Friday recipe: bone-building burgers

October 26, 2012 —

Did you know:

  • you have the same number of bones in your neck as a giraffe and a mouse? We all have seven neck vertebrae, although of course they vary in size.
  • the human hand has 27 bones; your face has 14.
  • the longest bone in your body is your femur, or thigh bone; it’s about one-quarter of your height. Your smallest bone is the stirrup bone in your ear, measuring about one-tenth of an inch.
  • your body stores 99 percent of its calcium in your teeth and bones.

These and other helpful bits of bone info come courtesy of DMU Wellness Specialist Nicole Frangopol. She’s helping the DMU community learn more about maintaining and improving our bone health through diet, nutrition and exercise. Nicole recently offered this advice on keeping our bones healthy:

  • Include plenty of calcium in your diet. For adults ages 19 to 50 and men ages 51 to 70, the Institute of Medicine recommends 1,000 milligrams (mg) of calcium a day. The recommendation increases to 1,200 mg a day for women ages 51 and older and men ages 71 and older. Dietary sources of calcium include dairy products, almonds, broccoli, kale, canned salmon with bones, sardines and soy products such as tofu. If you find it difficult to get enough calcium from what you eat, ask your doctor about calcium supplements.
  • Pay attention to vitamin D. For adults ages 19 to 70, the Institute of Medicine recommends 600 international units (IUs) of vitamin D a day. The recommendation increases to 800 IUs a day for adults ages 71 and older. Although many people get adequate amounts of vitamin D from sunlight, this may not be a good source for everyone. Other sources of vitamin D include oily fish, such as tuna and sardines, egg yolks, fortified milk and vitamin D supplements.  From October to April, the body is not able to absorb vitamin D due to the sun being farthest from earth, so be sure to monitor your diet for the sources listed above.
  • Include physical activity in your daily routine. Weight-bearing exercises such as walking, jogging, playing tennis and climbing stairs can help you build strong bones and slow bone loss.
  • Avoid substance abuse. Avoid smoking and don’t drink more than two alcoholic drinks a day.

Nicole’s good advice leaves me to serve up this salmon burger recipe from Coastal Living. If you get your salmon in a can like I do, don’t be put off by the bits of bone and skin! They’re fully edible and are one reason salmon is such a bone-builder. (If it helps, mashing the salmon up with the other ingredients makes the bones less noticeable.)

Salmon burgers

Photo: Jennifer Davick

  • 14.75-ounce can salmon, drained
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onion
  • 1/4 cup diced pimientos, drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon lime zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek-style yogurt
  • 1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 4 whole wheat or poppy seed buns
  • Garnishes: lettuce, tomato slices, onion slices, cucumber slices

Combine the first 11 ingredients in a bowl, and form mixture into 4 large patties about a half-inch thick. (Patties will be soft.) Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add patties, and cook five minutes on each side. Serve on buns; garnish, if desired.

For a refreshing sauce, combine 1?2 cup Greek-style yogurt, 3 tablespoons minced cucumber, 1 teaspoon fresh chopped dill and a pinch of salt.


Endlessly curious and easily entertained, Barb Dietrich Boose loves being a member of the friendly, fascinating DMU community and its creative communications team. The University's publications director and DMU Magazine editor, Barb is always on the hunt for story ideas, good books and new recipes to try out on her family, such as her surprisingly tasty pork-and-bean bars.