way! But let’s try these ideas instead of that slice of American:

Cheese Idea 1: Mix a bit of shredded sharp cheddar or feta into the burger farce. This is a delicious way to ensure cheese in every bite.

Cheese Idea 2: Top with a flavorful cheese — because that means you’ll need less. I love sharp cheddar, feta cheese, blue cheese and parmesan cheese for burgers.

Craving a burger now? “Nutrify” it using the guidance above, and you’ll be back in your happy place in no time!


Sara Haas, RDN, LDNSara Haas RDN, LDN, is a Chicago-based dietitian and chef. Find her recipes on her site, and connect with her on FacebookInstagram and Twitter

Edit Module

More Stone Soup

My Gluten-Free, Vegetarian Passover Menu

My Gluten-Free, Vegetarian Passover Menu

My husband and I are mostly vegetarian, my sister-in-law is gluten-free and allergic to coconut, my dad is a traditional meat-eating guy, and the four children are as picky as you'd expect. Here's how I sort through the chaos and create a modified Passover dinner to meet everybody's needs.
Launching a Healthier Lifestyle for My Family

Launching a Healthier Lifestyle for My Family

Recently, I came up with an eating plan for my family that I've termed Dietitian's Husband Unrefined. It's an idea that has been brewing in our house for a few years.
Slurp Your Veggies with Roasted Cauliflower Soup

Slurp Your Veggies with Roasted Cauliflower Soup

In my unending quest to get people to eat more veggies, I'm always trying to think of more ways to get those veggies to taste delicious. I have two favorite methods for making it easier to eat—and actually want to eat—more vegetables: 1) Making a soup full of vegetables; and 2) Roasting vegetables. But when you combine those two methods, you get a result that is nothing short of delectable!
Finding Good Sources of Protein

Finding Good Sources of Protein

Are you getting enough — or way too much? Do you think about where protein comes from?
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Advertise with Food & Nutrition
Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags


Stone Soup

Guest bloggers from around the world share with Food & Nutrition Magazine.

About This Blog

Stone Soup is a guest blog written by members of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Content — including information, recipes and views expressed — is that of the authors and does not reflect the positions or policies of Food & Nutrition Magazine or the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Bloggers are required to pledge they will not write for Stone Soup on topics, companies or trade organization they currently represent or have represented at any time.

Learn about our guest blogs!

Comments Policy

Food & Nutrition Magazine provides this forum to exchange ideas, opinions and contributions within a positive community. Diverse viewpoints and constructive, respectful dialogue are welcome. Rudeness, misinformation, self-promotion and abuse are not. We reserve the right, without warning or notification, to remove comments and block users we determine violate this policy or our Terms & Conditions. You must include your name or be logged into a personal account on Disqus, Facebook, Twitter or Google+ to comment.

Archives

Edit Module

Get Stone Soup in Your RSS

Use your RSS reader's instructions to add Stone Soup to your list:

Atom Feed Subscribe to the Stone Soup Feed »

Get Our Blogs in Your Email

Stone Soup
Student Scoop