How to Eat Hamburgers When You Are on a Diet

Big hamburger
A hamburger on a table. (Image: grafvision/iStock/Getty Images)

When you're trying to lose weight, you don't have to make all of your favorite foods off limits. Choosing a diet plan that you can actually maintain is more nutritious in the long run than eating salad for a week and then quitting. If you enjoy eating a hamburger occasionally, don't deprive yourself. It might only make you frustrated and feel tempted to quit your diet. Instead, make your hamburger healthier. Talk to your doctor before making any changes in your diet, especially if you have health conditions or allergies.

Step 1

Make a healthier hamburger at home by shaping lean ground beef into a small patty, then placing it in the broiler until it is cooked through. A fast food hamburger contains 265 calories and 9.75 grams of fat, while a broiled hamburger made at home with 95 percent lean ground beef contains 140 calories and 5.37 grams of fat.

Step 2

Order a turkey burger instead of a beef burger when you go out to a restaurant. A turkey burger is just as tasty as a beef burger, but it is leaner and contains fewer calories and saturated fat.

Step 3

Go easy on the condiments -- especially mayonnaise and special sauce. Condiments are high in saturated fat, sodium, sugar and calories, making an already fattening hamburger even more unhealthy. Use condiments, extra lettuce, tomato and onions to add flavor to your burger instead.

Step 4

Eat the burger, but not the bun. Hamburger buns contain simple carbohydrates, which turn to sugar in the body when they are digested. Opt for a whole grain bun if you're cooking at home, or eat only half of the bun when you're out at a restaurant. Eat the burger along with a side salad to fill you up without packing on too many additional calories.

Step 5

Choose hamburgers that are made with "choice" or "select" grade beef, as opposed to "prime" beef, according to the American Heart Association in the article "Cooking for Lower Cholesterol." If you regularly substitute "choice" beef for "prime" beef, you'll eliminate unnecessary saturated fat and calories and lower your cholesterol levels.

Tip

Cooking hamburgers on the grill, in the oven or on a broiling rack allows the juices to drip away from the meat, lowering the saturated fat and calorie count.

Warning

Cook hamburger meat until it is medium to well done and no longer pink in the center.

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