Loving the BITE: Festive Burger Toppings and Tips
It’s a Holiday weekend for many Loving the Bike readers, so I’ll keep it light, festive, and fun this week (of course, cycling nutrition is fun ever week, right?). When it comes to food and the 4th of July, I think about the grill, and I think about burgers.
I am a meat-eater, including the occasional beef, and I do love a good burger. Here’s some great Loving the Bite burger topping ideas, and our Black Bean & Quinoa Burger recipe for all those who’d rather go meatless. Either way, it’ll be a winner and will work great right after that wonderful morning ride.
Recipes of the Week: 5 Festive Burger TOPPINGS
- Guacamole – I doubt I have to say much more, but nothing beats a guacamole burger in my book. Except maybe a Green Chili Burger.
- Green Chili Sauce – Either make this green chili sauce, or grill whole green chili peppers. To do so, place washed green chilies directly over hot flame. Turn occasionally so that all sides become blistered and blackened. Next, remove from grill and place in a paper bag for 10-15 minute (securely close paper bag). Once cooled in the bag remove, cut off stems, remove seeds, and peel off blackened skin. Serve over burgers.
- Basil or Spinach Pesto – So green. So healthy. And combined with a burger and some fresh mozzarella, so yummy.
- Roasted Red Pepper Coulis - It may seem a little fancy, but this easy delicious sauce is full of flavor and will take any burger to the next level.
- Cilantro Lime Aioli from our Quinoa-Black Bean Burger Recipe – Even if eating meat, you can steal this wonderful sauce and top your burger. It’s fresh and a different taste than what you’re used to coming off the grill.
Then, of course, you’ll need the regulars. Tomatoes, grilled/sautéed onions, lettuce, and pickles. You can also use your trusty BBQ sauce with most any of these.
Although I only eat red meat about once per week (partly because really good quality grass-fed beef is cost-prohibitive), I will look forward to a burger this weekend. My good friend Darryl, not so much. After years and years of being a dietitian and sports nutritionist, I’ll tell you that there’s more than one way, and more than one philosophy, to a healthy diet. In both everyday nutrition and sports nutrition. I’ve seen very healthy, and very unhealthy meat-eating diets. I’ve also seen very healthy, and very unhealthy vegetarian and vegan diets.
The key commonalities between the healthy ones? Minimally processed foods. Whole, real, slow foods. Minimal refined grains. Whole real carbohydrates from fruits, yams, beans, quinoa, intact grains (rice and oats) and the like. Adequate protein throughout the day and proactively added healthy fats. Many more meals made at home than in a restaurant.
With this in mind, here are some options for your Grilled protein:
1) If eating beef, if at all possible choose grass-fed, local, or at least organic beef. Not only does this make a difference with sustainability, processing, and sanitation, the actual fatty acids of the beef are different in grazed vs. confined cattle. Confined cattle generally eat grains and corn. Like in our bodies, these often increase fat storage and affect the types of fat we store. On the other hand, grazed cattle eat grass (a vegetable essentially) and their meat is significantly higher in omega-3 compared to confined, which are higher in omega-6s. Remember, omega-3s and omega-6s compete with each other to promote anti-inflammatory hormone or inflammatory hormone production in our bodies. So, at every turn, the more omega-3s and less omega-6s, the better.
2) If you’d like meat, but don’t want beef, any of these topping will go great on organic, cage-free, skinless, grilled chicken thighs.
3) No meat? No problem, these black bean and quinoa burgers are packed with protein, fiber, antioxidants and a great flavor. However, you’ll need to cook on the stovetop rather than the grill.
4) If you’d like to keep it light at night while trying to lose fat, just go without the bun. As far as taste, you’ll likely never miss it. If you’d still like to hold your burger, wrap it in a large lettuce leaf. If not, just eat it with a fork. Or, if it’s just not the same for you, have a whole-grain bun with this meal and skip the grain at dinner 5 others dinners this week.
This week and weekend, enjoy any 4th of July or summer festivities with great food, great company, and if possible, a nice ride. Stay hydrated, well-fueled, and then recovery with your burger of choice and flavorful toppings. Happy 4th!
Fuel Your Ride. Nourish Your Body.