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Healthy Burgers

Healthy Burgers Activity

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Planning a summer barbecue this Fourth of July? If so, you're probably not the only one. The Fourth of July is one of those classic summer grilling holidays, a great time for old-fashioned burgers, hot dogs, and corn on the cob with lots of butter!

But barbecues don't exactly go hand in hand with eating healthy. While lean cuts can help, a 6 ounce burger with a bun can pack up to 600 calories or more - especially if you add cheese!

Fortunately, there are always healthy options! With some flavorful ingredients, you can create healthy grilled burgers that will satisfy the whole family. Here are three recipes, with three different kinds of meat, that you can make along with your child. When you're preparing the burgers, make sure your child helps with the measuring and the mixing. She'll be building valuable math and science skills that will help her throughout the many school years to come.

What You Need:

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • ½ cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 3 tablespoons powdered vegetable soup mix (such as Knorr’s)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper (about 1/2 teaspoon each)
  • 8 ounces (1/2 pound) ground turkey or ground chicken
  • ¼ cup herbed breadcrumbs (we prefer Italian), or plain crumbs with ½ teaspoon of an Italian herb mix added
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • ½ teaspoon each of salt and ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon each of garlic and onion powder
  • 1 large egg white, separated and beaten lightly
  • 8 ounces (1/2 pound) ground salmon
  • 1/3 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
  • Juice of one small lemon (or about 2 tablespoons)
  • ½ teaspoon each of garlic and onion powder
  • 1 egg white
  • ½ teaspoon each of salt and pepper

What You Do:

  1. Tasty Beef Burgers (makes four): In a bowl, beat 2 egg whites slightly, until they are just foamy. Add the vegetable soup mix and 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce, and parsley if you’re using it. Then add the beef and breadcrumbs and the salt and pepper, and mix all of the ingredients until they are distributed evenly. Your hands are the best kitchen tool you have! Just make sure you and your child wash your hands thoroughly when you're all done to prevent cross-contamination. Shape your mixture into four burgers and grill away!
  2. Spicy Turkey Burgers (makes two): Start by beating 1 egg white lightly, until it is slightly foamy. Then add the turkey or chicken and breadcrumbs.  Clean hands work best for the mixing.  Shape the mixture into patties and grill about 5 minutes on each side over medium heat. Note: it’s important to cook any poultry burger you make thoroughly. If it’s pink in the middle, then it still needs more time!
  3. Dilled Salmon Burgers (makes two): In a bowl, beat the egg white slightly until it just begins to foam. Add the dill, chives, garlic and onion powder, salt and pepper, and lemon juice. Mix thoroughly, and then add the salmon and bread crumbs. Combine all of the ingredients thoroughly, and then shape them into two patties. Grill for about 5 minutes on each side over medium heat, or until the middle is light pink and firm.
  4. These recipes can be adjusted to make more burgers if you prefer, or you can make smaller meatball-sized burgers using the original recipes if you want to serve them as appetizers. It's best to cook the smaller burgers on a grill pan until they're cooked through and brown on all sides. Enjoy!
Julie Williams, M.A. Education, taught middle and high school History and English for seventeen years. Since then, she has volunteered in elementary classrooms while raising her two sons and earning a master's in school administration. She has also been a leader in her local PTA.

Updated on Jul 5, 2013
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