It’s no secret that the way to eating healthier is to make more of the food you eat yourself.
It must be hard for junk food these days. Once the bastion of childhood road trips, rainy weekends on the couch, and late night snacks on the way home from the pub, those guilty pleasures now have more to answer for. A lot more.
In an age where we have the science available to scrutinise every mouthful we eat, it’s not enough to simply taste good. It also has to be good. And possibly nowhere in the junk food world has the spotlight of health and wellbeing shine on it more than burgers. And rightly so. Burgers have such a strong foothold in the food landscape that it’s only natural we consider ways to reinvent them to reflect our changing views and habits around food. But are burgers healthy? Can something as iconic as Australian burgers from a roadside cafe deliver the same delicious taste without the unhealthy elements? Well, to give you food for thought—pun intended—let’s unpack this topic further.
It’s no secret that the way to eating healthier is to make more of the food you eat yourself. Regardless of the dish or cuisine you have in mind, if you make or cook it yourself you have far more control over what goes into the dish, as opposed to something bought in a restaurant or from a cafe. And when it comes to burgers, if you want to keep things on the healthier side, it’s a good idea to make them yourself.
And before you baulk at the idea and run out the door toward your favourite burger place, stop and think about what you love most about burgers. If you are one that enjoys a lot of salad in your burger, then you’re halfway to making a healthy burger. And when it comes to the patty, you don’t have to sacrifice taste just so you enjoy your meal without feeling racked with guilt. Instead of frying the chicken in breadcrumbs, why not grill it? We’ve become so adept at breaking down our meals in terms of calories and preservatives, why not apply that analytical mind and simply dissect what ingredients are in your burger? When you do that you can see exactly what is in it and make the necessary adjustments so that the final product is healthier.
The silver lining to us becoming more and more health conscious is that businesses are listening and making their own adjustments to better reflect what we want to eat. No matter the type of cuisine, there are options on the menu that appease even the strictest of diets. Burger restaurants especially have embraced this new outlook and have begun to offer alternatives to their traditional burgers that both taste great and tick all the nutritional boxes.
Well, maybe not all the boxes. While things such as fake meat patties can be healthier than real meat patties, it would be wrong to consider them free from judgement. Often you’ll find they are still high in things like sugar and saturated fats, both of which fuel some of the major criticisms toward burgers, and junk foods in general. You still have to keep your guard up and be vigilant.
That said, if you’re determined to continue enjoying burgers in a healthier way, it is certainly worth exploring all the different places that offer healthy versions of the classic burgers you know and love. What you might find is a burger that replaces the beef patty with a grilled piece of eggplant or mushroom, but doesn’t lose any of that big juicy taste. By opening your mind to different interpretations of classic burger recipes, you’ll find you’re able to take the healthier path without feeling as though you’ve wandered away from flavour country.
While it’s easy to get carried away with counting calories and interrogating every dish placed in front of us as though it had just been arrested on suspicion of murder, it’s important to remember that burgers were never created in the first place to be healthy. As cliche as it is, enjoying things in moderation is totally fine. Having a burger on occasion—in the grand scheme of things—won’t cause any major disruption to either your physical or your mental health. In fact, for the latter it can even be beneficial. If one of your favourite things is to meet once a fortnight with friends and have burgers on a friday night, then you should absolutely continue doing that. There’s little to gain from a militant diet if it is costing you fun and enjoyment and simply making you feel miserable and boring.
In the end, like most cuisines, it’s your personal approach that will decide whether the burger you eat is healthy or not. If you do enjoy eating burgers regularly then it is a great idea to explore healthier options, so that you do your body and conscience a favour. Even the smallest adjustments can help, from choosing a whole grain bun to keeping the fish fillet batter-free. But it’s also important to build a healthy diet around meals like burgers, so that the pressure to make them healthy isn’t so great. Doing that will mean you enjoy them for what they are, and enjoy them far more.
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