Grilling Out? Here Are The 7 Healthiest Burger Toppings, Ranked
by Liz Moody
Summer is all about getting your grill on, and while you’re likely aware of the health implications of what you’re grilling (we recommend going grass-fed or high-quality plant-based!), you may not have considered the health effects of what goes on your burger. From gut-healing to inflammation-fighting, burger toppings can pack in a ton of benefits. Here are the top 7 healthiest burger toppings, ranked:
While classic mayonnaise wouldn’t find a place on the list, the new breed of avocado-based mayos make the cut. Avocado oil has as much healthy monounsaturated fatty acids as olive oil but even moreanti-inflammatory polyunsaturated fatty acids. We love Primal Kitchen’s version, and Chosen Foods even makes a vegan option.
Cheese is a classic burger topper, and while it’s not at the top of the list, it deserves a spot on it if you choose the right type—grass-fed, pasture-raised cheese. This type of cheese is rich in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a healthy fat that fights against cancer, diabetes, and weight gain. We like Organic Valley and Applegate for their widely available options.
Ketchup is a classic topper, and while it might not win any health points in its classic, high-fructose-corn-syrup-filled version, there are plenty of brands these days providing better-for-you options, like Sir Kensington’s and Primal Kitchen, which frees you up to enjoy the mega anti-inflammatory benefits of the lycopene in the tomatoes.
4. Red Onions
Red onions add a cutting sweet bite to burgers, and they come with a ton of health benefits to boot. The pigmented skin is rich in quercetin, which has been shown to help protect cells and improve cardiovascular health. They’re also packed with flavonoids, a type of anti-inflammatory antioxidant, so pile ’em on abundantly.
Yes, if you use wan iceberg lettuce, you’ll be consuming mostly water, but burgers are a wonderful place to get in a good dose of leafy greens, one of the healthiest foods on the planet. Experiment with the peppery flavor of arugula or watercress, or go for a classic crispness with romaine. If you want more out-there options, try herbs or microgreens!
Pickles are rich in electrolytes, and they preserve the benefits of the original cucumber, which means they contain a ton of antioxidants. While we love vinegar varieties (like these from Thrive Market), these really earn a place on the list when you buy or make a fermented version. This type will be found in the refrigerated section of a grocery store and contains live probiotics to heal your gutas you enjoy your summer meal.
Mustard comes from the seeds of the mustard plant, a member of the brassica family. It has a ton of health benefits, ranging from cancer prevention to improving cardiovascular health, and it’s prized in ayurveda for calming kapha and vata characteristics. Look for a brand with no added sugar whenever possible.