Which is Healthier: Burger vs. Hot Dog
Burgers aren’t about ground beef anymore. Although you can make a killer burger from 90 to 95% lean ground beef, burger alternatives like turkey, bison, ostrich, and fish are delicious too. These leaner choices provide tons of protein, iron and energy boosting B-vitamins.
It’s easy to rack up the calories with huge burger patties, tons of cheese and other fatty toppings, mayo and other calorie-laden condiments and huge buns. Ground beef and other ground up proteins are also at higher risk for food bugs like E. Coli.
- Opt for leaner meats like 90 to 95 percent lean ground beef, bison, or turkey breast. If lighter options aren’t available, then mind your portions (aim for 3 to 4 ounce patties).
- Pile burger high with veggies like fresh lettuce, tomatoes and onions.
- Be mindful of sauces—use 1 to 2 tablespoons to control portions.
- Choose high fat toppers like cheese, mayo, avocado and fried onions sparingly.
- More ways to lighten up burgers
- Healthy burger recipes
Hot dogs aren’t only an adult favorite, kids love them too. I always know I can get my kids to eat a ho tdog when we head out to a barbecue. The calories aren’t out of control -- a regular sized (1.6 ounce) hot dog with a touch of ketchup, mustard and a bun only has a few hundred calories.
These bad boys are highly processed and most brands contain nitrites. Most folks don’t stop at just one—they eat 2 or 3 hotdogs at one sitting—not to mention the mayonnaise-laden sides and other barbecue goodies that get gobbled up too.
Hot dogs have also been linked to the bacteria Listeria Monocytogenes, shown to effect the very young and old.
- A variety of hot dogs are available such as nitrate-free or reduced fat.
- If you need a second dog, hold back on the bun or the mayonnaise-filled side salads.
- Sauerkraut is a low calorie topping for hot dogs that can help fill you up, though it’s high in sodium.
Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. See Toby's full bio »