Hot dogs are loaded with calories, with the average hot dog containing around 290 calories before the calorie-laden toppings. They are also high in sodium and curing agents, with a single hot dog making up a third of the daily sodium allowance, and the saturated fat content of some hot dogs can amount to the same saturated fat content of 8 slices of bacon – which is incredibly unhealthy for the heart.
Put one of these hot dogs on a bun made from white bread, which is all carbohydrates and no fibre, and you’re setting your body up for a big spike in insulin levels. Then come the toppings such as ketchup and mustard which increase the overall calorie content of the hot dog along with the sodium content to create very unhealthy meal.
Here are a few ways that you can make your hot dog a little bit healthier for guilt-free enjoyment:
Eat Organic Hot Dogs:
Hot dogs made from organic meat contain a lot fewer hormones and antibiotics than non-organic meat. Organic hot dogs are also lower in sodium which improves their effect on heart health tenfold. It is important to know where the meat you are eating is coming from in order to ensure a healthy meal.
Eat 100% Beef Hot Dogs:
If you cannot find or afford organic hot dogs then it is important to ensure the hot dogs you buy are 100% beef. Beef hot dogs do not usually contain as much sodium or preservatives as chicken or turkey hot dogs.
Check the Label:
Look for hot dogs that do not contain any added nitrites and nitrates and come in at under 370mg of sodium.
Improve the Bun:
Put the hot dog on a whole-wheat bun instead of a white bread bun. White bread does not contain fibre which means that it will enter the blood stream very quickly and spike the blood insulin levels. Spiked insulin levels signal to the body that it must store energy as fat – which is what most people are trying to avoid. The rapid absorption of the food accompanied by the spike in insulin will also result in an individual becoming hungry soon after eating.
Whole-wheat buns contain a lot of fibre which will slow down the absorption of the hot dog. This results in individuals feeling full for longer and ensures they receive the nutrients and minerals of whole-wheat buns which has been processed out of white bread buns.
Improve the Toppings:
Fresh tomatoes are an excellent alternative to ketchup. Tomatoes, and other vegetables such as scallions and hot peppers, are packed full of nutrients. They are an excellent alternative to non-nutritious sodium filled sauces that do not add any volume to the meal. Fresh vegetables will also bulk up the meal to full you up faster and prevent overeating.
It is important to enjoy your favourite foods in moderation to complete a satisfying balanced diet and making these foods healthier with a few simple swaps will ensure you are able to maintain a healthy lifestyle the easy way – without having to compromise on flavour.