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Lighten Up Your Burger This Summer

Warmer weather is here and that means grilling season is upon us. Whether it is a family cookout or pool party, you’ll probably find yourself grilling hamburgers at some point. Unfortunately, that juicy cheeseburger you love can mean additional calories. Cooper Clinic Registered Dietitian Cynthanne Duryea compares the nutrition facts of two burgers: one classic burger that’s 80 percent lean and 20 percent fat and a healthier alternative that’s 93 percent lean and 7 percent fat. You can also see the differences in white vs. wheat buns and full-fat cheese vs. thinly sliced cheese.

Classic Burger

Item Measure Protein Carbs (g) Fat (g) Sat Fat (g) Fiber (g) Calories (g)
80/20 Broiled  beef patty 4 oz. 29 0 20 8 0 306
White Bun 1 5 29 2 0 1 150
Full Fat Cheese 1 slice (20g) 5 0 7 4 0 80
Mayo 1 Tbsp 0 0 10 2 0 90
Total 39 29 39 13 1 626


Healthier Alternative

Item Measure Protein Carbs (g) Fat (g) Sat Fat (g) Fiber (g) Calories (g)
93/7 Broiled beef patty 4 oz. 30 0 10 4 0 219
100% Whole Wheat Hamburger Bun 1 3 12 1 0 3 64
Sharp Cheddar with 2% Milk, Thin Sliced 1 slice


5 0 5 3 0 63
Classic Yellow Mustard 1 Tbsp 0 3 0 0 0 0
Total 38 15 16 7 3 346



Both examples above are great alternatives to your basic burger and can save you an additional 280 calories. From the whole wheat bun to the mayo and mustard switch, this burger seems just as delicious as the one with more calories.

If you are looking for an alternative to a beef patty, here are some other options our Cooper Clinic dietitians recommend:

  • Jennie-O 93% lean ground turkey
  • Dr Praeger’s California Veggie Burgers
  • Whole Foods 365 Meatless Burgers
  • Trader Joe’s Quinoa Cowboy Veggie Burgers with Black Beans and Roasted Corn
  • Morning Star Farm Grillers Original Burgers

Nutrition doesn’t stop at just the bun, meat and cheese. What you put on top of your burger is important, too. Toppings that add both flavor and nutrition can go beyond just pickles and condiments. Some great nutrient-rich toppings include:

  • Spinach leaves
  • Sliced tomato
  • Sun dried tomatoes
  • Sliced avocado
  • Sliced olives
  • Salsa (mango or traditional)
  • Cilantro
  • Basil
  • Red onion
  • Sliced bell pepper
  • Poached egg

Now that you have the entire scoop on how to cut the calories and boost the nutrition in your favorite burger, go out and fire up the grill!

Categories: Cooper Updates
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