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hamburger in flat bread side view with lettuce

Our Homemade Hamburgers Makeover

This is probably the last posts I make like this, comparing calories and macros from different meals. In the last few weeks, after starting this blog and my Instagram account, I’ve adjusted my own concept of healthy eating and what it means for a meal or an overall diet to be healthy.

I’ve never really counted calories. I did try it when I was in college and probably succeed to count 5 days in a row! What I always did was a kind of portion control, weighting or measuring only key ingredients (like oil, pasta or meat). It would translate to an adequate calorie range, but it was not pure “calorie counting” (e.g. I didn’t change the portion from lean meat to red meat, even if there was some difference in the calories).

But I’ve always thought a more “structured” and “rigid” approach to eat was necessary to achieve the optimal “nutritional benefit” from food (I’m a mathematician, so it made sense to me!). However, I can now see there is more to food than the specific nutrients and calories. And I want to explore more those aspects of what means to be healthy and happy.

I will share more on this on future posts. For now, I will show you one last crazy meal I used to eat (if you are curious about this, check my mac and cheese with around 1500 kcal per person – and the alternative I now eat).

Our Crazy Homemade Hamburgers

5 hamburgers, fries and coke

Yes, you can laugh – there is almost nothing homemade in that picture. It’s hamburger bread with bacon, patties from the supermarket, processed cheese (I know all cheese is processed, I’m referring to those packaged individually) and frozen fries. All of it assembled at home! Plus, hamburger sauce and ketchup – those are also there. We will not consider the coke, as it is probably that version with no calories added (which does not make it amazing, but still, there are no calories to count).

Let’s break it down, shall we?

First, this meal was for 2 people – me and my husband (you can get to know him here or here). I believe he ate more than me, but for the sake of simplicity, I will divide all in half in the end for the nutritional information.

Bread

We have in the picture 5 hamburgers. I’ve checked the brand website and they say there are 264 kcal for 100g. Each package has 4 hamburgers (which means we bought 2 packages that day) and it contains 220g – so 55g per bread, a total of 275g. We have 723 kcal just for the bread.

Meat

Now the meat and remaining inside ingredients. I do not know the specific weight of the meat that is in there, but I know that bread is small and although the hamburgers are thick, they are not very big in diameter and cannot have more that 100 to 150g each, so around 500 to 750g in total. Let’s consider something in the middle of that, so 600g. That is around 1000kcal (it was not a very fat meat).

Bacon

On the bacon, I’m pretty sure each sandwich has 2 slices, and I remember eating some directly for the pan – so we must have bought the package with 14 slices. That package has 200g of bacon, thus 456kcal.

Cheese

As for the cheese, this was probably the only one that we didn’t eat the whole package, as I can see each burger has only 1 slice (and the package has 10). I know we ate at least one slice each while preparing the food, so I will consider 7 slices. The package contains 200g, so 20g per slice gives us 140g total and 357kcal in the cheese.

Sauces

I don’t know how much sauce I used, so I will consider it was a portion of each sauce per person. According to the brand website that would give me around 100kcal in sauce (15kcal for ketchup and 36kcal for the burger sauce, considering 2 portions of each). I do believe I’m being to nice on this one.

Potatoes

The potatoes I remember the brand and I’m almost sure I made ½ of the package, so it must have been a 1kg package. If we ate around 500g of potatoes that day, that were 800kcal – but it could be more.

The results

So this meal is composed by the following (excuse the equation!):

Meal = Bread + Meat + Bacon + Cheese + Sauces + Potatoes

Meal = 723 + 1000 + 456 + 357 + 100 + 800 = 3436 in total

Which means, each of us ate around 1700kcal for lunch that day. 1700kcal. I’ve probably ate a little less, but it that is true it means my husband ate more that than, which is absolutely crazy.

Compare that with the last hamburger I made at home:

hamburger in flat bread top view

Conclusion

I remember the feeling after this type of meals. I was stuffed. I sometimes didn’t have dinner on those days – which was not so bad, considering the calories I had just ate. When this happened for dinner, I would almost always have trouble sleeping, have heartburn and wake up to drink lots of water and then waking up again to pee (usually these meals were high in salt). Of course, we didn’t eat like this every day, but there were more times than I would like to admit. I know there is worse than this. But take into consideration none of us is or ever was obese.

I hope that by reading this you can reflect on your own meals. There is a time and place for all foods, and we can absolutely eat any of these foods here. But we should practice moderation. And I didn’t. I would go crazy healthy or doing stuff like this. I now try to practice moderation. And I’m trying to pay attention to what and how I eat, but with a more flexible approach. Be aware not everybody is equal and you will always need to find what works for you. I am still learning, I am still finding it out myself.

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Important mentions:

Miranda, the real life nutritionist (https://www.mirandagalati.com/) was one of the inspirations behind my approach change. A big Thank You to her!

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