Level up your grilling game with these dietitian-approved franks, including beef, pork, chicken, turkey and vegetarian options.
By Krissy Brady, Jun 10, 2022, 05:45 AM EDT
OK, so hot dogs aren’t the world’s healthiest food, but admit it: If they weren’t on the menu at summer barbecues, it’d feel like losing a friend.
Fortunately, with a growing number of healthier hot dogs hitting supermarket shelves, it’s become possible to indulge and still go easy on your body. You just need to know what to look out for.
First things first: “Avoid traditional or ballpark-labeled hot dogs,” Nicole Avena, a New York-based nutrition consultant, told HuffPost. “These are usually the highest in sodium and contain the most additives and preservatives.”
All processed meats are a health risk ― they’ve been linked to certain types of cancer, like colorectal cancer, because of the way they’re preserved. But there are a few types of meat that offer less risk than the standard beef hot dog, Avena said. Look for a label that indicates whole beef, turkey or chicken, as opposed to mechanically processed and separated meats.
Another important factor is sodium content. “Choose hot dogs that have less than 400 mg (or less than 20% of the daily value) of sodium per serving,” said Gretchen Zimmermann, senior director of cardiometabolic care for Vida Health. (The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults limit sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg per day.)