Let’s consider that the average person eats approximately three times a day and may have two small snacks in between meals. The average amount of sleep that most adults get during the night is 6 to 7 hours. That means most are eating about five times in a 17 hour window. Not too bad, right? Well this really depends on what’s being consumed in those time periods. According to the USDA, most foods can be broken down into five categories, fruit, vegetable, grain, protein, and dairy.
All of these foods break down and are used for different functions within our system.
Eating for Energy
Have you ever enjoyed your favorite burger with all the fixings and felt the onset of fatigue shortly afterwards? Before I changed my diet, almost every meal seemed to produce some level of sluggishness. It always left me asking, if food is my fuel, why didn’t that meal give me more energy? To answer this, let’s break down what happens after our favorite burger and fry combination is consumed. Keep in mind, each food group has a specific role in our body.
Bring on the Grains
The one item that makes a burger a burger, is the fluffy bun. Be it sweet, buttery, or topped with sesame seeds, we can agree that it is an intricate part of our favorite burger. However, all grains are not created equal. Whole grains are less processed and provide our body with the most nutrients. Examples of whole grains include, barley, buckwheat, and brown rice. These types of grains are high in fiber, vitamin b, folate, magnesium, and potassium. Next time you reach for those buns, the whole grain one is probably your most nutritious choice.
Vibrance of the Veggies
In my opinion, one of the most delicious parts of a burger is the veggies it’s topped with. Whether you enjoy lettuce, tomatoes, onions, or jalapenos, these vegetables are a substantial source of nutrients. It is important to include a variety of vegetables and fruits in your daily diet. Fruits and veggies include essential vitamins and minerals. Eating them consistently can decrease your chance of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Try adding some color to your next plate and your body will thank you later.
Meet the Meats
You may like your burger with a thick patty of meat or maybe even two, a double decker. No matter how you may like it, let’s talk about the healthiest choice. Burgers can be filled with beef, turkey, or a veggie patty. So which is the healthiest? Without much prompting most will say the veggie burger. Well, let’s see what each one brings to the table. A 3.5 ounce serving of ground beef contains about 217 calories, 26.1 grams of protein and 11.8 grams of fat. Now on to the turkey burger. A 3 ounce turkey burger has about 176 calories, 22 grams of protein, and 10 grams of fat. Last but not least, the veggie burger. Keep in mind there’s several types of veggie burgers. Some are made from black beans, others from mushrooms, and then it’s your classic veggie burger. The classic veggie based burger is normally made with a variety of veggies and a plant protein for a meatier texture. So how does it add up on the health scale? A classic veggie (vegan) burger has 124 calories, 11 grams of protein, and 1 gram of fat.
Dare to Have Dairy
We can’t forget one of the main add ons to a burger, cheese. Most of the cheese you get on a burger, especially from your favorite burger spot, will be dairy. Dairy means that the base of the cheese is produced from milk. Since we are disintegrating the burger, let’s talk about cheese or more so dairy products. Dairy is one of the top sources of saturated fats. It can contribute to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease. There are also studies that link diary to an increased risk of breast, ovarian, and prostate cancer. As veganism is becoming more popular, so are the vegan non-dairy options. Vegan cheese and milk are available everywhere now. These non-dairy alternatives are made from almonds, oats, coconut, and a variety of plant based items. The next time you’re in the store, check out some of these dairy free options.
Energized Food Equals an Energized YOU
Now that we’ve deconstructed the burger. You can go forward making choices for a healthier, more energized YOU. The foods you provide to your body will either drain or fuel you. Choosing more plant and plant based options will give your body the chance to do what it was designed to do, turn food into energy. This food derived energy is necessary for us to feel our best selves from day to day. Next time you crave a burger, just remember you can have one made 100 percent from plant based ingredients. Just by making a few changes to your diet, you could find yourself feeling more energetic after meals and throughout the entire day.