A New Way To Love Fruits & Veggies: Beefing Up Your Burgers!

Summertime isn’t complete without the sizzling deliciousness of backyard grilling, and like most Americans, my family LOVES grilling real beef burgers. We savor the flavor of beautiful burgers, but what my kids don’t realize is that those beef burgers are also PACKED with lots of nutrition: high-quality protein, iron, zinc and B-vitamins in every bite. As a mom and registered dietitian, I love how just 3 ounces of beef can deliver so many nutrients to my growing family in one delicious package – and what I love even more is how I can “beef up” those burgers with fruits and vegetables, to add even more flavor and nutrition in every bite.

Let’s face it: Most people love beef burgers, but not enough Americans are loving fruits and vegetables each day. As the leader of the Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH), my purpose is to help everyone enjoy more fruits and vegetables to support happier, healthier lifestyles. And what better way to do this than by pairing beef and fruits & veggies together? I’m thrilled to partner with my friends at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, on behalf of the Beef Checkoff, to help Americans beef up their burgers with fruits and vegetables this summer – and all year!

The latest edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) recognizes that “mixed dishes,” including burgers and sandwiches, are how people typically eat – and the DGA noted how there’s a need to help Americans improve the quality of these foods, including burgers, to boost their nutritional value.[i]  That’s where fruits and vegetables come in!

Still, our recent PBH State of the Plate research noted that intake of vegetables such as tomatoes and onions – common burger condiments – is declining.[ii] This could be reversed if more vegetables were added to burgers! The same research noted that sandwiches, multi-cultural mixed dishes (e.g., Italian, Asian, Mexican), and burgers are top ways Americans eat vegetables – and are a perfect opportunity for increasing vegetable consumption (and maybe fruits too).ii

Beef burgers are an ideal, high-quality protein base for vibrant vegetables and flavorful fruit — and ground beef is super versatile for nutrient-rich burgers that appeal to diverse tastes. The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s scientific report highlighted how burgers and sandwiches are the #3 source of vegetables in American diets.iii Let’s take advantage of this trend and add veggies on wholesome beef burgers more often!

It’s this easy:

  • Start with 3-4 ounces of juicy cooked ground beef (85% or leaner)
  • Add layers of crunchy, vibrant vegetables, such as spinach, carrot slaw and red peppers
  • Top with flavorful fruit such as pineapple, mango salsa and tomatoes
  • Add avocado or chickpea-filled hummus for extra creaminess
  • Pair with sides such as roasted potatoes, juicy watermelon or sweet corn

The possibilities are endless to beef up your burgers and Have A Plant® at the same time! Check out more recipes and ideas from PBH’s Have A Plant® Ambassadors At the series, Beef Up Your Burger With Fruits & Veggies and share your favorites with us! #haveaplant @fruitsandveggies and @beefitswhatsfordinner.

[i] U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025. 9th Edition. December 2020. Available at DietaryGuidelines.gov.
[ii] Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH) State of the Plate: America’s Fruit & Vegetable Consumption Trends
[ii]i Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. 2020. Scientific Report of the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee: Advisory Report to the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of Health and Human Services. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Washington, DC.

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