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Five Ways to Eat Healthy at Whataburger

Nichole Dandrea-Russert, MS, RDN

Whataburger does not draw a crowd because it boasts healthy and organic ingredients, rather it draws a crowd because it sells burgers that are "so big that it takes two hands to hold." While this chain has 735 stores across the country and a very noble six decade history in business, it hasn't quite caught on to the popular street buzz that its competitors, Carl's Jr and In-N-Out Burger are privy to—The Impossible Burger. Pat Brown, Impossible Foods Founder and CEO states, "Over the next few years, the best pork, the best chicken, the best fish, cheese, eggs the world has ever seen will be made directly from plants, using the know-how and tools Impossible Foods is developing today." Maybe someone should inform Whataburger.

Whataburger offers, not only a single burger patty, but a double AND triple decker sandwiches! (Did someone say triple decker burger or triple decker heart attack?) Before diving into that triple, or even double, decker burger, consider these healthier options so that you can live for your next Whataburger experience.

  1. Go with the Shroom. They offer a mushroom swiss cheese burger that can easily be made vegetarian by omitting the burger. (See below for the vegan version.)
  2. Build your own burger! They offer superfood ingredients as toppings for their burgers. Make your own burger by asking them to hold the meat and instead add toppings galore to make a big, delicious sandwich. Looking at their options, that could include mushrooms, onions, lettuce, tomato, avocado and jalapeno. Who knows, maybe you'll inspire them to put your "build your own" burger idea on their menu!
  3. When in doubt, choose green. Whataburger offers two nice-looking vibrant salads, Garden Salad with Chicken and Apple Cranberry (weighing in with only 290 and 260 calories, respectively). Substitute mushrooms for chicken for even less calories while still getting a delicious umami flavor and "meaty" texture from the mushrooms. This is a kinder version for your body and for animals.
  4. Choose one instead of three. Maybe this will motivate you: There are 590 calories and 25 grams of fat in a single patty Whataburger, while there are 1080 calories and 63 grams of fat in a triple patty Whatburger. Say "What?" Yep, that's almost a full day of calories and fat for some people. If you absolutely can't opt for vegan or vegetarian then at least give your blood vessels a little breathing room by opting for one instead of two (830 calories, 44 grams of fat) or three patties. P.S. Protein is over-rated and most people get way more protein than they actually need, so don't fret over the meat loss.
  5. Ask for the Impossible Burger! They may not offer it yet, but if enough Whataburger customers ask, they can easily add the Impossible Burger to their menu. Let them know that In-N-Out is doing it. Carl's Jr is doing it. White Castle is even doing it. See the trend? It's a great time for Whataburger to hop on board with healthier options.

Bonus tip: Whataburger carries apples! There's no better way to end a meal then with crispy, sweet and delicious apples.