Healthy eating tips: Have your pizza and burgers, too!

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Sometimes, nothing satisfies a craving for a thick, juicy burger or a big slice of pizza...

Sometimes, nothing satisfies a craving for a thick, juicy burger or a big slice of pizza except the real deal. You can treat yourself once in a while, but how do you incorporate these into your family meals without all the fat and cholesterol? Sure, it's no salad or fruit smoothie, but there are ways to make these mealtime classics a little more waistline-friendly. Try these tips in your Atlanta kitchen when dinnertime rolls around.

A better burger
Ground beef isn't the only type of burger out there. Grab a cookbook and go vegetarian for the night. Black bean burgers seasoned with cumin and garlic will also satisfy a craving for Mexican food. Or, make a lentil burger. These are often seasoned much like meatloaf--with onions and tomatoes--for a hearty patty. These options are lower in fat than their meat counterparts, which means you can still top them with a slice of cheese to satisfy your need for an oooey-gooey dinner.

Skip the roll
Want to save even more calories? Swap the hamburger bun for a whole grain tortilla and make the burger into a wrap. You can also wash a head of lettuce and use large lettuce leafs as the wrap. Be sure to use a few layers so you don't burn your fingers on the hot burger.

Swap the toppings
Okay, not everyone can do the meatless thing. If you still want a classic burger choose a lean blend look for 96 percent ground beef to avoid extra fat. (You can also consider using ground turkey.) Then, overhaul the burger toppings. Simply swapping bacon for a thick stack of tomato slices cuts a whole bunch of calories and fat from the meal.

Shop the menu
Feeling like pizza? Stop and read the menu at your favorite pizzeria. Do they offer a healthier whole-wheat crust or an assortment of fresh vegetable toppings? Choose those! Be sure to top the pie with low-fat mozzarella and a lean protein such as turkey sausage, black beans or ham.

Have some sides
It's easy to overindulge on pizza when it's the only food on your plate. When it's pizza night, keep your healthy eating routine in check by filling half the plate with fresh side dishes such as a crisp broccoli salad, baby carrots with hummus dip or slices of tomatoes fresh from the garden sprinkled with chopped oregano leaves. Filling up on veggies will make it easier to not reach for seconds from the pizza box.

Want to learn more healthy eating tips? Visit a physician in Atlanta for recommendations based on your age, current health condition and medication regimen.

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