Yes, There Is Such a Thing As a Healthy Burger, and Here’s How to Build It

When you’re shopping for ground beef, you’ll see packages labeled with the ratio of lean to fat in the meat—80/20 or 90/10, for instance. Typically, ground beef with 80 percent lean and 20 percent fat makes the juiciest burgers; a four-ounce patty has 306 calories and 8 grams of saturated fat. Using 90 percent lean/10 percent fat ground beef can save you calories and fat; four ounces has 245 calories and 5 grams of saturated fat.

But lean ground beef dries out easily. To add back some juiciness without upping the calories or saturated fat, replace up to one-third of the meat with a purée of sautéed or roasted mushrooms and onions, says Todd Seyfarth, MS, RD, a culinary nutritionist and associate professor at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI.

Another option: Replace 20 percent of the meat with cooked cracked bulgur wheat. It has a similar texture to ground beef and doesn’t impart any dramatic flavors, Seyfarth says. “Making the burgers ahead of time and refrigerating them overnight will make them a little easier to cook,” he says.