National Hot Dog Day or not, this classic summer favorite is a staple at barbecues, beaches and, of course, baseball games. For many Americans, it's hard to imagine a summer without spicy frank grilled to perfection. This means that Americans spent over $7 billion on hot dogs and sausages in US supermarkets in 2021. Raise your hand if you contributed!
While you might want to lay down like Joey Chestnut for the rest of the summer, let's face it: hot dogs aren't exactly the healthiest choice. The good news, though, is that there are a handful of ways to take your dog from not-so-clean to lean and mean.
Here, Janine Nyquist, chef, food stylist, and recipe developer who has worked with many leading industry experts including Scott Conant, Jonathan Waxman, and Geoffrey Zakarian, explains step-by-step how to make a healthy hot dog.
Janine is a Florida-based mother of four, as well as a chef, food stylist and recipe developer. She has worked with restaurant industry A-listers such as Scott Conant, Jonathan Waxman and Geoffrey Zakarian. Growing up Italian-American, food has always been a priority in Janine's life. She believes in using simple and seasonal ingredients to create thoughtful foods that nourish body and soul. Janine regularly highlights gathering with friends and family to create memories around a table of delicious food and great conversation.
Janine is a chef, food stylist and recipe developer who has worked with many leading industry experts including Scott Conant, Jonathan Waxman and Geoffrey Zakarian. Growing up Italian-American, food has always been a priority in Janine's life. She believes in using simple and seasonal ingredients to create thoughtful foods that nourish body and soul. Janine regularly highlights gathering with friends and family to create memories around a table of delicious food and great conversation. She is an active mother of 4 and lives in sunny Florida.
Choose a healthy hot dog
"The fewer ingredients, the better," says chef Janine.
- 100% grass-fed organic beef, uncured, nitrate and nitrite free: Applegate, Organic Valley, 365 Whole Foods Generics
- Low-fat options include: Hebrew National 97% Fat Free
- Plant Based Options: Updog, Litelife, Tofurky
Different types of healthy buns
Luckily, "there are so many ways to make the jar 'healthy' for hot dogs," says Chef Janine, and here are some easy-to-find options that can reduce calories and also contain TKTK.
- Gluten free buns
- Cauliflower Wraps
- Sandwich thinner
- Germ buns like Ezekiel 4:9
- Wholemeal Buns or Wholemeal Buns
- Skip the bun altogether and opt for lettuce leaves
Photo by Victoria Shes on Unsplash
Healthy hot dog toppings
Whether you like your dogs fully loaded or enjoy a topping or two, you won't run out of options or flavor when you lighten it up.
- Low-sugar or sugar-free ketchup
- Sauerkraut or kimchi (for gut health)
- Vegetables such as chopped tomatoes, shredded lettuce or coleslaw made from seasonal produce
- Jalapenos - fresh are best - add the perfect amount of warmth
- Replace mayonnaise with avocado for heart-healthy fats
- Sauteed Mushrooms
- Caramelized onions for natural sweetness
- Beans for extra protein
Increase your frank by spiraling it
Presentation coungs and spiral cut hot dogs are a unique way to enjoy your grilled dogs. t only does it add something different to your dish, but your company will admire your skills as a chef. "When you cut the hot dog this way, you end up with a lot of little corners for the toppings to sink into." She says. Perfect for those who like to pack on the toppings. "The edges also become a bit crispier, which creates a great texture," says chef Janine.