8 Ways To Trim Calories From Your Burger

A man's hands holding a burgerWhile some people will choose to simply enjoy an occasional calorie splurge without worrying about the consequences, there are many of us who are eager to find ways to indulge without ruining our diet. It’s easy to save calories when you’re hosting your own cookout; it’s a bit harder when you’re just a guest at someone else’s place.

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Here are a few tips and tricks to keep the calorie count low while still enjoying this delicious summer treat.

Better Cheeses

Cheddar is one of the most common cheeses used on burgers, but it averages about 105 calories per slice. And if you like a richer cheese like gruyère, expect even more. If you can live with just a hamburger, you’re already cutting over 100 calories alone with the absence of cheese. If you can’t live without it, go for a lighter option, like low-fat mozzarella or goat cheese. These cheeses contain fewer calories as well as less fat and sodium.

Swap Meat With Mushrooms

If you’re concerned about calorie and saturated fat content, try replacing half the meat with finely chopped mushrooms. The mushrooms have a nice, hearty texture that goes well with ground turkey or beef, so you won’t notice the difference. Plus, they’ll add a healthy punch of B vitamins and fill-you-up fiber.

Other Meats

Traditional beef patties alone can contain 380 calories and are loaded with saturated fat. If you like beef and want to stick with it, go for a leaner version and slash 100 calories right there. Other patty options include turkey burgers that contain less than half of the calories in a beef patty, along with a lower fat percentage. Buffalo and chicken burgers are other great meat options as well.

Rethink Your Bun

Your average hamburger bun can really up the impact of a burger. Many come packed with 236 “empty” calories in a normal, white-bread bun. You can save even more calories by swapping in whole-wheat English muffins for your standard hamburger bun. This simple switch will save you 121 calories—and net you an extra 2 grams of fiber to boot! If you’re in a restaurant or are a guest at someone’s house, try scooping out the inside of the bun. By doing so, you can reduce your calorie intake by 25%—a savings of about 59 calories!

Get Handy

To keep portions in check, make your burger patties no bigger than the palm of your hand. If you love cheeseburgers, make them a bit smaller then load up on veggies.

Add Avocado

You won’t slash any calories with this trick, but you’ll get your fill of heart-healthy, monounsaturated fats–and you may be less likely to go back for seconds. To amp up the flavor, I love topping a burger made with lean ground beef with creamy slices of avocado. You can also make a super-quick guacamole topping, she adds, by mashing avocado in a bowl with a spoonful of fresh salsa.

Hold The Mayo, Pass The Mustard

Nix the high-calorie mayonnaise, and opt for whole-grain or hot and sweet mustard instead. Smokey sweet grilled onions also add tons of flavor without calories.

Want Fries With That?

Eat your burger over a bed of salad instead of on a bun, and enjoy a (small) starchy side, guilt-free.