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The Best Healthy Veggie Burgers at the Grocery Store

Instead of loading up your grill with just cuts of meat at your next barbecue, consider sharing the heat with veggie burgers, even if you’re not a vegetarian.

“Vegetarian burgers often incorporate a variety of vegetables, whole grains and legumes, which are rich in essential nutrients such as dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants,” said one registered dietitian nutritionist. Sam Schleiger. “These nutrients are important for maintaining overall health, aiding digestion, reducing the risk of chronic disease, and supporting a balanced diet.”

But not all veggie burgers are created equal, or necessarily nutritious for that matter. The ingredients for veggie burgers often come from plant-based processed ingredients rather than whole foods. And the amounts of saturated fat are comparable to beef: the Beyond brand has 6 grams per serving, Impossible has 8 grams, and beef has 7.6 grams.

“Some store-bought options may contain additives, preservatives, or high in sodium, so it’s important to read labels and choose brands that use healthy ingredients,” Schleiger added.

Switching to a more plant-based diet may be all the rage right now, but eating more veggies really is good for your health.

“Veggie burgers are generally a great source of plant-based protein, and research shows that plant-based eating habits are linked to a lower risk of chronic disease and [can help] to manage metabolic conditions like diabetes,” said registered dietitian Caroline Young.

Here’s how to tell if your veggie burger actually contains vegetables.

What to look for on the label

With a myriad of options to choose from, making a decision can be overwhelming. But first, you want to look for brands that use whole food ingredients.

“Look for a variety of vegetables, legumes, whole grains, herbs and spices,” Schleiger said. “I recommend avoiding ingredients that you don’t recognize or can’t pronounce.”

Food additives

“These are ingredients that are used to extend shelf life or improve flavor and texture, but some can cause digestive discomfort or other health issues,” a registered dietitian nutritionist explained. Danielle Gaffen. She said emulsifiers such as methylcellulose, which is used as a binding or thickening agent, and xanthan gum, are common food additives.

“In animal studies, methylcellulose has been found to alter the composition of gut bacteria in the gut microbiome, induce gut inflammation, and increase intestinal permeability (leaky gut),” Gaffen said. “Although we need more research on humans, it is an ingredient that may be useful to know.”

Xanthan gum is made from bacteria that ferment into sugar. It is a common food thickening agent found in a range of food products, including salad dressings, soups, ice cream, juices, baked goods, baby foods, and even some veggie burgers. But consuming too much can cause digestive problems.

“In human studies, high doses of xanthan gum have been shown to have noticeable side effects, including increased stool frequency, increased stool production, looser stools, increased gas and bacteria altered bowel,” Gaffen said.


You might not think of veggie burgers with high levels of salt, but you’ll definitely want to double-check, as each brand adds different amounts. “Although some sodium is necessary for bodily functions, too much of it can lead to high blood pressure,” Gaffen said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends Americans consume less than 2,300 mg of sodium per day for a healthy diet. The amount of sodium can vary widely between brands, so it’s important to check the label. An analysis by the Center for Science in the Public Interest found that the sodium content of veggie burgers ranged from 200 mg to 700 mg per 100 gram serving.

Saturated fats

Fats in veggie burgers may seem counterintuitive, but be sure to take a look at the ingredient list for fats and oils.

“Despite being plant-based, some veggie burgers can still be high in saturated fat, especially if they contain coconut oil,” Gaffen said. “Too much saturated fat can raise cholesterol levels, increasing the risk of heart disease.”

Schleiger recommends choosing veggie burgers made with quality oils, like olive oil or avocado oil, but acknowledges that they’re not always easy to find.

The American Heart Association recommends people consume no more than 13 grams of saturated fat per day. For Beyond Meat and Impossible Burger, one serving contains about half the daily limit of saturated fat. Some brands, such as Dr. Praeger’s or Hilary’s, contain 0.5 to 1 gram of saturated fat per serving.


“Veggie burgers are often made with common allergens like soy and nuts,” Young said. “If you have a diagnosed allergy, be sure to read the ingredient list carefully at the store to make sure you’re clear.”

Now that you know which ingredients to avoid, be sure to consider taste and texture, as this will determine whether you enjoy eating a particular veggie burger. “In my professional opinion, the most important factor to consider when shopping for food is taste,” Young said.

These are the main recommendations of experts.

Dr Praeger

Dr. Praeger’s Black Bean Quinoa Veggie Burgers

It’s a favorite of a couple dietitians. Gaffen recommends this veggie burger for several reasons. “It incorporates five distinct types of vegetables, offers 5 grams of protein per serving [and] it meets various dietary requirements by being both gluten-free and vegan.

“I love their Black Bean Quinoa Veggie Burgers because they’re vegan and gluten-free, have 5 grams of fiber per patty, and a nice kick of smoky flavor,” says Ashley Kitchens, registered dietitian nutritionist at herbal basis.

Hilary eats well

Hilary’s Organic World’s Best Veggie Burger

“These veggie burgers are made with organic ingredients and offer a variety of nutrients from whole grains, vegetables, and things like ground flax seeds and apple cider vinegar,” Schleiger said. “Hilary’s veggie burgers are free from common allergens, artificial additives and preservatives.”

whole foods

Engine 2 Poblano Black Bean Veggie Burger

Want a vegan and oil-free vegetarian burger? Consider this brand’s black bean option. “This burger is cholesterol-free, a great source of fiber, and packed with flavor,” Kitchens said.


Amy’s Organic Black Bean Veggie Burger

“I love the variety of quality ingredients and I think it can fit into a well-balanced diet, even if you include meat in your diet,” Schleiger said. “These veggie burgers contain organic non-GMO ingredients and are simple in nature, yet provide a variety of nutrient sources.”

Dr Praeger

Dr. Praeger’s Perfect Burger

For those who want the texture of a meat burger and lots of protein but no meat, consider Dr. Praeger’s Perfect Burger. “If I want a veggie burger that more closely mimics a traditional beef burger, I choose their Perfect Burger, which has 20 grams of protein,” Kitchens said.


Hilary’s Fiesta Veggie Black Bean Burger

Finding a suitable veggie burger can be tricky, especially if you have food allergies. This delicious burger might just fill you up: it’s made with black beans and bean protein, plus lots of veggies. “The product is free from the 12 most common allergens, making it an excellent choice for those with specific dietary restrictions,” Gaffen said. Plus, it contains no food additives or artificial ingredients and provides 8 grams of protein per serving.

Dr Praeger

Dr. Praeger’s Veggie Kale Burger

Looking for an option that’s high in protein and high in veggies? Go for Dr. Praeger’s Kale Veggie Burger with 10 different vegetables, including spinach, sweet potatoes, corn and zucchini. “These veggie burgers offer a variety of quality ingredients along with 10 grams of protein,” Schleiger said.

The Huffington Gt

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