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Have the burger, skip the fries

If you are a meat eater, Catherine Burns suggests going with quality grass-fed lamb or beef should you have a burger

Sometimes there is nothing better than sinking your teeth into a burger!

Try and skip the fries that go with it though for three major reasons: 1) fried saturated fats are inflammatory and prevent the uptake of good fats that nourish your brain and nervous system, 2) fried saturated fats contribute to poor body composition and 3) a bun AND fries equal double carbs. If you have a soda or a dessert you are tripling! Ideally you would just stick to one serving of carbs at meal time (a quarter of your plate).

If you prefer the fries to the bun, then shoot for oven-baked fries instead. I absolutely love the Alexia brand that come out crispy every time. Cascadian Farms also do frozen grated potatoes that make an amazing rösti if you have a good skillet. A burger and rösti can be surprisingly healthy, so long as you have a salad or a big serving of green veg too. Extra points if you dilute the potato in your rösti with some grated zucchini!

What to do about the burger? Beyond and Impossible burgers have really paved the way for vegan options. Whether they are actually better for you however is up for debate. They are certainly very processed so although I think they taste good, they aren’t my favourite.

Instead, how about keeping the burgers occasional but, if you are a meat eater, going with quality grass-fed lamb or beef instead? Grass-fed meats are higher in Omega 3 and zinc, in addition to being a better choice from an ethical and environmental perspective.

I recently tried this South African lamb burger recipe and love it. It’s padded out with gluten-free breadcrumbs, almond flour and grated carrot, which all help to dilute the cost of the meat. Plus the spices are delicious.

Try serving these without the bun and with potato rösti instead (or brown rice/roasted butternut squash). Don’t forget your greens and make extra burgers so you have plenty of leftovers!

South African Lamb Burgers (makes 8)


2 tbsp light olive oil

1 large red onion, finely chopped

1 tbsp garam masala

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1lb ground lamb

1 large carrot, peeled and finely grated

2oz gluten-free breadcrumbs (suggest Genius brown loaf)

2oz almond flour

Zest of 1 lemon

1 egg, beaten

Black pepper, grated


1. Preheat the oven to 355F.

2. Weigh 2oz of Genius brown gluten-free bread (usually in freezers in grocery stores) and turn into breadcrumbs by pulsing it in a blender. Set to one side in a large bowl.

3. Heat 1tbsp light olive oil in a pan and sauté the onions until soft and tender. Add the garam masala and cinnamon and cook for another minute. Add the spiced onions to the large bowl and allow to cool.

4. Once cool, add the lamb, grated carrot, almond flour and lemon zest. Grate in some black pepper. Add in the beaten egg and mix.

5. Divide the mixture into eight balls, then flatten each one to make small burgers.

6. Heat the remaining olive oil in the pan and sear the burgers on each side just until they have a good colour.

7. Place the seared burgers on a baking tray and pop in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes, or until cooked through. Enjoy!

Catherine Burns is a fully qualified clinical nutritionist. She can be contacted at 291-4725 or clinicalnutritiongmail.com

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Published March 17, 2023 at 7:59 am (Updated March 17, 2023 at 8:40 am)

Have the burger, skip the fries

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