Best Picks for Franks on Those Dog Days of Summer

Aside from temperatures outside rising this summer, grills are heating up as cookouts become a regular attraction in backyards, parks and campsites across the country. Even though they aren’t the most glamorous entrée from the grill, hot dogs have become an All-American favorite and can make for a quick and easy meal for guests at your next outdoor gathering.   

However, some of us may be wary about serving those franks to our more diet-conscientious friends, as many hot dogs can be high in sodium and saturated fat. Luckily, this summertime food staple is available in better-for-you options. In one of our recent “Get The Skinny” segments, we address our top picks for healthier hot dogs that will help to make those dog days of summer less heavy on your tummy.

Whenever looking for hot dogs that won’t leave you feeling guilty afterwards, stay clear of the following:

  • Sodium and Saturated Fat: A single dog can pack in 1/3 of the upper limit for sodium and saturated fat, so look for hot dogs with no more than 2-3 grams of saturated fat, and ideally less than 350 mg sodium.
  • Nitrites: Many are made with added nitrites, compounds which are linked to increased risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer. Look for hot dogs labeled with “no added nitrates or nitrites.”

Check out our top five picks below for a healthier hot dog:

  1. Applegate Natural Uncured Beef Hot Dog – GF
    • 70 cals – 6 grams fat – 2 grams saturated fat – 330 mg sodium – 0 carbs – 6 grams protein
    • Ingredients: Beef, water, and seasonings.
       
  2. Applegate Natural Uncured Turkey Hot Dog – GF
    • 0 cals – 3.5 grams fat – 1 gram saturated fat – 260 mg sodium – 0 carbs – 5 grams protein
    • Ingredients: Turkey, water, and seasonings.
       
  3. LightLife Smart Dogs Veggie Protein Links – Vegan
    • 50 cals – 2 grams fat – 0 saturated fat – 330 mg sodium – 2 grams carbs – 7 grams protein
    • Ingredients: Soy protein, soybean oil, cane syrup, pea protein isolate, tapioca starch, salt, etc.
       
  4. Whole Foods 365 Veggie Dogs – Vegan
    • 60 calories – 1 gram fat – 0 saturated fat – 270 mg sodium – 4 grams carbs – 8 grams protein
    • Ingredients: Wheat gluten, pea protein, tofu, pea starch, cane sugar, salt blend, canola oil, etc.
       
  5. Oscar Mayer Selects Uncured Turkey Franks
    • 120 cals – 9 grams fat – 2.5 grams saturated fat – 480 mg sodium – 3 grams carbs – 6 grams protein
    • Ingredients: Turkey, water, dextrose, corn syrup, and seasonings.

For more details on this topic, watch Molly’s “Get The Skinny” segment on WGNO New Orleans.                                                  

Molly Kimball

Molly Kimball, RD, CSSD
Molly Kimball, RD, CSSD is a Sports and Lifestyle Dietitian, Board Certified as a Specialist in Sports Dietetics by the American Dietetic Association.  She... read more