Best and Worst Burger Toppings

07/03/2013

Bbq_bacon_burger_daIf you're part of the 81 percent of Americans who fire up the grill on the 4th of July, it may be worth weighing your condiment options before loading up your burger.

Typical burger patties run anywhere from 90 to 200 calories, depending on the type of meat you use, and buns are about 120 calories. So a few not-so-slim toppings may put you over your calorie limit for the day. Follow our savvy seasonings guide to ensure a slimmer sandwich:

5 Best Toppings

Anything that comes from the garden: Lettuce, tomato, onions – you name it! – are smart burger toppings. With minimal calories, they add flavor without fat. Afraid your bun will be bland? Add some kick the low-calorie way. Try diet-friendly salsa for extra spice, grill leaves of romaine lettuce for a delicious charred taste, or sautee mushrooms with a splash of olive oil.

5-failed-mcdonalds-menu-items-4Feta cheese. One-eighth of a cup of feta is only 50 calories and all you need to give your burger a flavor explosion.

Grilled pineapple: Especially tasty with barbecue sauce, this fruit gets more delicious as it heats up. It's also full of potassium, a heart-healthy nutrient.

Avocado. An ounce of guacamole will cost you just 37 calories, and you'll get skin-helping vitamin E. It is important to use this condiment in moderation, though, as it's pretty caloric.

Mustard: With just 10 calories and an unmistakably delicious flavor, mustard is a winner. Ketchup is also a good bet with 15 calories – just be sure not to overdo it. Both condiments pack a good amount of salt.

4 Worst Toppings

Bacon_cheeseburger_da-1
Mayonnaise:
One tablespoon of regular mayonnaise contains nearly 100 calories and 10 grams of fat. Mustard and ketchup have more flavor, and will still go toe-to-toe with a dry bun.

Bacon: You probably don't need to be reminded that this delicious topping has dangerous levels of saturated fat and sodium. If you really can't do without the smoky taste, try bacon-infused mustard or other bacon-flavored products.

Blue cheese: With 85 calories and 335 mg of sodium, blue cheese isn't your best bet. Though the calories aren't out of control, the sodium is on the high end, and you can find other cheeses (American, Swiss, etc.) that are better for you.

Fried onions: While these may not be the first thing you reach for on the buffet, some people swear by these crunchy toppers. But they're not helping your diet. Though they're not super high in calories (just 45 for two tablespoons), they're empty calories. They contain no fiber, no protein, and no valuable nutrients at all!

By Mara Betsch

More on Grilling:

5 Healthy Meat Marinades

Low-Cal Burgers

7 Low-Calorie Summer Recipes


The Discovery Fit and Health team brings you the latest (and most interesting) health news as well as exclusive interviews, video clips, and other juicy tidbits from your favorite shows.
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