Does a Healthy Hot Dog Exist?

hot dogs grillingI’ve got kids. We spend lots of time at the pool, which means that we spend lots of time eating at summer time barbecues. For most of my kids, just like many children in America, this means one thing – hot dogs! There’s nothing more social than a cookout, and nothing more ubiquitous than hot dogs on the grill. Yummy, easy to cook, classic, and convenient to eat. But we all know (or should know!) that they aren’t the best choice for out daily intake. So I ask, is there a way to keep them in your diet and reduce the harm? Let’s take a look.

There are more than a few reasons hot dogs aren’t good for you – they are high in fat and calories, the meat content is sometimes questionable, and the inclusion of nitrates (a known carcinogen) added to keep the hot dog pink and free from botulism. But they taste so good, and the reality is that summer time equals hot dogs. How can we make this not so good choice better?

There are some delicious alternatives to the standard hot dog available.

  • What about low-fat chicken or turkey dogs? Healthy Choice and Ball Park make low-fat choices that rate high on the taste scale.
  • Applegate Farms sells an organic beef hot dog that contains no nitrates and is lower in fat.
  • Trader Joe’s sells a store brand that is yummy.
  • Vegan or soy dogs can be a good alternative.

Choose a whole wheat bun, ketchup and mustard free of high fructose corn syrup, and you have a lunch that is healthy and delicious!

Now, if only there was a way to make all the side dishes low in calories and fat free, I think I’d enjoy barbecues even more!

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