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Feed Your Face: How to Grill Healthier Burgers

By Dr Jessica Wu

Eating better for your health (and your skin) doesn’t have to mean giving up your favorite foods --not even burgers or barbecue. It does mean putting some extra thought and preparation into your meals. If you’re a fan of burgers and you plan on grilling this Labor Day weekend, here’s how to make them healthier but still full of flavor:

Choose grass-fed beef. It’s leaner and lower in saturated fat compared with regular, grain-fed beef (about the same fat content as chicken). Grass-fed beef also has twice as many heart- and skin-healthy omega-3 fatty acids (although not as much as fish). Because it’s leaner, you may want to add more seasoning, or onions or mushrooms, and be careful not to overcook. Find it at Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, or online.

Go light on the cheese and condiments, which tend to be high in sugar, salt, corn syrup, and fat. If you have to have cheese, try using a quarter or half slice instead of a whole slice.

Pile on the veggies. Instead of iceberg lettuce, try adding baby greens and thinly sliced cucumbers or radishes. Roma tomatoes are brighter red, have better flavor, and contain more of the antioxidant lycopene than regular tomatoes. I also like to add lightly grilled onions, red peppers, and/or mushrooms.

Try them “animal style.” This means having the burger and veggies without the bun. If you’re watching your carbs -- whether to cut calories or to fight acne, wrinkles, and rashes -- leave off the top of the bun or both the top and the bottom.

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