Healthy burgers?

Is it even possible to stay slim with a quarter-pounder and cheese? Time Out finds the answer.

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So you’re reading this article and even the thought of all those lovely, juicy burgers are making your chest tighten and your waistline expand. Because, meat in a bun (with fries, naturally) is obviously one of the most unhealthy food combinations you could ever stuff in your gob.

Right? Well we worried about that too (we have just spent the past week road-testing fast food, after all). So we called nutritionist Kathleen Farren from Synergy Integrated Medical Centre in Jumeirah (04 348 5452) to get a second opinion. Turns out there is hope for burger junkies out there afterall.

‘If you’re watching your weight this January, then you could make your own burger. Buy some lean mince from the Organic Supermarket (04 398 9410) and put it in a wholegrain bun. It’s got all the nutrients and fibre that are stripped out of white bread and it also has a low glycaemic index (GI) which helps to balance your blood sugar.

Plus wholegrain is more filling and far easier to digest. Obviously fries are quite fatty, but you could make your own chips in the oven using olive oil – I think they taste better as well. Then load up with salad. As a rule of thumb, I tell people that the protein source – in this case the burger – should be the size of the palm of your hand.

A quarter of the plate should be carbs – the bun – and half of your plate should be vegetables or salad. Mayo and ketchup aren’t too bad as long as you don’t overdo it, but I’d advise making French dressing instead.

It’ll take you two minutes. Organic Supermarket has some lovely relishes – their caramelised onion relish or pepper relish would go great on a burger. Finally, if you barbeque meat, make sure you don’t burn it as charred food is actually carcinogenic.

Ultimately, it’s about how far you want to take it. It’s all about moderation, but I think you can make a really tasty and healthy meal if you put a little bit of thought into it.’

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