How to Build a Healthier Burger

 burgers on the grill

We are going to build a healthier burger: for this we are going to grill a barbecue bacon cheese burger. We have a few tweaks to make this hamburger slightly better for you, so if you’re looking for some sort of tofu burger wrapped in kale you will need to look elsewhere. We are simply attempting to cut calories and fat while keeping the delicious cheeseburger flavor.

The backbone of any burger is the ground meat so that is where we will begin. For this example we are using ground chuck in an 8 ounce serving it has 520 calories. So instead of replacing it completely we will be cutting it 50/50 with ground turkey. This will still give us a great burger taste while cutting around 100 calories and 10 grams of fat. This change is the biggest and I hardly notice the difference, you can start with a 30/70 mix to see how you like it and work your way up. This is the entire foundation of our healthier burger.

Now we turn our attention to the cheese. Typically a slice of cheddar cheese has 113 calories and 9 grams of fat. If we swap that out for a thin sliced sharp cheddar we will lose very little in the way of taste and save around 70 calories and 6 grams of fat. The sharp cheddar provides a stronger flavor to off-set the thinner slice.

turkey bacon on the grill

Now onto the bacon. A normal slice of bacon has 43 calories and 3 grams of fat at the least we use 2 slices so we can double that. While you can do the same thing as with the cheese and use a thinner sliced bacon, however I am good with turkey bacon on this. Learn how to grill turkey bacon here. If made properly it still packs that salty crunch I am looking for from my bacon. This will save 23 calories and 1 gram of fat. If the small calorie and fat offset is not enough for you just stick with the regular bacon.

The calories barbecue sauce is around a minuscule 30 per tablespoon. So you can leave this alone or spread it a little thinner.

I also top my burgers with lettuce and tomato we won’t mess with the tomato. We can add some nutritional value for swapping the iceberg lettuce out for romaine while keeping the calorie count the same.

Eating a healthier burger

The bun: A typical white bread hamburger bun has 120 calories and 2 grams of fat. While a whole wheat bun has 260 calories and 9 grams of fat. So stick with the white bread here. On a side note: have you tried the Ballpark brand buns? They are terrific for a store-bought bun.

If you were to do everything we listed here your healthier burger would have 200 fewer calories and 17 less grams of fat. Not to bad for something that would have had over 800 calories to begin with.

About the author: Mike is the owner of, a Certified Food Safety Professional and KCBS member. I love me a good burger. If your ever in Akron craving a great burger try Bob’s Hamburg.

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