More and more people are jumping on the meatless bandwagon, and fast-food restaurants are beginning to add meatless options to their menus. Burger King's offering is the Morningstar Burger, made with vegetables and grains, topped with all the fixin's and served on a sesame seed bun. While it's sure to delight meat eaters and nonmeat eaters alike, it may not fit in with everyone's diet plan. It's a healthier option compared to your other choices at the fast-food chain, but it's still high in fat and sodium.
BK Veggie Burger Calories
If you're watching your weight, calories are likely your biggest concern. The good news is that BK's veggie burger, with 390 calories, fits right in with a calorie-controlled diet. The average woman needs about 2,000 calories per day to maintain her weight, and one BK veggie burger makes up about 20 percent of her total calorie intake for the day. Pair it with one of the small Burger King salads and low-calorie dressing, and this makes a perfect lunch or dinner meal.
Veggie Burger Carb Counts
The majority of the calories in the Burger King veggie burger come from carbohydrates and fat, with one burger containing 41 grams of carbohydrates and 17 g of fat. About 50 to 60 percent of your daily calories should come from carbs; on a 2,000-calorie diet, one BK veggie burger would provide only about 14 to 16 percent of that amount.
The carbs in the burger come mainly from vegetables and brown rice, which are healthy sources of complex carbohydrates that digest slowly and don't cause a dramatic rise in blood sugar. The sesame bun is made with enriched wheat flour, which is not a whole-grain flour and is likely to cause blood sugar fluctuations. The bun also contains high-fructose corn syrup, which provides at least some of the 9 g of sugar in the veggie burger.
Dietary fiber is a carbohydrate that contributes few calories but is crucial to your health. Fiber helps with healthy digestion, cholesterol control, blood sugar stabilization and weight management. Women should get 25 g of fiber daily, and men should get 38 g of fiber per day. With 5 g of fiber, the veggie burger provides 28 and 13 percent of the daily needs for women and men, respectively.
Veggie Burger Fat Content
The BK veggie burger is somewhat high in fat, although most of it is mono- and poly-unsaturated fats that have positive effects on cholesterol and heart health. Of the 17 g of total fat, there is no trans fat and 2.5 g of saturated fat. Saturated fat is the unhealthy type of fat that can raise your cholesterol and increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.
The American Heart Association recommends limiting your intake of saturated fat to no more than 5 to 6 percent of your daily calories. For a 2,000-calorie diet, the veggie burger provides about 20 percent of your daily total. The total fat content of the BK veggie burger makes up about 25 percent of your recommended daily calories from fat — or one-fourth of what you need for the entire day.
Packed With Protein
With 21 grams, the BK veggie burger is a good source of vegetarian protein. Protein should make up about 12 to 20 percent of your daily calories, so you'll get 21 to 35 percent of those calories from one veggie burger if you follow a 2,000-calorie diet. Because it contains soy, the BK veggie burger is a source of complete protein, meaning it contains all the essential amino acids you need to get from your diet to build and maintain muscle tissue and support a healthy immune system.
Vitamins and Minerals
The Burger King website doesn't provide any information about the amounts of vitamins or minerals in its veggie burger. But based on the ingredient list, it's a fairly good source of nutrients. Vegetables are the first ingredient, which means they're the most abundant. Vegetables are rich in vitamins A and C, folate, potassium, calcium, magnesium and iron. The brown rice and oats in the burger are a good source of B vitamins, iron, selenium and magnesium.
The one mineral that it isn't healthy to get a lot of is sodium. Too much salt in the diet raises your blood pressure and increases your risk of heart attack and stroke. Most Americans eat too much sodium, and fast food is a major contributor. Although the BK veggie burger is lower in sodium than some other menu items, it still provides almost 50 percent of the sodium you should eat in a day.
- Burger King: Morningstar Veggie Burger
- Healthline: How Many Calories Should You Eat per Day to Lose Weight?
- Kaiser Permanente: Balancing Carbs, Protein, and Fat
- Medline Plus: Complex Carbohydrates
- BURGER KING® USA Nutritionals: Core, Regional and Limited Time Offerings
- Fiberfacts.org: Do Fibers Count as Calories and Carbohydrates?
- Mayo Clinic: Dietary Fiber: Essential for a Healthy Diet
- Heart Foundation: Healthy Fat Choices
- Heart.org: Saturated Fat
- American Family Physician: Soy: A Complete Source of Protein
- Fruits & Veggies: More Matters: Key Nutrients in Fruits & Vegetables
- Choosemyplate.gov: Why Is It Important to Eat Grains, Especially Whole Grains?
- Blood Pressure UK: Salt's Effects on Your Body
- Heart.org: 9 out of 10 Americans Eat Too Much Sodium Infographic