Aramark Dietitian Dishes on Why She Chooses The Blend

We are excited to have Christa Jacobs, a registered dietitian nutritionist for Aramark, share her thoughts on The Blend, including the nutritional benefits and her advice for blending mushrooms with meat.

What are some of the nutritional benefits of mushrooms?
Christa Jacobs: Mushrooms, while low in carbs and fat, are high in many essential nutrients. They contain several B vitamins, such as niacin and riboflavin, which aid in energy production and skin health. Mushrooms also contain copper, which promotes bone strength, blood cell maturating, and metabolism.

In your opinion, why do mushrooms blend so well with meat?
CJ: The texture of mushrooms is the main reason they blend so well with meat. Mushrooms can be chopped or ground very fine, and are soft, like ground meat. They also visually blend in very well once cooked. It’s hard to tell that 25 percent of your burger is made from mushrooms.

What do you love about The Blend?
CJ: I have always been a fan of blending mushrooms into meat dishes – you get two food groups and save money on your grocery costs by stretching your meat budget in a very nutritious way. Blending mushrooms into typical meat dishes saves on calories, fat and cost, which you know I love as a registered dietitian nutritionist.

What are the health benefits of The Blend?
CJ: Blended items are healthier than the 100 percent meat alternative. Substituting 25 percent of the beef in a dish cuts calories, fat and sodium by nearly 1/3. For example, 4 ounces of ground beef (80% lean/cooked) has 277 calories, 460 mg sodium, 18 grams total fat, 7 grams saturated fat while 3 ounces of the same ground beef has 208 calories, 345 mg sodium, 13 grams total fat, 5 grams saturated fat. Sodium is reduced by 115 mg (25%) by using 1 ounce less ground beef (stats from USDA).

How do you incorporate The Blend into your kitchen?
CJ: I love making blended burgers! Mushrooms can be purchased in many different forms, and almost all of them will work in a burger recipe. My advice would be to purchase whole raw mushrooms or sliced raw mushrooms. Canned mushrooms are an option, but look for a can with no added salt or fat. Place sliced mushrooms in a food processor or finely chop with a knife. Then cook them in a non-stick skillet for 3-5 minutes. I recommend seasoning them with low-sodium options such as garlic powder. The mushrooms are then ready to be mixed in to your favorite burger recipe using ground beef or other ground meat options.

Regardless of the size of your typical burger, you want to aim for replacing at least 25 percent of the meat with mushrooms for the blended burger. A good scale when cooking for a family is ½ pound (6-8 ounces) of mushrooms to 1 pound of ground meat.

What’s your favorite blended recipe?
Hamburger, tacos and chili are three of my favorite options for using a blend of ground meat and mushrooms.

Want to try The Blend? Join the blenditarian community and try The Blend to get our free digital recipe book.

Disclosure: All opinions, health claims and statements are those of interviewee.