BURGERS are bad, right? Nope. The dish could actually be a better choice than a so-called ‘superfood’ salad if you’re trying to trim down.
Healthy burgers made of bread, beef, lamb or chicken patty, a slice of bacon and cheese, and salad, could contain less calories than cafe-style “superfood” salads that are loaded with high calorie haloumi, nuts, seeds and fatty dressings, a nutrition expert says.
But before you reach for a greasy Big Mac or Huxtaburger and fries, there are a few rules to consider.
A nutrition analysis shows the average “superfood” bowl — made up of ingredients including quinoa, chicken and feta — contains at least 820 calories, while a burger has about 740 calories, according to a leading Melbourne-based fitness coach and diet expert.
“They add a lot of tasty extras to a salad and it ends up becoming more calorie-dense than a burger.
“That’s not to say a salad doesn’t contain more micronutrients, vitamins and minerals than the burger, but at the end of the day, eating more calories than what we think isn’t healthy either.
“That’s why sometimes, a burger actually has less calories than a salad.”
Those “extras” include feta, seeds, nuts, cheese, crumbed meat and fish, oils and dressings that drive up calories in an average “superfood” bowl, Schepis — who trains elite bodybuilders and fitness models — said.
He did a nutrition analysis of several restaurant-style burgers compared to superfood salads, published on his blog.
“Anything that says ‘superfoods’ is typically going to have lots of calories, unfortunately,” Schepis said.
“If you’re getting a lot of nutrients in, you’re probably getting a lot of calories too. And if your calorie intake exceeds your energy expenditure, you’ll gain weight.”
So what do you need to know if you’re trying to cut kilos … and are thinking about ordering a burger for lunch?
“If you’re going out with the intention to eat healthy, then you need to be aware of what’s in your food and the calories it contains,” Schepis said.
“An ideal burger would be some form of lean meat — keep it to one slab,” he said.
“Obviously, there’ll be cheese and sauce. Salad on the side instead of chips, and opt for some form of diet soft drink as opposed to a milkshake or regular Coke.”
There are other ways to reduce calories in a burger by making some adjustments.
“You could ask for sauce on the side for the burger so you can have a small amount as opposed to it being doused in sauce,” Schepis said.
“Opting for grilled chicken as opposed to deep fried chicken. At the end of the day, if you’re going to have a burger, eat the burger and just try and minimise the calories that come with the burger.”