In partnership with BetterBrand.
What I've always loved and hated about burgers is how insanely indulgent they are. It's not just a beef patty, it's not just a slab of gooey, melty cheese (because I always have my burgers with cheese), it's also two fluffy bread products holding the whole thing together. It's a triple threat of protein, fat and carbs, with less of the former than you usually need and almost certainly more of the latter two.
Because of that, I often long for a "healthier" burger… while being decidedly unimpressed with the options that are available. Burgers on a lettuce wrap just aren't my culture; veggie patties are delicious but rarely scratch the itch for the real thing. So when I heard about The Better Bun (from $24 for non-subscribers), I was skeptical at best. Boasting "the net carb content of two apple slices" alongside a whopping 20 grams of protein per serving, this bun had exactly the proportion of macronutrients I was looking for… but was that really what the food gods intended? Could a burger bun rewrite physics to be both healthy and delicious?
Having finished my entire trial pack this weekend, I can confidently say: hell yes it can.
- The balance of protein and carbs is something of a miracle
- The three flavors — Brioche, Sesame and Pretzel — are exactly what you want on a burger
- They're designed to be frozen, so it's easy to always have one on hand
We don't like
- They're remarkably filling, which doesn't have to be a bad thing but does make them eat a bit densely
- While the price point reflects the high volume of protein packed inside, it's definitely a step up from what you're used to spending on buns
SOME BETTER BACKSTORY
If BetterBrand, the maker of The Better Bun, sounds familiar, that's because they were already something of a sensation with their cult-favorite Better Bagel (from $16 for 4 bagels). The same selling points stand: a bagel with only five net carbs and the kind of protein count you can usually only find by inhaling a whole chicken breast. To be clear, they weren't the first to develop a low-carb bagel (or bun, for that matter), but the alternatives before then were so thin and tough that they felt more like a chew toy than a chef's treat.
But BetterBrand is a pioneer in the food technology space, using all plant-based and macronutrient-balanced ingredients to replicate the classics. While their R&D process has been solidly under wraps, their ingredient list hints at their approach. Wheat protein isolate, modified wheat starch, agave fiber and acacia gum are some of the plant-derived ingredients that give their buns structure without relying on carb-heavy flours. Lakanto, not white sugar, provides the buns' subtle sweetness. And though all of the above might sound a little science fiction-y, in reality they're non-GMO and fiber-rich ingredients — meaning they add up to a burger your system can actually digest.
With all of the above info in mind, I was much more intrigued to sample some Better Buns by the time my Variety Pack ($36 for a one-time purchase) arrived. The three flavors were exactly what I want on my burger — The Sesame, The Pretzel and The Brioche buns — with perhaps the only flavor missing from the Mount Rushmore of bun options being Hawaiian Sweet Roll (which, hats off, is launching soon enough). But the name of the game here is less sugar, and for that I was pretty damn impressed: it's even more surreal reading the nutritional stats when you see how much the buns look like the real deal in person.
Like a lot of keto-friendly bread products, The Better Bun is meant to be refrigerated or frozen to extend its shelf life. Since I always insist on toasting my buns anyway, that was easy to accommodate, and they thawed within 20 minutes of being placed on the counter. While my partner fired up the grill to prepare the burgers themselves, I tended to the toaster to get some golden color on each of the three flavors. By the time the tomato was sliced and the pickle jar was opened, they were ready to face the taste test.
The Better Bun Variety Pack
We don't like
The Sesame Better Bun
We don't like
The Pretzel Better Bun
We don't like
The Brioche Better Bun
We don't like
EASY AS 1, 2, 3
First up was The Brioche Better Bun , which was in many ways the most classic. Biting in I was immediately struck by how… not bizarre the flavor was, by how little of a clue I would've had that I was eating a healthier alternative if I'd gone in blind. I do think "Brioche" is a bit of a misnomer, since it wasn't as tall or buttery as that name connotes, but this bun subbed in perfectly for a classic potato roll. And if you love a potato roll like I do, that's certainly not bad news.
The Pretzel Better Bun was a huge hit for both of us, with that iconic split top and two-tone color. It looked fantastic toasted, and the added protein content meant we were quickly satisfied with our first burgers and didn't feel the need to keep devouring more and more food. This was honestly the most shocking detail of the whole eating experience, since I tend to eat absolutely whatever is put in front of me and only half an hour later I was full after my first serving. But the Better Bun is a substantial accessory, rounding out that burger to feel like a full meal, and delivering the macros that would make my erstwhile gym trainer proud in the process.
Still, my job wasn't done until I tried the third flavor, and The Sesame Better Bun proved to be my absolute favorite. The sesame seeds brought that instant nostalgia to a new, cutting-edge product, and the subtly nutty flavor was a great addition to the palate. As someone who hadn't tried the Better Bagel yet, within one meal I was adding those babies to my cart as well — and for those of you who are ready to double dip, the Better Classics Bundle is just $30 for four bagels and four buns, with a lower price available if you sign up for a subscription.
A BETTER WAY FORWARD
Whenever I've eaten low-carb in the past, I've always decided to eschew breads, bagels and buns altogether — better to abstain than to suffer a pale comparison. But The Better Bun totally overcame my biases and then some. Especially considering that I'm now working on a high-fiber daily goal with my health coach, and each bun clocks in with a whopping 28 grams of fiber, they totally suit my lifestyle right now as well as a range of others. They're keto-friendly as mentioned, they're vegan, and with gluten-free additions in the works right now and destined for the market before long, The Better Bun's star is only on the rise.
So now that it's grilling season, you've really got no excuse. What's stopping you from making your burger Better?
Use the code TQE20 for 20% off your first order of The Better Bun!