By April Dupee
Sweet summertime is synonymous with beach trips, poolside hangs…and lots of ketchup and mustard.
All-American favorites like hamburgers and hot dogs might be summer classics, but they don’t have to always be topped with the same boring condiments. Especially when they may be delivering unwanted sugar. (Dijon mustard, FYI, is usually made with just a few healthy ingredients, but you need other options).
These creative, healthy hamburger and hot dog toppings are not only fun and flavorful, they also add nutrients like vitamins and minerals to your between-the-bun meal.
Keep reading for seven smart ideas to shake up the condiments, so those happy feelings of time well-spent in the sunshine will extend to what’s on your plate at that summer barbecue.
7 Creative, Healthy Hamburger and Hot Dog Toppings
Here’s your cue to throw out that old bottle of relish sitting in a forgotten corner of your fridge. Replace it with flavorful and nutritious kimchi. Kimchi is like the Korean version of sauerkraut. It’s made with fermented veggies and has a spicy kick that adds next-level flavor to your meat. You may have heard about it as a good-for-your-gut food; thanks to fermentation, kimchi provides bacteria that help promote a healthy gut, plus vitamins K and C, which are great for skin.
Who doesn’t love an excuse to eat more guac? No need to reserve this dip for chips and tacos; Guacamole provides a creamy, fatty texture comparable to cheese or mayo, but with way more flavor and nutrients. Avocados are famous for their healthy fats, which are key for nourished skin, balanced blood sugar levels, weight management, and heart health. They also contain fiber and numerous vitamins and minerals such as vitamin K and potassium.
Raise your hand if you’ve always thought of coleslaw as a placeholder BBQ side. Traditional coleslaw is shredded raw cabbage mixed with mayo, but slaws can be made with a variety of veggies and with vinaigrette in place of mayo (check out this yummy jicama slaw or red cabbage slaw with apples and cranberries). And why keep it on the side when you can put it right on top of your burger or dog? Slaws not only provide fresh taste and crisp texture to complement your meat, but they’re also a great way to sneak in extra veggies and fiber, which is key for feeding the beneficial bacteria in your gut and keeping you full longer.
You can’t go wrong with a crowd-pleasing sweet and savory combo. While you already have the grill out for your burgers and hot dogs, throw on some pineapple for a melt-in-your-mouth juicy topping. Grilled pineapple is rich in antioxidants such as flavonoids and vitamin C, which are important for fighting inflammation (the precursor to many chronic diseases) and promoting immune health. Pineapple is also high in manganese, a mineral that helps maintain a healthy metabolism. Put in on your burger as ring, or dice it to sprinkle on a hot dog.
Step aside ketchup, salsa is here to take your place as the new tomato-based condiment. Whether you prefer mild or spicy, fruity or savory, salsa is a simple way to add major flavor with little calories. The veggie-rich dip provides fiber and a healthy dose of vitamin C. If you go for spicy salsa, capsaicin, the compound found in hot peppers responsible for that heat, has been shown to promote weight loss.
The humble mushroom has moved from the sidelines to center stage as one of the latest trending foods—and for good reason. You can now find mushrooms in everything from drinks to snacks due to their many potential health benefits. But a simple chopped and sautéed shiitake or white button mushroom still provides flavor and nutrition as an easy topping. For example, mushrooms are the only natural plant source of vitamin D, which is a key nutrient for bone health. Not to mention, the savory, satisfying flavor on a burger or hot dog is a winning combo.
7. Cucumber Feta Greek Yogurt Dip
For a Greek-inspired meal, try this fresh take on traditional tzatziki sauce. The tangy creamy dip is a nutritious substitute for typical condiments, but it still provides that cheesy richness you crave with your burgers or hot dogs. Protein-rich and filled with nutrient-dense fresh herbs such as dill and scallions, this dip will take your BBQ up a gourmet notch. Bonus: Extra dip can be used with a wide variety of foods including chopped veggies, fish, pita wraps, sandwiches, and other meats.