Crab cake burgers are a traditional east-coast alternative to the traditional hamburger, and since they are made of fish instead of beef, they are often assumed to be a low calorie substitute. But is this true? Are there really fewer calories in a crab cake burger than a regular burger? This article examines what is really in a crab cake burger, and offers some suggestions to make it lower calorie.
What Is in Crab Cake Burgers?
Before we can begin to create a low-calorie alternative to the traditional crab cake burger, we must first determine what is original burger. Traditionally, crab cake burgers start by combining crab meat with butter, bread crumbs, eggs and mayonnaise, and then they are fried until crispy. The crab cakes are served on a white hamburger bun with a tarter sauce dressing.
While most fish is typically very low in calories, crab meat is one of the exceptions. The butter, mayonnaise, bread crumbs and eggs that are combined with the crab meat all contain large amounts of calories. Butter especially is extremely high in calories, as researchers have found that only one tablespoon of butter contains approximately 100 calories.
Finally, the oil in which the crab cakes are fried is typically a oil composed of saturated fats--which like most oils, contains a high amount of hidden calories. The crab cakes are served on white hamburger buns, which are not only high in calories, but are loaded with simple carbohydrates which have been found to lead to a blood sugar spike and rapid drop. This can lead to dizziness, nausea and lightheadedness.
Making a Healthier Crab Cake Burger
The best way to reduce the calorie content of crab cake burgers is to replace the crab meat with a lower-calorie product. Luckily, there are a lot of different fish species that can work in place of the crab. Tuna is especially good as a replacement for crab meat, as it is not only low in calories, but also has a texture that lends itself well to the formation of burgers.
Secondly, the mayonnaise, bread crumbs and eggs in the original recipe can be easily swapped for lower calorie options. There are a wide variety of different types of mayonnaise currently on the market, and you should have no trouble finding one that is reduced calorie. The same goes for bread crumbs. While eggs don't specifically come in low-calorie options, you can choose egg substitutes such as Egg Beaters that have fewer calories than the original product. Or, you can only use the egg whites to prepare your meal. While it may be difficult to find, you should be able to locate a low-calorie butter option. Instead of frying the patty, grill it.
The traditional white hamburger buns that these crab cakes are traditionally served on should be replaced with whole wheat buns. Not only will these be lower in calorie, but they will also provide a greater amount of fiber. You can even make your crab burger entirely carb-free and wrap it in lettuce. Enjoy!