Does the phrase "frozen burgers" conjure up visions of summer barbecues and weekends by the pool? Same. But while frozen burgers are an easy-to-stock convenience (who wants to spend hours doing food prep in hot temperatures?), they're not all created equal. Whereas some are filled with vegetables and healthy ingredients, others may be high in sodium and fat, and filled with harmful additives.
Because of this, it's important to keep an eye out for unhealthy frozen burgers that may be lurking in your supermarket's frozen food section. To help, we put together a list. From seasoned patties that have over 800 mg of sodium per serving, to others that are filled with unhealthy additives, here are 8 frozen burgers that you may want to steer clear of.
Johnsonville Grillers Steakhouse Onion Seasoned Patties
Featuring over 800 mg of sodium and nearly 30 grams of fat, these onion-seasoned patties may not be the best option for those looking to limit their sodium and fat intake. Instead, make your own tasty patties at home using organic lean ground beef and fresh herbs and spices.
Smart Ones Mini Cheeseburgers
Just one mini burger contains over 300 mg of sodium and 20 grams of carbs—not a good choice for those looking for a healthy meal option. These burgers are also filled with additives, such as food coloring and monoglycerides. A better alternative would be to make mini burgers from scratch using high-quality ingredients that are low in both salt and sugar.
Trader Joe's Grass Fed Angus Burger
Timothy Wood, CCC, FNS, and the owner and founder of Carnivore Style, shares that Trader Joe's grass-fed beef burgers are some of the unhealthiest frozen burgers out there. "The quality of meat seems good considering it is grass-fed, but health-wise there are other grave issues to notice," Wood says. "Even when the burger has no added ingredients, it manages to have a severely unhealthy amount of high fat, cholesterol, and calories."
When choosing a frozen meat burger, Wood shares that you should try to select a brand that ensures the cow was fed with 100% organic cow feed. "It would mean that the cow was not administered growth hormones or antibiotics that could make the meat harmful for consumption," says Wood.
Gardenburger Original Burger
Although veggie burgers might seem healthier, some are actually packed with salt—for instance, just one Gardenburger patty has 550 mg of sodium. "While that's not a crazy amount itself, consider that potential toppings can pack a lot of sodium too, like condiments, cheese, and buns," says Meghan Pendleton, RD. "Potentially that could bring the total sodium content for one burger up to near 1000 mg, which is almost half of the recommended daily amount."
Pendleton recommends choosing a patty with less than 300 mg of sodium, such as Hilary's Veggie Burger. "Or, just be mindful about sodium in other foods eaten and how the total amount works for your own unique health needs and preferences," she adds.
Ball Park Fully-Cooked Flame-Grilled Frozen Beef Patties
Ball Park's frozen beef patties may bring back memories of backyard barbecues and baseball games, but are lacking in the nutrition department. "These burger patties are full of unhealthy additives including maltodextrin, added flavors, inflammatory vegetable and soybean oils, and corn syrup," says Taylor Stolt, RDN, LD, CLT, IFNCP.
Instead, Stolt suggests trying frozen beef patties from Tribali. "Tribali Foods carries two frozen burger patty varieties, both of which are healthy and delicious," Stolt shares. "They are made of 100% grass-fed beef, and all-natural herbs and spices."
Beyond Meat Cookout Classic Plant-Based Frozen Burger Patties
Echoing Pendleton, Stolt points out that just because something is plant-based does not necessarily mean it is healthy. "Beyond Meat burgers contain large amounts of the inflammatory oil canola oil, added flavors, and a synthetic fiber called methylcellulose."
If you want a healthier veggie-filled beef patty Stolt suggests Applegate's frozen patties as a good substitute. "If you want vegetables in your burger, this is the way to do it right," Stolt says. "Applegate burger patties pair 100% grass beef with cauliflower, spinach, lentils, butternut squash, and all-natural herbs and spices."
Wild Fork Bacon and Cheddar Beef Burgers
Wild Fork bacon and cheddar beef burgers may sound delicious but they are packed with 16 grams of saturated fat, which is 80% of the recommended daily intake. "Saturated fat can raise your cholesterol levels and contribute to heart disease," says James Oliver, MD, a medical doctor who specializes in immunology, obstetrics, gynecology, pharmacology, and internal medicine.
Extra Value Meats Beef Patties
Just one Extra Value Meats frozen patty contains over 430 mg of sodium, making it a bad option for those looking to cut back on their sodium intake. Instead, try to look for frozen patties that are low in sodium and carbohydrates, and are made with minimal ingredients.
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