Nothing says summer quite like firing up the barbeque, but most of those classic grill meats have a long way to go in the health department. The classic hot dog can pack up to 188 calories, 17 grams of fat, and a whopping 650mg of sodium per link— plus there’s always more than just a frank on the plate. But turning that classic dog into a healthier one — while still getting that classic flavor — is easy. Here are our three favorite tips:
- Choose a healthier dog. (You don't even want to know what's in those classic hot dogs.) Go for a dog without any fillers or preservatives, and pay close attention to those labels. The shorter the ingredient list, the better. Our favorite swap? Reduced-fat chicken sausage links, totaling only 130 calories, 7 grams of fat, and 480 mg sodium, while also packing on 14 grams of protein (compared to 6 grams in the typical hot dog).
- Opt for a whole-grain bun.Change out that white bun for some whole-grain action for added fiber and nutrients. To save on carbs, try a whole-grain tortilla or pita pocket. Paleo peeps — wrap your dog in a piece of lettuce or kale for a grain-free experience.
- Go for healthier toppings. Classic ketchup comes packed with sodium and (eek!) high fructose corn syrup. Instead, opt for a homemade ketchup. And that bright yellow French’s? Try one dog with some whole-grain mustard and you'll never go back. Don't be afraid to throw some fresh veggies on the bun, either: Fresh greens or cabbage make a great bun-liner base with some added crunch, tomato and diced onion go great on top, and avocado adds an unmatched decadent texture.
Healthier Hot Dogs
What You'll Need:
8 premade Chicken sausage (opt for a low-sodium variety) 8 whole-wheat hot dog buns or sub rolls (carb-saving trick: whole-wheat tortilla or pita pocket) 2 tomatoes, each cut into 8 wedges 2 handfuls arugula or spinach 3 tablespoons whole-grain mustard 1-2 tablespoons diced sun-dried tomatoes (less sodium than ketchup) What to Do:
- Fire up the grill and cook the chicken sausage until warmed through.
- While the sausages are cooking, mix together 2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard and 3 tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomato.
- Lightly toast rolls over grill.
- To assemble: Spread mustard mixture on bun, line with greens, top with sausage, and add 2 tomato wedges to each bun alongside the dog.
Need more recipe inspiration? Check out these three inventive healthier hot dog recipes:
The sweet and smooth texture of the mango and pineapple compliment classic hot dog flavors perfectly. Think of it as a fruity (and healthier) version of relish!
Sprouts, creamy avocado, and fresh red onion add flavor and texture to this healthier hot dog recipe. We think a line of sriracha would go perfectly with this one, too.
Believe it or not, when the base is a nitrate-free, low-sodium dog or sausage, the classic toppings on a Chicago-style dog — that's pickle, tomato, onion, hot peppers, and mustard — make it a healthier choice. For more great recipes, don't miss our list of 43 healthier July Fourth recipes.
What's your favorite way to top a classic hot dog? Share with us in the comments below or tweet us @greatist!