A friend of mine was eating at a restaurant that I go to with my husband, and she commented that she ate a veggie patty in a lettuce bowl, instead of a burger bun. She wants to lose weight and felt she was being really healthy. Well, perhaps a veggie burger is healthier regarding fat issues with meat and keeping your arteries clean. However, this is not always the case.
The healthy reasons to choose a veggie burger:
One of the best reasons for choosing a veggie burger is to cut saturated fat. Depending on its size, a regular hamburger’s 4-7 grams of saturated fat are a significant part of the recommended daily limit of 15 to 25 grams, which varies from person to person. Most veggie burgers contain from 0 to 1 gram of saturated fat. However, a burger made of extra lean ground beef (90% lean) reduces saturated fat, but only to 3-5 grams. Chicken, turkey and salmon burgers are better options. At 2-3 grams, their saturated fat can be almost as low as a veggie burger.
(So, you can eat meat and still be healthy, if you go for low-fat options!)
The size of a veggie burger affects its nutrition content, and its size is another reason why it is a healthy choice.
If you choose veggie burgers for the benefits of soy, check that you’re getting what you want. Veggie burgers with soy contain soy protein that can help reduce blood cholesterol, but not all the protein is from soy.
Some people choose veggie burgers over traditional hamburgers to boost their dietary fiber intake. Others want to cut back on red meat, since too much of that may increase the risk of colon cancer.
Others simply like the convenience of being able to cook a frozen veggie burger in one to two minutes. Others fear E. coli bacteria in meat, although the risk is minimal when the meat is thoroughly cooked.
Try not to choose a veggie burger with over 300 mg of sodium per serving, if you eat a lot of processed foods. If you limit your meat consumption, look for veggie burgers with more iron than others (aim for at least 10 percent of the Daily Value) and fortified with vitamin B-12.
Sometimes people think a portobello mushroom can replace a burger nutritionally. If you eat plenty of meat, fish, poultry, or vegetarian protein, a mushroom “burger” is fine. If you don’t, accompany your mushroom burger with a soup or salad containing beans or low-fat cheese. A veggie burger made with soy, nuts, or other proteins is a nutritional replacement for meat because it provides protein, iron and other nutrients that a mushroom lacks.
CAN YOU LOSE WEIGHT WITH A VEGGIE PATTY?
Now, as far as keeping the carb count down in your diet, you need to know this! Veggie burgers are high in carbs. So, they might be good in many ways, but they are not so kind to the waistline. The friend I ran into, who had the veggie burger in the salad bowl–she had about 48g of carbs just in the veggie patty. And with dressing and other things in her salad, she probably had at least 15g of carbs more. So, she had her allotment of her 50-100g of carbs in her food just at dinner. I would say for sure that she didn’t lose weight that day and that she might have put some weight on, depending on what she ate the rest of the day. And here she thought she was eating light. I had the lean meat burger patty, which had 0 carbs. So my salad was about 20g of carbs and hers was more like 65g of carbs.
So, if you want to lose weight, unless you look at labels, look online and check for carbs and are VERY CAREFUL, the vegetarian option might not help with weight loss. Sorry, but that is just the way it is. You have to make SMART choices! If I was a vegetarian, personally, would have chosen the salad bowl and added egg to it as my “protein”. Less than 1g of carb per egg and 6g of protein per egg. Sometimes I have an egg or two in my salad anyway. They are tasty.