Bonfires and BBQ's are everywhere during the summer months. When it comes time to decide the menu and burgers are on the list, keep a few things in mind!
Mind Your Buns! The starch of the burger bun absorbs the necessary digestive enzymes naturally found in your stomach. Therefore, your body requires extra water to help break down and digest carbohydrates when you eat them. The absorbent properties of the burger bun also contributes to dehydration. The tricky part about burgers are that the protein in the burger meat requires saturated digestive enzymes (a.k.a. drinking less water while eating meat) and the burger bun requires drinking more water to prevent dehydration. As you can see, starches and proteins are not easy on your body to consume simultaneously while properly digesting your foods and staying hydrated. Going "bun-less" is ideal (use lettuce as your replacement buns). If you must have your buns, find freshly baked whole grain buns from your health food store and use only half the bun.
Know Your Meat! The processed meat found in grocery stores has become very unhealthy for us. Ground beef contains a ratio between omega 3 fatty acids and omega 6 fatty acids. Ideally, a healthy ratio for beef is 2:1 (omega 3: omega 6). This is considered a healthy ratio. Grass-fed, lean beef (90% or leaner) contains this ratio. The key is finding grass-fed beef, which you can find in your health food store. Generic brand, non-grass-fed beef is incredibly toxic to our bodies and is contributing to the obesity problem in America. Know where your meat comes from! You are much better off buying grass-fed meats from local farmers. Vermont has a plethora of local farmers!
Keep It Juicy! Especially with leaner beef, your burger can taste dry and less flavorful. Try adding some cooked rice or Bulgar to your burger meat before forming it into patties. This will add some fiber and bulk up your burgers. For a tasty treat, add some caramelized onions or avocado to your burger (*Also: avocado is a great alternative to mayonnaise!)
Portion Control! As with anything else, portion control is key! Watch how frequently you chow down on burgers and how many you eat in a meal. Resist the urge to go back for seconds; let the burger digest and re-evaluate whether you are still hungry or whether it's your taste buds wanting another juicy burger.