Burger vs. salad: What’s the healthier lunch?

Posted at 11:53 AM, Jun 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-12 11:53:41-04

NEW YORK — It's go time for that summer slim down. Goal: beach body. Quest: how to best reach it? Do you have to eat salads til the end of days? Forever swear off delicious burgers? You might be surprised.

We peeled back the wrapper and dug into the salad bowl to find out.

PIX11 hit the streets to ask, which is worse? The answers predictably contradicted each other, with some diners pointing out it's all about the add-ons that get you into diet busting territory.

Nutritionist Tatiana Toro-Ramos, lead researcher for the diet app Noom says:

"You can have either, depending on where you get the burger and what you put in the salad."

She insists we really need to choose your burger maker wisely to avoid preservatives.

So what's her suggestion? — Try Shake Shack.

"We evaluated their ingredients and there are no preservatives. Their meat is leaner. They use whole ingredients. Their bread doesn’t have any preservatives."

Which means, you need to know your ingredients before you buy, and a salad can either be the healthiest thing for you, or:

"If you eat just lettuce, tomatoes, carrots that’s kinda boring. Bu add avocados: yes that’s caloric, but they’re really full of nutrients, they’re good for you."

A salad could also totally blow your calorie budget.

"Sometimes calories are hiding where we least expect it. You get a taco salad with beef, it can be 800 – 1000 calories."

So here are the best choices for each:

First, in your salads, choose spinach, radicchio, kale, beets. Cheeses in very small portions are OK. And egg or grilled chicken, not fried. Dressing you can skip.

For those craving burgers, skip the ones with ingredients you don't want to eat, like the ones full of preservatives.

"Shake Shack got top marks, we though it was good. The meat is leaner. Pure beef. No additives, no fillers. And the burger with cheese, bacon and the sauce comes up to 550 calories."