• Melia Azzam, Writer

How to Build a Better Burger (or Salad!)


How do you make a burger healthier? Tastier? More appetizing? How do you make a better salad more balanced? Or appealing?

The awesome culinary crew at the Osprey Cafe have asked themselves those questions repeatedly, now I’m going to give you the scoop on why it's worth making a trip to the Cafe and checking out their delectable menu. The 'Grill', located at the back of the cafe, offers various options including plant-based patties for all you burger connoisseurs. Simply, look for the vegan and vegetarian identifiers at the Osprey Café that are placed above the dish to help identify your preferences.

Building a Better Burger

The 'Grill' offers Ground Sirloin Patties, Grilled Vegan Burgers, Vegetarian Black Bean Burgers, and Grilled Chicken Patties. Ask our dining associates to place your patty on your choice of a white or wheat bun, (there are gluten-free options too). Just don’t leave that burger plain! A burger is a blank canvas in which you have the base figured out, but what about the design?

1. When dressing your burger, add a thin layer of ketchup, mustard or low-fat mayo. You can even choose to visit our deli section and use our Roasted Pepper Mayo spread.

2. Turn up the flavor with sautéed peppers & mushrooms, sliced tomatoes, lettuce, red onion or banana peppers. With so many toppings options at the grill, your burger can be piled high with veggies.

3. Head over to the salad bar for additional toppings such as various leafy greens, sliced cucumbers, boiled eggs, and more! Load up that veggie patty with toppings and you won’t even miss the meat!

Building a Better Salad

My personal favorite area of the Cafe is the Fresh Market Salad bar which sources the majority of their produce within a 50 to 150 miles from campus.

The bar begins with your choice of a base of spring mix, baby spinach, arugula, romaine lettuce or chopped kale.

1. Go ahead and pickup as many greens as you’d like, but the flavors of kale, baby spinach and arugula will stand out in your plate so if you're not used to a plate of greens go easy at first.

2. Next, we have fresh vegetables toppings such as cucumber, broccoli, grape tomatoes, sliced onion, carrots, olives, broccoli, bell peppers, and corn. Dairy such as shredded cheddar and parmesan, crumbled feta, and creamy cottage cheese.

3. Load up on protein such as diced turkey and ham, grilled and cubed tofu, chopped hard boiled eggs, edamame, garbanzo and black beans. For that added crunch, a scoop of sunflower seeds will naturally replace croutons. No topping is less healthy than the other, but be mindful when picking garnishes because calories add up quickly.

4. The easiest way to overdo unwanted calories on a salad is adding excessive high calorie dressing to your plate. Let’s talk dressings! When choosing a lower calorie salad dressing opt for ones which are less creamy. The bar offers balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar + oil, fat free italian and raspberry and honey mustard all ranging under 200 calories per 2 fluid oz. Lighter dressings even compliment salad greens to win over your visual appeal.

Try a southwest style salad: spring mix base, diced turkey, corn, black beans, onions, red bell pepper, sliced eggs, shredded cheese, balsamic vinegar or italian dressing. Looking for meat free protein meal? The salad bar has it! Try a spring mix base, topped with grilled tofu, garbanzo beans, grape tomatoes, fresh carrots, sunflower seeds and honey mustard dressing. Another idea is to order one salty ingredient for every sweet one. For a well balanced flavor pair combine red beets with feta cheese, grape tomatoes with meats, or chopped kale with raspberry vinaigrette.

Think of these options at the Osprey Cafe as an opportunity to pile in what’s good for you while enjoying it.

Stay Healthy Ospreys!

#healthyeating #healthyfood #healthyincollege #HealthyOsprey

UNF Dining Services' Dietitian

Email Yemila: y.lowry@unf.edu

Bldg 8/1210-J

1 UNF Drive, Jacksonville, FL 32224