Saturday, April 27, 2013

Walden Farm's Calorie Free Barbecue Sauce and Tips for a Healthy Burger

What comes to mind when you think of spring? Flowers, bugs, girly pastels, baseball? For me, it's nothing but the start of grill season. I'm joking, of course. I think of all those other wonderful things too.
But mostly grill season.
So, since the weather around here has actually been feeling spring-esque as of late, my father decided we would be grilling burgers for dinner. And who doesn't like burgers? But I'm fairly certain no one bites into a regular burger without a twinge of guilt, without a single feeling of being piggy. Thankfully, today's market has so many lean alternatives for dieters who crave a good ol' cheeseburger, and I'm here to spread the news on some of my personal favorites. Along with being low in calories, most of these products are also full of fiber and/or protein, so they're also great for people who are just looking to get all their nutrients in.

First off, I feel the main glut of calories in a burger comes from the patty itself. I looked at the nutritional stats of the Roundy's brand burgers my dad and brother decided to cook up, and found they are 380 calories apiece, with 30 g of fat. Ghee whiz! There are a lot of lighter options out there, my friends. My go-to patties come from BOCA Foods. My favorite burger from them so far are the Original Vegans. Yes, you heard me- vegan. All their burgers are made from soy. But don't flip out on me just yet. They're actually edible. I know, hard to believe. But don't knock it till' you try it! BOCA burgers don't taste exactly like real, 100% pure beef burgers. I won't deny it. They're low in fat, so they don't have that juice that real burgers do. However, they are very tasty in their own right, and super satisfying to boot. Plus, each Original Vegan patty is only 70 calories and has 0.5 g of fat. So, you could eat FIVE BOCA burgers for the same amount of calories in ONE of those Roundy's patties. Five BOCA burgers have 65 g of protein and 20 g of fiber for 350 calories. The Roundy's brand has only 28 g of protein and 0 g of fiber for 360 calories. See the difference? And besides, once you add on a bun and all the other condiments, you will barely even notice the variation in flavor. Trust me! You may even like the soy patties better.
I've also tried BOCA's Grilled Vegetable for 80 calories (very tasty, just not exactly like a regular burger) and their All American Flame Grilled for 120 (higher in calories because of added cheddar bits. Not a big fan of these because you can't really taste the cheese). Anyway, BOCA has plenty of other products besides burgers, so feel free to check them out at http://www.bocaburger.com. You can either find their burgers in the freezer aisle somewhere in the meatless or organic section, depending on where you shop.
Speaking of shop, I went to Woodman's today to pick up some groceries, and found over in their Organics section some Walden Farms products. Now, if you don't know, Walden Farms specializes in making calorie-free condiments and such. From what I've heard, most of them are pretty horrendous. But yeah, I think it's kind of hard to create 0-calorie peanut butter and NOT have it taste terrible. Some of Walden Farms' products are pretty commendable though, like their Amazin' Mayo and Original Barbecue Sauce. Both of those are actually pretty good! Just don't eat them alone, or you'll get kind of queasy. While over at Woodman's, I decided to pick up a variant of Walden Farms' Barbecue sauce: Walden Farms Hot and Spicy Barbecue Sauce. I thought grilling one of my veggie burgers with it would taste amazing. Before I went to put it on my patty, I poured a tiny bit of the sauce on to a spoon and gave it a quick taste test. It tastes a lot like Walden Farms' Original Barbecue (which tastes very, very similar to real barbecue sauce), but with a bit of a spicy kick at the end. I really liked it. The only problem is that this zero-calorie sauce is actually soupy in texture when compared to real barbecue sauce, but in the end it's the taste that matters. Most barbecue sauces are around 70 calories per serving, and that can add up when you like to really slather it on, like me, so try making this switch if you're watching your weight.
So, I decided to have two burgers tonight. I marinated one with the Walden Farms Barbecue, some garlic powder, and some pepper, and marinated the other with Frank's Red Hot Sauce and some red pepper flakes (I wanted to make that patty spicy!) Dad drizzled the Roundy's burgers with Worcestershire sauce and some homemade seasoning he gets from one of my grandmother's friends up north, then put everything on the grill.
While the burgers cooked, I sliced up some buns for Dad and my brother. They like buns from a local bakery called Cardinali's. Buns are another component of the burger that can be high in calories, and a lot of them are stripped from their fiber and nutrients. The buns I prefer to use are from Country Hearth. They have Light hamburger buns in Italian and Wheat, and both varieties are only 80 calories a piece. They also have 7 g of fiber. Nice! They are a bit smaller compared to other buns, but they have an acceptable flavor and don't have a texture that makes it obvious they're "light." Consider looking for products like these if you don't want "big buns" of your own. (Heehee!)
Once the burgers were almost done cooking, I added some cheese on top of mine. A lot of brands offer fat free cheese, but I really can't stomach the stuff. The thing is... they don't MELT. It's weird. It's like they're stiff, almost. And fat free cheese has such a subtle taste. You wouldn't even notice it's on your burger. The only fat free cheese I like is when it's shredded. Then it actually has an actual real cheese texture and taste. So when it comes to slices, I prefer reduced fat cheese, ones with about 50-60 calories a slice. I put a slice of Pepper Jack on the spicy burger and a slice of Cheddar on the other. When the burgers were completely cooked, I set them on their buns, and topped each with some Sweet Vidalia onion, lettuce, and Reduced Sugar Ketchup (another great condiment choice for dieters). On the barbecue burger, I squirted on some mustard, and a dash of Tabasco went onto the spicy burger.
All done! Looks delicious. The one on the left is the spicy burger, and the one oozing sauce is the barbecue.
My dad had cooked some baked beans on the side. He likes to add extra barbecue sauce into the can sometimes. When I stirred up the pot, I found the Queen Bean, which is essentially the huge, singular chunk of ham that all the worker beans colonize around.
Any who...
A colony of baked beans. Not pictured: Queen  Bean.
We all sat down in front of the TV and ate. Out of the two burgers I made, I'd have to say the barbecue one was better. It was sweeter, and the flavor of Cheddar was more prominent then the Pepperjack. I also had more ketchup on the barbecue burger, and with me, the more ketchup, the better. The barbecue sauce gave the burger a real rich taste that was very enjoyable. If I had some Amazin' Mayo from Walden Farms, I think the burger could have been even tastier, but it was great enough already. I think the spicy burger needed some salsa or tomato or something to give it a bit more oomph. I wasn't getting much feeling other than "spicy." Yes, technically, spicy was the goal, but I needed a bit more than just one simple taste. But overall, I enjoyed how the burgers turned out very much. It was a great way to start of grilling season! I hope you guys  got some good ideas on ways to dress up your burgers without breaking the caloric bank as well!

Have any of you tried some of the products I've mentioned here? What do you think of them? Are there other light burger products you think I should have recommended? Which ones? What toppings do you like on your burgers? Leave your comments below and speak your minds, people! Till' next time!











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