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Healthy Burger Alternative Guide

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Here Are A Few Simple Ways To Design A Fresh And New Burger Without Sacrificing The Flavor

Let’s be honest, we love the beef. Juicy, wood-fired burgers are a barbecue enthusiast’s dream dinner, and we support getting your burger on. With a fresh new year and renewed health goals, people ponder pairing down food intake to feel better, obtain renewed energy, or to fine tune the waistline.

Our Guide to Healthy Burgers:

If you’ve hopped on the health train, we’ve got a few tips and tricks to help make your nutrition goals a success all the while indulging in the delicious wood-fired flavor generated by your pellet smoker grill. Simply by cutting a few calories and increasing your protein intake, you will feel better and be able to tighten that belt up to once again don a platter-sized belt-buckle, pain-free.

Check out 5 ways to make your burger-loving heart beat stronger and longer, without sacrificing the flavorful Traeger lifestyle. With these small and simple changes, you’ll save on empty calories and eat healthier without having to hit the gym.


Try a Burger Without the Bun

As Danielle of DivaQ says, “The bun should never hang too much over the meat. The meat may be slightly larger than the bun. Size matters. Meat matters.” If you have an overage of bun on your juicy burger, why eat a bite of bread with no meat in it? Rip off the bland bun and get to the meat of the burger, literally. Toss those empty calories out, and dive into the delicious and healthier area of the meal.

Here are a few ways to save fat and calories just in how your burger is wrapped.

A White Bread Hamburger Bun

A White Bread Hamburger Bun is often smeared with butter on top, this nutritional value for a hamburger bun holds the extra butter and is really only bragging about its high carb content:

140 calories 27 grams carbs grams protein 3 grams fat

White bread is what we’re used to eating on our burgers, it’s standard, but doesn’t hold much nutritional value, so take those Traegered burgers up a notch and switch up the bun with a healthier choice.

The Lettuce-Wrapped Burger

If you are willing to go all out and vegetable up by wrapping that beefy burger in a man-sized leaf of lettuce, it’s merely:

10 calories 0 carbs 0 protein 0 fat

You’ll enjoy the natural beef flavors without losing juices and seasoning to an absorbent bun.

A Whole Wheat Bun

A Whole Wheat Bun is an excellent way to add more fiber and protein to your burger while cutting carbs. It’s healthier than a white bun and has:

130 calories 24 grams carbs 6 grams protein 2 grams fat

A Spinach Tortilla

A Spinach Tortilla will wrap up that meaty delight—don’t let the word spinach deter your choice, you won’t even know it’s made of spinach, it tastes similar to a regular tortilla, yet it saves on calories and carbs. Quit the white bread and go for:

100 calories 1 gram fat 2 grams protein 20 grams carbs

A Whole Wheat Tortilla

A Whole Wheat Tortilla will taste great. So if you can’t bear the thought of a spinach wrap, reach for a whole grain tortilla and get more protein than a white bun:

120 calories 24 grams carbs 4 grams protein 2 grams fat

Healthy Protein Options for Burgers

When it comes to proteins, there are many flavorful choices. Here are a few that are lean and packed with flavor, especially when given a good and healthy 30 minute smoke on the Traeger wood pellet grill. The hardwood smoke will infuse proteins with a layer of flavor and make everyone wonder how you got it to taste so delicious. Traeger grills up healthy food with simplicity, every time.

Ground Beef

Regular ground beef contains a high fat content. It may be drippingly delicious, but if you reach for the full fatty beef every time, the calories add up. For a quarter-pound burger:

319 calories 0 carbs 19 grams protein 26 grams fat

Lean Beef

95% lean beef has a delicious flavor and far less fat than regular ground beef. For a quarter pounder, you save over half the calories and fat—that will make a difference in your daily diet.

164 calories 0 grams carbs 22 grams protein 6 grams fat

Ground Turkey

Ground Turkey is lean and very good for your health. It’s a white meat that has fewer calories than beef and is still high in protein. A quarter-pound turkey burger is:

166 calories 0 grams carbs 22 grams protein 9 grams fat


A boneless, skinless chicken breast purchased in a package at your grocer, is about 4 oz. per piece. When grilled on the Traeger, the bad fats are burned away and it cooks up healthier than beef. Traeger pellet fuel generates a delicious smoke that chicken really absorbs for a unique and amazing flavor.

124 calories 0 grams carbs 26 grams protein 1 grams fat

Bison Burgers

This is serious flavor. Wild game has a different, yet delicious taste that you won’t find in chicken or beef. Try a quarter-pound bison burger as a lean and healthy alternative:

190 calories 0 grams carbs 23 grams protein 11 grams fat

Venison Burgers

If you hunted it, you might as well eat it. Elk is a delicious flavor and cooks very nicely. For a quarter pound venison burger you get a high protein meat, it’s:

125 calories 0 grams carbs 22 grams protein 10 grams fat

If spice and zest are what you’re after, flavor your meat with any Traeger Seasoning Shake or Traeger Rub, spices are low in calories and fat and add a great punch to any protein. Shake seasonings on top of your meat as it cooks, or mix it in the ground beef or turkey, or ground bison to get the flavor throughout.


Guide to Healthy Burger Sauces

We all love a dripping burger, meat juices, mayonnaise, ketchup, and mustard. By foregoing the mayo and saucing that burger with a few of these healthier choices, you won’t even know the mayo is missing.

Regular Mayonnaise

Regular mayonnaise is high in fat and calories, just 1Tbsp. contains:

90 calories 2 grams carbs 0 protein 10 grams fat

Low-Fat Mayo

Low-Fat Mayo, by switching up this one condiment you save over half the calories and fat, and it tastes nearly the same as full-fat mayo:

35 calories 1 gram carbs 0 protein 3 grams fat

Ranch Dressing

Ranch dressing is the most delicious nectar for burgers and fries. 1 Tbsp. equals one serving--and who can eat just one tablespoon. Regular ranch has:

70 calories 1 gram carbs 1 gram protein 7 grams fat

Fat-Free Ranch Salad Dressing

Fat-Free Ranch salad dressing will greatly reduce unnecessary fat and calories, and with the beef flavor seeping from the wood pellet grilled meat, you probably won’t be able to tell it’s non-fat ranch. Here’s the skinny:

17 calories 4 grams carbs 0 protein 0 grams fat


Ketchup. Save your sugar intake for something that’s actually a sweet treat. There’s no need to waste calories on regular Ketchup. For 1 Tbsp. ketchup you take in:

20 calories 4 grams sugar

Low Sugar Ketchup

Low-Sugar Ketchup, sugar-free ketchup, or no sugar ketchup actually tastes more like a tomato. (Or you could just forego the ketchup and reach for a tomato slice—it’s healthy). Per tablespoon you only get:

5 calories 1 gram sugar

Hot Sauce

Hot Sauce. Reach for Ninja Squirrel, or Tabasco, or Siracha for a kick of flavor. All have about 6 calories per teaspoon, and a little spice goes a long way. Just check the back of the bottle for sodium, they all vary.

5 calories 0 carbs 0 protein 0 fat


Healthy Burger Toppings

The fixings are vital for the perfect burger, with a little green on the side you can stuff those burgers 4” high and consume some healthy vegetables that will fuel energy and alertness into your day. Here are a few healthy hamburger toppings:

Fresh Salsa

Fresh Salsa will zest up any burger with a refreshing, spicy, and sweet flavor.

Romaine Lettuce

Romaine Lettuce has more nutritional value than Iceberg lettuce and will help with digestion.


Tomatoes are packed with antioxidants so double up and give your burger 2 slices, it adds juice, color, and flavor to the burger.


Onions are packed with B vitamins will zest up any hamburger. White onions give a little sweet, yellow onions are mild, but flavorful, purple onions have a kick, scallions are a wetter onion so they have even more heat.


Pickles will give any hamburger a crunch and sour zest that compliments beef or wild game.


Healthy Side for Burgers

The only thing at the bottom of a fast food bag of fries is a bellyache. We urge you to try some of these amazing Traegered greens and healthy Traeger side dishes to accompany your finely tuned, healthy, wood-fired Traeger burger.

Crispy No-Fry Traeger Potatoes don’t have extra fat, they’re baked French fries.

Grilled Blooming Onionwill knock your Traeger socks off with flavor and far less fat than a steak house bloomin onion.

Grilled Fingerling Potato Salad is packed with jalapenos and spice and all things healthy and nice.

Roasted Broccoli Salad is packed with healthy nutrients and topped with tomatoes, red onions, and a tangy vinegar dressing.

Eggplant, tomatoes, and mozzarella towers stack up as a clean eat and is a healthy vegetable and cheese side dish.

Grilled Corn topped with Chile and Lime is a tongue-tingling treat of a vegetable.


Feed your need for healthy eating and flavor with a Traeger grill. Our grills are flavor-makers and food tastes far better than any other barbecue grill. This year, give your meals a healthy kick by cooking outdoors on a Traeger pellet smoker grill, one bite and you’ll be hooked. Go on and indulge. Healthy hamburger fixings are fresher, and more delicious than fatty, greasy hamburgers. Enjoy a healthy lifestyle with food grilled on your Traeger.

Grilled Asian Chicken Burgers

by Traeger Kitchen

Prep Time

25 Min

Cook Time

25 Min





Switch up your burger routine by swapping the beef for chicken and adding some tangy, Asian flavor.

As NeededNonstick cooking spray, for greasing
2 Poundground chicken, preferably white and dark meat
1 Cuppanko breadcrumbs, plus more as needed
1 Cupcoarsely shredded or grated Parmesan cheese
1 Mediumfresh jalapeño pepper, stemmed, seeded and diced small
2 Stalkscallions, whites and greens minced
2 Clovegarlic, minced
1/4 Cupminced cilantro leaves, loosely packed
2 Tablespoonmayonnaise, plus more for serving
2 TablespoonThai sweet chile sauce
1 Tablespoonsoy sauce
1 Tablespoonfresh ginger, minced
2 Teaspoonlemon juice
2 Teaspoonlemon zest
1 TeaspoonSalt
1 TeaspoonBlack pepper
8 Wholehamburger buns, split, lightly buttered and toasted or grilled, for serving
1 Largeripe tomato, thinly sliced, for serving
As Neededfresh arugula or spinach leaves, for serving
1 Largered onion, thinly sliced
  • 1

    Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

  • 2

    In a large mixing bowl, combine the chicken, panko, Parmesan, jalapeño, scallion, garlic, cilantro, mayonnaise, chile sauce, soy sauce, ginger, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and pepper.

  • 3

    Form your fingers into a claw and gently work the meat mixture until the ingredients are well-combined. If the mixture seems too wet to form into patties, add additional panko.

  • 4

    Wet your hands under cold running water, then form the meat into 8 patties, each an inch larger in diameter than the buns and about 3/4 inch thick.

  • 5

    With your thumbs or a tablespoon, make a wide shallow depression in the top of each. Put them on the prepared baking sheet. Spray the tops with nonstick cooking spray.

  • 6

    If not cooking right away, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

  • 7

    When ready to cook, set Traeger temperature to 350°F and preheat, lid closed for 15 minutes.

  • 8

    Arrange the burgers, depression-side down, on the grill grate.

  • 9

    Remove and discard the foil on the baking sheet so you'll have an uncontaminated surface to transfer the sliders to when cooked.

  • 10

    Grill the burgers for about 25 to 30 minutes, turning once, or until they release easily from the grill grate when a clean metal spatula is slipped under them. The internal temperature when read on an instant-read meat thermometer should be 160°F. (Stick the probe through the side of the burger for an accurate reading.)

  • 11

    In the meantime, spread the cut sides of the grilled buns with mayonnaise and arrange a tomato slice, if desired, and a few arugula leaves on one half of each bun.

  • 12

    Top with a grilled burger and red onions, if using, then replace the top half of the bun.

  • 13

    Serve immediately. Enjoy!