Memorial Day is nearly here, which means lots of cookouts—complete with delicious burgers and hard-to-resist fixings. But unfortunately, some of those toppings can pile on tons of unnecessary calories. That said, you don’t need to chomp on a completely naked burger to keep it low-cal. We tapped into the mind of flavor genius Tom Ryan, the founder and chief concept officer of Smashburger, a brand well known for its innovative topping combinations.“The key to building a burger is great taste and high-quality, fresh ingredients,” says Ryan. But that doesn’t need to include high-fat ingredients. In general, he suggests sticking to greens, veggies, lower-fat cheeses like cotija and parmesan, seasonings like cumin and sea salt, and low-cal, high-flavor sauces like no-fat Greek yogurt, ponzu and mustard. But it’s still tricky to know exactly how many calories you’re adding on at the topping bar, so Ryan took the guesswork out of it. Here are five of his favorite healthy topping combos, all of which add up to 115 calories or less:
Pacific Coast Burger
“This has a Baja, Mexican character,” says Ryan. “I make this sort of thing at home all the time. We use zero-fat Greek yogurt and cut it with a squeeze of lime.” (114 Calories).
“This one is inspired by a cucumber and goat cheese burger we have on the menu,” says Ryan. (96 Calories).
Wine Country French Burger
“Mustards are very popular right now,” says Ryan. “They’re low in fat and have a lot of flavor.” (48 Calories)
“This has a great, robust flavor to it,” says Ryan. “In some of our locations, we serve a version of this with a fried egg on top, which has a lot of taste and protein with a little bit of fat.” (103 Calories).
“We serve a version of this down in our Atlanta- and Carolina-area locations,” says Ryan. “It’s a celebration of barbecue. The combination here is really great and flavorful.” (68 Calories)