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Challenge: Healthy Swaps

Healthy Burger Swaps

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There is no reason to stop eating burgers in the new year, just swap out a few ingredients so they fit into your food lifestyle. Stop thinking of healthy eating as being "on a diet" and start thinking of it as "your food lifestyle". I recently did an on air food segment showing you the different ways to have your favorite burger. Here is my Thyme Infused Teriyaki Burger with a Grilled Pineapple Salsa and Guajillo Garlic Guacamole done 5 ways ~ Regular ~ Paleo ~ Pegan ~ Vegan ~ Vegetarian. This is a great, healthy swap for the new year and also for the upcoming playoff games and tailgating. You can make any of these burgers into sliders for a great burger bar for the Big Game. The entire segment can be found on my Boating, Boarding and Burgers Blog.

Healthy Swap Burgers

Thyme Infused Teriyaki Sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon water
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup water
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ginger, minced
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped

Grilled Pineapple Salsa
2 slices fresh pineapple, ½ inch thick
1 plum tomato, chopped
2 tablespoons red onion, chopped
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

Guajillo Garlic Guacamole
2 avocados, peeled and pitted
1 teaspoon guajillo chile powder
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon cumin
Juice of half a lime
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 1/2 pounds ground chuck 80/20
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon pepper

4 slices Swiss cheese
4 onion hamburger buns, split
1 cup butter lettuce leaves

Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.

To make the teriyaki sauce, whisk together all of the ingredients in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat for 4-5 minutes or until sauce thickens. Remove from heat.

Add the pineapple slices to the grill and cook for 2-3 minutes, flipping once. Remove from heat, cool then dice. Add the diced pineapple to a bowl and add the remaining salsa ingredients. Gently fold together then set aside.

To make the guacamole, add the avocado to a bowl and mash until desired consistency. Fold in the remaining ingredients and set aside until assembly.

To make the patties, combine the chuck and soy sauce in a large bowl, handling as little as possible to avoid compacting the meat. Divide the mixture into 4 equal portions and form to shape patties, then depress the centers for even cooking. Sprinkle both sides with pepper.
Place the patties on the grill, cover, and cook, turning once, until done to preference, about 5 minutes per side for medium rare. During the last few minutes of grilling, add some pineapple salsa and a cheese slice to each patty. Place the buns, cut side down, on the outer edges of the rack to lightly toast also during the last minute of grilling. Remove patties and buns, set aside.

To assemble the burgers, top each bun bottom with some lettuce then a patty. Drizzle some teriyaki sauce over the patty then add some guacamole. Attach the bun tops and enjoy!
Note – If you can’t find guajillo chile powder, you can lightly toast a dried guajillo chile pepper in a skillet over medium heat that has been de-stemmed and de-seeded. Then grind it finely in a spice/coffee grinder or food processor.


Here's the same burger, but incorporating your food lifestyle into this burger. Here is the Paleo, Pegan, Vegan, and Vegetarian Versions.

These substitutions are equal amounts unless otherwise noted.

Arrowroot powder in place of cornstarch
Coconut aminos in place of soy sauce
Raw honey in place of sugar
Grass fed ground beef in place of regular ground chuck
Omit the cheese
Lettuce leaves in place of the bun

Portobello mushroom in place of the meat

Agave nectar in place of sugar
Portobello mushroom in place of the meat
Omit the cheese
Lettuce leaves or vegan hamburger buns in place of regular buns

Arrowroot powder in place of cornstarch
Coconut aminos in place of soy sauce
Raw honey in place of sugar
Omit all added salt
Half grass fed ground beef patty and half Portobello mushroom in place of ground chuck
Omit the cheese
Lettuce leaves in place of the bun

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