The Maney & LauRen Morning Show

The Maney & LauRen Morning Show

The Maney & LauRen Morning Show

Two juicy craft cheeseburgers with roasted bell pepper and pickles served with french fries on parchment paper, wooden background

Despite burgers being an American staple, they are generally not a healthy choice. Maintaining a healthy weight can be a challenge for many people. With busy schedules, tempting food options, and conflicting advice about what constitutes a healthy diet, it’s no wonder that watching one’s weight can be difficult.

However, if you are craving a burger, it IS possible to get a ‘healthier’ burger by making the right choice, according to dietitians and EatThis,NotThat!.

Fast food restaurants have a reputation for having unhealthy food options. However, there are some healthier burger options available if you know what to look for. Here are some of the healthiest burgers you can get at a fast-food restaurant:

Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN is the creator of and author of Read It Before You Eat It – Taking You From Label To Table and says “If you want a better burger, you can build one by adding some veggies like lettuce, tomato or onion and trimming add-ons like cheese, bacon, sauce and dressings.”

Here’s a list of 10 of the healthiest burgers at major restaurant chains in the opinion of dietitians.

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  • Five Guys Little Hamburger

    Registered dietitian and owner of the food blog Stirlist Amber Pankonin, MS, RD says “This burger is lower in calories compared to other fast-food burgers” and she recommends adding lettuce, tomatoes, and grilled onions to make it more filling. She also says that ketchup and mayonnaise add additional calories so “be mindful of how much you add.” PER SERVING: 540 calories, 26g fat (11.5g saturated fat), 380mg sodium, 39g carbs (2g fiber, 8g sugar), 16g protein.

  • Red Robin Haystack Tavern Double

    Pankonin says “The great thing about this option is that you can easily modify it in order to make this burger a little healthier” and if you ask for a single patty instead of a double it would lower total calories, fat and sodium. PER SERVING: 740 calories, 48g fat (19g saturated fat), 1280mg sodium, 42g carbs (0g fiber, 9g sugar), 33g protein. 

  • Smashburger Classic Smash Burger

    “Compared to other burgers on the menu, this burger offers a little more fiber because of the avocado” according to Pankonin. She also recommends that you leave off the bacon “which would lower total calories, fat and sodium.” PER SERVING: 700 calories, 51g fat (16g saturated fat), 1240mg sodium, 36g carbs (5g fiber, 4g sugar), 30g protein. 

  • Cracker Barrel’s The Barrel Cheeseburger

    “This burger comes with two slices of Colby cheese, so you could ask for a single slice or no cheese at all” and you could also hold the mayonnaise because it would add a “significant amount of calories, fat and sodium” per Pankonin. PER SERVING: 990 calories, 60g fat (22g saturated fat), 1070mg sodium, 56g carbs (2g fiber, 11g sugar), 56g protein. 

  • Cheesecake Factory Old Fashioned Burger

    Pankonin says that this burger is one of the Cheesecake Factory burgers that are lowest in calories and sodium. She adds that you could wrap the burger in lettuce or go bunless and skipping the bun could help reduce calories and sodium. PER SERVING: 990 calories, 60g fat (22g saturated fat), 1880mg sodium, 64g carbs (3gf iber, 19g sugar), 46g protein. 

  • Chili’s Oldtimer with Cheese Burger

    Taub-Dix says this burger is “The lowest calorie option at 850 calories, half of which come from fat but considering that the other Big Mouth Bites could bring in 1,200-1,700 calories per burger, it might be one the better choices.”  PER SERVING: 850 calories, 53g fat (22g saturated fat), 1220mg sodium, 46g carbs (4g fiber, 11g sugar), 48g protein. 

  • Outback Steakhouse: The Outbacker Burger with American Cheese

    Taub-Dix likes this burger and suggests omitting the cheese to reduce calories and fat. She goes on to say that you could downsize to the Joey menu and order a Boomerang Cheeseburger which only has 590 calories. PER SERVING: 810 calories, 50g fat (24g saturated fat), 1620mg sodium, 50g carbs (2g fiber, 14g sugar), 38g protein. 

  • Shake Shack Single Hamburger

    According to Taub-Dix, “Shake Shack Hamburger is probably one of the lowest calorie picks for burgers with the least amount of saturated fat and sodium per burger” and there’s no reason to scale this one down at all. PER SERVING: 370 calories, 18g fat (8g saturated fat), 850mg sodium, 24g carbs (0g fiber, 5g sugar), 29g protein.

  • Texas Roadhouse All-American Cheeseburger

    This could be the best burger option at Texas Roadhouse according to Taub-Dix. She also says “You can ditch the cheese, getting rid of 200 calories.” PER SERVING: 880 calories, 55g fat (22g saturated fat), 1970mg sodium, 48g carbs (5g fiber, 11g sugar), 50g protein. 

  • Applebee’s Classic Burger

    Taub-Dix says ”The Classic Burger seems to be the best of Applebee’s choices. The only burger weighing in with fewer calories is the Impossible Cheeseburger (non-meat), yet this one provides a whopping 2,600 mg sodium and it’s not much better in the total fat (56g) and saturated fat (18g) categories. PER SERVING: 1120 calories, 66g fat (20g saturated fat), 1880mg sodium, 90g carbs (7g fiber, 7g sugar), 43g protein. 

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