Katie's Healthy Bites: Healthier Hot Dogs

Can you eat hot dogs on a healthy diet? Here are our picks for the best brands and the most filling hot dog toppings.
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On Labor Day weekend, many families will be firing up the grill to cook . . . you guessed it: hot dogs. 95% of American households eat hotdogs (we consume over 20 billion a year).  Hot dogs are notoriously high in fat/saturated fat and sodium  and most only have about an ounce of protein. So, I bet you're wondering how you can enjoy your Labor Day cook-out and be health conscious? Here are some tips to a better 'dog.

Choose a hot dog that is lower in fat (less than 10 g of total fat and 5 g of saturated fat) and sodium (less then 500mg).  Look for light or reduced fat versions; fat-free versions usually add more sodium for flavor. Here are some brands that fit the bill.

And try to resist eating more than one!  Sound tough?  Here are some creative ways to bulk up your dog with healthy ingredients that will fill up your belly as well.

  • Southwest Dog: Add salsa, black beans and fresh corn kernels
  • Italian Dog: Add roasted peppers, chopped artichoke hearts and white beans
  • Asian Dog: Add shredded cabbage, carrots and red pepper and top it off with some siracha
  • Greek Dog: Top with tzatziki (use low fat yogurt to keep it light)
  • Garden Dog: Top with shredded carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers and zucchini and add a smear of red pepper hummus
What are your favorite healthy hot dog toppings?

Katie Cavuto Boyle, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian, personal chef and owner of HealthyBites, LLC. See Katie's full bio »

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