When ordering takeout, what hits the spot more than a cheeseburger? This American classic is simple: beef, cheese, bread and your favorite toppings. There’s no shortage of restaurants serving burgers, so all it takes is a walk down the street to find one made to order. What if you want to select an option better for your diet? What restaurant has the healthiest cheeseburger? This guide takes a look at the most health-conscious cheeseburgers in the U.S.
Who Studies Fast Food Chain Cheeseburgers?
Studying cheeseburgers sounds like a fun job to apply for. Who gets to do this fun project? Gambling.com recently compiled a list of fast-food chain cheeseburgers to see which restaurant has the healthiest options. The study used Visual Capitalist’s list of the top 50 fast food chains in revenue to maximize nationwide coverage of restaurants.
The ranking process comes down to four elements: sugar, fat, sodium and calories. Gambling.com’s list scores those four components on a scale of 1 to 10. A higher score is positive here.
These health factors go a long way in determining how fast-food chain cheeseburgers affect your body. Your options are far and wide at these restaurants, so watch these health metrics when selecting your cheeseburger.
Who Has the Healthiest Cheeseburger?
Gambling.com’s list consists of the restaurants in the 50 fast-food chains that sell cheeseburgers. This list features the top 10 options, including your favorites and surprises.
Can you hear cheers from the Texans? Whataburger takes the top spot on the list for the healthiest cheeseburger. The Whataburger with cheese scored an 8.4 rating. The cheeseburger is relatively low in fat and calories with sodium levels that won’t affect you as others can. You’ll feel less guilty about getting a Whataburger milkshake on the side of your cheeseburger.
2. In-N-Out Burger
Californians take pride in their healthier lifestyles and their delicious burgers. So, it’s only fitting In-N-Out Cheeseburger ranks second place on the list. The classic In-N-Out Cheeseburger ranks second on the list with an 8.2, not far behind the Whataburger concoction. The cheeseburger with onion only has 480 calories, and you still get the famous house sauce.
3. Checkers and Rally’s
Checkers and Rally’s give you relatively healthy options if you’re looking for a quick bite. The Checkerburger with cheese clocks in at 6.3, good enough for third place on the healthiest cheeseburger list. The base Checkerburger is one of the lowest-calorie burgers on the market at only 320 calories. Adding a slice of cheese still keeps it in the top 10. If you’ve never been, get a burger with their signature seasoned fries, which you can find in most grocery stores.
When you hear the term “butter burger,” you might not think of healthy food. However, Culver’s checks in at fourth on the list with a 5.7 score. The ButterBurger Cheese uses fresh beef and a toasted bun with butter to serve Midwesterners the American classic. Culver’s comes from Wisconsin, America’s Dairyland, so the standards for cheeseburgers are high.
5. Del Taco
Are you surprised to see a taco restaurant on a list of the healthiest cheeseburgers? Del Taco takes fifth place with a 5.5 score, just behind Culver’s. The Del Cheeseburger gives you a beef patty with two tomato slices, lettuce, onions and burger sauce for only 470 calories and 28g of fat.
6. Dairy Queen
You know Dairy Queen because of its ice cream. Life wouldn’t be the same without their Blizzards. Though, their cheeseburger ranks sixth on the list with a score of 5.2. The original single cheeseburger has more sodium than the other cheeseburgers. Still, it makes up the health score with low calories and fat content. One order gets you 370 calories and only 18g of fat.
T7. Carl’s Jr. and Hardees
Is it Carl’s Jr. or Hardees? Like Checkers and Rally’s, it depends on where you live. The old Hardee’s Thickburger would deliver nearly 1,000 calories. Still, the restaurant has a healthier option with its small cheeseburger, ranking seventh at 5.0 and tying with McDonald’s cheeseburger.
The formula is simple: beef, cheese, pickles, ketchup and mustard on a sesame seed bun. The cheeseburger only has 300 calories and 14g of fat.
Some people associate McDonald’s with unhealthy eats. Where else can you get an iconic Big Mac and sing the jingle along with it? If you’re trying to think healthily, get the McDonald’s Cheeseburger. It’s only 300 calories and has 13g of fat. Is there anything more American than a McDonald’s burger with fresh fries?
9. Five Guys
Five Guys is a unique cheeseburger fast food chain. What other quick-service locations let you bring home a bag of peanuts for free? Five Guys ranks ninth on the list despite its fat and calorie content. In fact, the 43g of fat earns the restaurant a 0 on the fat score. The healthy features of the Five Guys Cheeseburger come from the sugar and sodium content. This cheeseburger only contains 8g of sugar and 1050mg of sodium.
The final burger on the list comes from Wendy’s. Dave Thomas’ famous Jr. Cheeseburger gets a 4.6 tally with solid scores. The Jr. Cheeseburger is small, so you only get 290 calories from it and 14g of total fat. The 2.1g of sugar dock the score considering its tiny size.
Why Search for Healthy Cheeseburgers?
Cheeseburgers might not top the list when you think of healthy foods. Though, it’s vital to be conscious of what you’re eating and how it affects your body. Cheeseburgers, for example, are often high in fat. Saturated fat raises your low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, putting you at risk for heart disease, the leading cause of death for Americans.
One high-fat cheeseburger won’t kill you, but frequent consumption can negatively impact your body over time. High cholesterol makes blood flow more difficult, risking clots and other problems. As you age, cholesterol can accumulate in your arteries and veins, increasing the risk of a heart attack and other cardiovascular issues.
How Can You Make a Cheeseburger Healthier?
Cheeseburgers don’t have to be junk food. In fact, you can make the healthiest cheeseburger tasty with a few alterations to the typical concoction.
When you make a burger in the kitchen, use ground beef with 10% fat or less. Experts consider ground beef to be lean if it’s 90% lean with 10% fat or less. Use olive oil when cooking because of its unsaturated fat content. Top the burger with onions, lettuce, tomato, pickles and more to add vegetables and complement the burger.
Finding the Healthiest Cheeseburgers
Finding healthy food can be challenging if you’re in a rush, on vacation or too tired to make food at home. Fast-food restaurants make dinner easy with apps and meal delivery services. If you want a fast food chain with healthy cheeseburgers, use this top 10 list to make your burger less guilty.