Day of football ahead? For a healthier burger—and more fun in the kitchen—perfect your recipe with these healthy eating tips from chef Franklin Becker

By Marnie Soman Schwartz

Worried about the effect of football food on your diet and fitness goals? Burgers are an indulgence, for sure, but they don't have to be a calorie-packed, diet wrecker. In fact, a few small swaps could give your go-to meal a complete makeover. We recently chatted with healthy chef and restaurateur Franklin Becker at the Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival's Blue Moon Burger Bash and asked him for his best advice for giving burgers a healthy twist. Check out his top tips, below.

1. Rethink the bun. Instead of that fluffy, white (and calorie- and empty carb-packed) bread bomb, Becker suggests using a rice wrap or a corn tortilla. "And if you're really craving that bun, make sure it's a whole-wheat one," he says. You can also try lettuce or cabbage leaves, or simply eating your burger open-faced to save carbs and calories.

2. Ditch the cheese. If you've got good-quality meat, interesting veggie toppings, and amazing condiments, you won't even miss it. And at about 100 calories per slice, this is a way to save major calories. Missing that fat-based texture? Becker says he likes to add avocado to dishes when they need a creamy-yet-healthy textural element.

3. Add in flavorful vegetables. One that Becker recommends: caramelized onion. When they're cooked slowly over low heat, onions get super-sweet and have a concentrated flavor.

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