Ask LH: What's Worse For You - Burgers Or Meat Pies?

Image: iStock

Dear Lifehacker, I work from home and buy myself a takeaway lunch once or twice a week. Unfortunately, the only options near my house are a burger shop or a bakery that sells hot pies. Neither store has any nutritional information on their menu, so I'm not sure which is worse. Am I better off grabbing the burger or the meat pie? Thanks, Too Busy To Cook

Dear TBTC,

Unfortunately, most independent fast food outlets are not beholden to kilojoule display laws. For example, in NSW a takeaway business only needs to provide nutritional information on its menu if it operates 50 stores nationally. In other words, most bakeries and burger joints are exempt.

With that said, it's still possible to get a rough idea of the damage you're ingesting by doing a little research. According to MyFitnessPal, the average Aussie BBQ burger contains around 2500kJ of energy. A generic mince meat pie, meanwhile, clocks in at 2000kJ.

Of course, results can vary considerably depending on the size of the pie or burger in question and the ingredients used. Plus, kilojueles alone don't tell the whole story - you also need to factor in sodium, saturated fats, sugars and protein.

As mentioned, independent fast food merchants usually don't supply the above information, but you can make broad comparisons by looking at larger franchises. For example, a mince meat pie from Pie Face contains 2320kJ of energy, 20.7g of protein, 14.7g of saturated fat and 1.6g of sugar. A beef burger from Grill’d contains 2680kJ of energy, 32.6g of protein, 9.0g of saturated fat and 11.0g of sugar.

Personally, we think the burger is probably a (slightly) better option for your lunch. Despite having a higher kJ count on paper, it provides more nutritional value than a meat pie and will probably fill you up more, which reduces the likelihood of snacking later in the day. (Just go easy on the sauce and stick to a single beef patty and salad!)

Cheers Lifehacker

Got your own question you want to put to Lifehacker? Send it using our contact form.


    A delicious meat pie on your hand. Unfortunately, I am interested to eat that meat pie.

    Ah too hard to call! I guess though you can take an educated guess by the rough quality of what you’re getting - it’s the pie something like a four n twenty party pie, with generic, almost black mince gloup in it? Or does it have chunks of meat and maybe a few peas or something? There’s the kind of pie you find in the cabinet of a 7-11 and then there’s a proper pie made of real deliciousness!

    At least the burger you can get a pretty good idea of the other stuff between the buns - lettuce, onion, beetroot, etc. Does the bun taste like something they’ve baked in house, or just a generic fast-food-supplier bun?

    You can never know for sure what’s in something you buy from a takeaway, but I do think you can get a rough idea. Generally though, as LH say there’ll be a lot of salt in either. That’s pretty true of most food you buy; ‘salt makes things tasty’ is often the mantra of the kitchen. Although... I gotta say I stopped adding that ‘spoon of salt’ on every recipe to just about everything I cook at home and we really can’t tell much of a difference. Lots of burger places will put a fairly sizeable amount of salt in the mince when making it, and then sprinkle the patty’s again with salt and maybe sugar when cooking, so that could be something to watch out for, especially if you have fries with your burger.

    I think really though... if you just make it a once a week treat, yeah, they’re both bad but it’s once a week! enjoy the one you like! Sadly if it’s every day, there isn’t really a healthy option there.

    Last edited 12/12/17 9:35 am

    I managed to get a cheeseburger meat pie from the pie shop in Holbrook. Literally a patty with sauce and cheese baked into a pie. I love that pie shop, best pies I’ve ever had.

    The best pies in OZ are undoubtedly at the pie shop in Fernvale. The place is always crowded with customers from far and wide.The certificates on the walls testify to the claim.About 50+ different varieties and the peas are just like mum used to make.Well worth the trip because there's not much else out there.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now