Burgers seem like a rite of passage once grilling season kicks in — no wonder they’re a staple at picnics, parties, and tailgates. But as delicious as beef patty can be, it’s hard to ignore research on the negative impact eating meat can have on the environment and your health.
Breeding livestock, including cows, generates as many greenhouse gases as all road vehicles combined, according to the researchers Green Peace† And research shows that eating two servings of red meat per week is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and all-cause death. Cancer incidence is also higher in meat eaters, according to a study published in February 2022 in BMC Medicine†
You don’t have to give up your beloved burgers altogether, though. Reducing meat consumption by 20 percent alone could halve deforestation, according to a study published in May 2022 in Nature† The American Heart Association points out that eating a more plant-based diet has been linked to a reduced risk of chronic diseases, including obesity, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and several cancers.
Whether you’re looking to cut back on meat or have already embraced a plant-based lifestyle, veggie burgers are a great meal. You can even find them at popular chains, including: burger king and Carl’s Jr†
While plant-based burgers have become more accessible, ready-to-eat patties aren’t necessarily much healthier. take the Impossible burger: A 4-ounce burger contains 240 calories and 8 grams (g) of unhealthy saturated fat. In comparison, 4 ounces of 80 percent lean ground beef has 287 calories and 8.6 g of saturated fat, according to data from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)†
Store-bought vegetarian burgers are also surprisingly expensive — sometimes more than meat, according to one CNBC Article 2021† But making your own vegetable burgers at home is surprisingly easy and affordable. By checking the ingredients, you can control the calories, saturated fat, and fiber, and tailor the burgers to meet special nutritional needs or preferences, such as a gluten allergy or vegan diet.
DIY burgers are also a great way to prepare meals and save money because they freeze well. Then you can whip out one for any occasion that involves a grill. As a healthy bonus, vegetables don’t tend to create cancer-causing chemicals when roasted, like meat, according to Cedars-Sinai†
Start with these seven recipes for the tastiest burgers you can make — no beef required.