Summer is here—as is evident by the light beaming in my bedroom window at 5:30am, the amount of things blooming in my garden, and the increasing need to mow my lawn—and nothing says summer like a juicy burger on the BBQ! You might think burgers and dietitians don’t go well together, but you’d be wrong! Perhaps because of these incorrect beliefs: dietitians only eat healthy foods; foods can easily be defined as healthy or unhealthy; and burgers can’t be healthy. All false!
Dietitians think less in black and white and more in shades of gray when it comes to food and eating. Our careful consideration of food and nutrition science clearly shows that healthy eating is defined more by the pattern of how one eats over time, rather than food by food or meal by meal. When we translate that knowledge into practical tips for you to use, a list of things to consider about food begins to form:
- Food – is it real food, local, minimally processed?
- Nutrition – does it provide a variety of key nutrients to support growth, development, and health?
- Eating competence – are you able to get enough food that you enjoy?
- Culture and traditions – are you able to get and enjoy foods that support continuation of your family and cultural traditions?
Dietitians work with people where they are at and support them to make small, sustainable changes in what and how they eat. That means we would never try and convince someone who loves a burger loaded with fried onions, bacon, cheese, and mayo-based sauce to make the switch to a veggie or salmon burger (although I do make a great veggie burger!). Instead, we might offer tweaks to your usual recipe to pump up the nutrition and flavour while reducing the salt and fat a little.
Below is a typical burger recipe with a few suggestions to do exactly that. You can pick and choose from the list, do them one-by-one or a few at a time. Let your taste buds guide you!
|Usual Burger Ingredients||
|1 lb. hamburger meat||
|¼ cup soft bread crumbs||
|¼ tsp. salt||
|1/8 tsp. pepper||
|4 hamburger buns||
|Toppings: ketchup, relish, mustard, mayo, bacon||
About Flo Sheppard
Flo has a dual role with Northern Health—she is the NW population health team lead and a regional population health dietitian with a lead in 0 – 6 nutrition. In the latter role, she is passionate about the value of supporting children to develop eating competence through regular family meals and planned snacks. Working full-time and managing a busy home life of extracurricular and volunteer activities can challenge Flo's commitment and practice of family meals but flexibility, conviction, planning and creativity help!