Tip #46


A Better Burger

With a few simple changes, you can save anywhere from 400 to 1,000 calories on your burger at any restaurant.

  1. Hold the Fat-Loaders.
    Ask them to leave off the extras that offer little nutritional value, like cheese, mayo, any "special sauces", and bacon. This can save more than 500 calories right off the bat! 

Can't bring yourself to give up all your extras?
Go ahead and order it with cheese, but leave off the rest. Remember: it isn't all or nothing. Leaving off the mayo and bacon is still a huge improvement. Add a bit of mustard or extra pickles and you'll still get lots of flavor! Mustard contains no sugar and no fat, unlike ketchup and mayo, it packs a ton of flavor, and every restaurant has it available.

  1. Half it your way.
    If you're absolutely craving the taste of a burger but the portions are huge, simply ask your server to slice your burger in half and bring you a box containing the rest. You won't be tempted by the other half, and you'll have lunch for tomorrow. This additional step can save as much as 300-600 calories.

How many times have you ordered a burger only to feel uncomfortably full by the time you get to the last bite? It can take as much as a half hour for your body to realize its full, so eat your one-half slowly, and you'll probably find that by the time you're finished, you're comfortably full and happy to eat your other half for lunch the next day.

  1. Swap Out Your Sides.
    French fries are one of the biggest fat-laden culprits when ordering a burger. Once you leave off the mayo and cheese, the burger itself can actually have fewer calories than the giant mound of fries!

Instead of fries, ask for a side salad, grilled or steamed vegetables, a fruit cup, or cottage cheese. Any of these substitutions can save as much as 350 calories from your meal total - and you'll feel better afterward, too.  

You'll notice that all of these are fairly straightforward, simple fixes. Here are a few more for the super-committed:

  • Many restaurants will now wrap your burger in lettuce leaves instead of a bun - saving almost 200 calories and cutting out the processed carbs.
  • Ketchup and BBQ sauce are fine in moderation, but huge gobs can pile on sugar and calories. Try using mustard for the majority of your flavor, and using ketchup and BBQ sparingly.
  • Love onion rings? They're incredibly tasty even without the fried batter. Peel off most of it and you'll still get a tasty treat with a lot less fat and calories!


— Jaime Brenkus Health Tip 46