Food and Nutrition

Brazen Baneful Burger

Tanuja Sodhi
3 to 7 years

Created by Tanuja Sodhi
Updated on Jul 27, 2021

Brazen Baneful Burger
Reviewed by Expert panel

Say “burger”…. and you have your child’s attention in nanoseconds. The very image of a juicy and cheesy burger plays havoc on a young mind. In all probability, your young child will not let you rest in peace till you promise her one sooner than later- the fallout of just saying “burger”. That’s the magic of the burger!
It’s a given that the burger ranks really high on kids’ favourite foods list, but has the food police (read nutritionist) given it a clean chit? Not really. It has consistently got bad press for the health hazards it carries on its head. The burger unquestionably is one of the worst junk food choices of today. It may sound really harsh but it’s a reality that the burger is a combination of almost everything we should not be eating.

Brick-bats for the burger
The burger is a very high energy food which leads to excess calorie consumption resulting in unnecessary weight gain and obesity. This is because it is assembled by adding a whole lot of unhealthy ingredients, such as:
a) White bread buns (made of refined flour) that are a source of simple carbohydrates which create blood sugar spikes. The quick rise and fall of blood sugar jacks up cravings for similar foods and leads to feeling hungry soon again. Hence your child ends up eating every so often that she/he piles up excessive calories;

b) Deep-fried patties which are generally made by frying potatoes or chicken, are laden with trans fats which raise our bad cholesterol (LDL) levels. This situation can lead to heart problems in early adulthood;
c) Layers of cheese are high in fat and sodium. The fat in cheese comes from the full-fat milk which is again a major cause of weight gain and high LDL. Sodium comes from a lot of salt added to the cheese to enhance its taste. Excessive consumption of sodium leads to water retention which in turn leads to piling up unwanted kilos;

d) Sauces such as mayonnaise, miracle whip and ketchup are concentrated with preservatives, oil, sugar and sodium. Regular consumption of preservatives can lead to hyperactivity and breathing problem in children and can put them at risk of cancer and heart problems in early later in life. Sauces contain sugar, which is a simple carbohydrate (bad carb) that leads to storing calories in the fat cells of the body. Restaurants use oils that are really high in saturated fats/trans fats to make sauces, leading to high LDL and weight gain.
e) Fried egg with yolk is a double whammy. Frying food creates trans fats that raise bad cholesterol, and so does excessive consumption of egg yolks.
With an option of fried bacon, good health takes a further beating. A few lettuce leaves thrown in with a couple of tomato and cucumber slices (if at all) are surely not enough to offset the harmful effects of the ingredients listed above. They definitely are inadequate in absolving the fast food restaurants of the guilt of corroding the health fabric of our children.

Reality Check
A combo meal of a burger, medium fries and a glass of fizzy drink can load your little one with approx 1080 baneful and guilt-laden calories. This is at least half of the estimated calorie requirement of a child per day. The calorie need of children between 4 – 18 years of age is between 1200-2200 calories per day.
The burger not only contains many more calories than our traditional home-cooked food, but is also more likely to undermine the normal appetite control system. This is because our brain does not realize that a similar portioned home-made dish has much lesser calories whereas the burger is a very high density food.
While fast food can be a time-saving and a budget-friendly option, the effects of consuming a ‘burger-french fries-fizzy drink’ fare regularly can result in hazardous consequences to both - your child’s health and waistline. Long-term burger binges are likely to seal the fate of your child’s health, leading to weight gain and obesity related diseases. These include diabetes, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, breathing problems, bone diseases and cancer.
However, never say never! You needn’t break your child’s heart by denying her even an occasional burger treat. Offer her the healthy version of home-made burger that minimizes the ‘fat and simple carbohydrate calories’ by using whole wheat buns, low fat cheese, and by doing away with the sinful mayonnaise. Here is the quick recipe:
Ingredients (for 2 burgers):
2 whole wheat burger buns

Ingredients for the cutlet:
1. 1 small potato, boiled and mashed
2. ½ cup chopped mixed vegetables (peas, beans, carrot, cauliflower, capsicum), boiled
3. 1/5 tsp green chilli & ginger paste freshly ground
4. ¼ tsp garam masala
5. A dash of lemon juice
6. Salt (minimal)
7. ½ a slice of bread
8. Little canola oil for shallow frying on non-stick pan

Ingredients for the coleslaw:
1. Little shredded cabbage
2. Little grated carrot
3. ¼ cup fresh milk cream (malai)
4. ¼ tsp mustard powder
5. A pinch of salt
6. A pinch of black pepper

Ingredients for the filling:
1. 4 lettuce leaves
2. 2 slices of a big onion
3. 4 tomato slices
4. 4 cucumber slices
5. 2 tsps tomato ketchup
6. 2 low fat cheese slices

1. Dip the slice of bread in water for a few seconds. Squeeze out the water and crumble the bread.
2. Mix all the ingredients for cutlet together including bread crumble other than oil. Divide the mixture in 2 equal portions.
3. Flatten each portion in your palms to cutlet shape and coat them with bread crumbs.
4. Heat oil in the non-stick pan and shallow fry the cutlets by gently pressing them on both sides till they turn golden brown. Keep aside.
5. Cut the buns horizontally into two parts and toast them lightly on a tava.
6. Take 2 halves of 1 bun and spread a very thin layer of fresh cream (malai) on both insides of the bun halves.
7. Mix all the ingredients of coleslaw together. Save a little fresh cream to apply on both insides of the buns.
8. Place 2 lettuce leaves on the lower half of the bun and top it with half of the coleslaw.
9. Place a cutlet on top of lettuce, and then layer it with 1 onion slice, 2 cucumber slices, 2 tomato slices and a cheese slice.
10. Spread 1 tsp of tomato ketchup on top and then cover with the top half of the bun.
11. Repeat to make the 2nd burger.
Your lower calorie burger of approx. 300 kcals is ready to be devoured by your little one.
Hope this account gives you a better perspective on the infamous burger. So, the next time the little hand tugs at your arm at the sight of a burger joint and those innocent eyes plead to you, don’t just melt! Stop and think twice! It’s the convenience of placating a tempted child versus her health. You choose!

This content has been checked & validated by Doctors and Experts of the parentune Expert panel. Our panel consists of Neonatologist, Gynecologist, Peadiatrician, Nutritionist, Child Counselor, Education & Learning Expert, Physiotherapist, Learning disability Expert and Developmental Pead.

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| Jul 22, 2014

Nice burger

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| Jul 22, 2014

very informative.

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| Jul 29, 2014

Nice n simple to cook recipe

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| Aug 06, 2014

Hi, Can some please share the recipe of making pizza at home. Thank you.

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| Aug 07, 2014

mehak, you can buy the base from market and make sauce at home. grind together tomato (lots) onion and garlic. saute in butter and flavour with oregano and basil dried or fresh herbs. reduce a bit. put on pizza base, top with chopped vegetables, and grated cheese and bake in oven at 200 C for 8-10 mins or till done. you could also grill on a high rack in microwave.

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