Trends & Insights
Serving Up A Healthy and Craveable Burger
Tuesday, July 12, 2016
In times of growing health awareness, operators across segments are seeking ways to make food great tasting and craveable as well as better for you. That is especially true of burgers, which are consumed by the billions in America but often a member of the high-fat, high-sodium club.
But it’s not impossible to make burgers healthier without forsaking flavor. One way is to keep it pure and simple: Start with good, fresh beef, or a high-quality, fully cooked beef patty, and limit high-sodium, high-fat cheeses and condiments. Instead, top burgers with fresh produce, herbs, spices and low-cal toppings liberally for flavoring oomph.
Garnishing a burger with fresh ingredients can boost the appeal of these items as well, as can offering healthier side dishes as a customizable option.
Adding heat on the palate with chilies, hot sauce or salsa is another way to ratchet up the flavor of a burger without excess fat grams and calories. Better-burger concept Smashburger menus a Spicy Jalapeno Baja burger, which includes jalapenos, guacamole and pepper jack cheese. And Back Alley Burger takes heat to the next level with its Most Insanest Hottest Burger Ever-Est, featuring habanero jam, fried jalapenos, Thai chili cream cheese and a cayenne pepper-infused bun.
The versatility of the burger also makes it the perfect platform for healthier global flavors that are trendy today. For example, for a Greek-inspired burger, try cucumber, tomato and light topping of kalamata olive relish and feta cheese. Or explore the vast array of Asian flavorings available, too--everything from teriyaki to pickled ginger to wasabi slaw.
With a little forethought and imagination, it’s easy to serve great-tasting burgers that don’t bust the dietary budget and bring customers back. Some operators are aiming for the entree nutrient profile of Partnership for a Healthier America, which calls for entrees to have no more than 525 calories, 10 percent or fewer calories from saturated fat, no artificial trans fat and 600 or fewer milligrams of sodium.