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Healthy Recipe Doctor

with Elaine Magee, MPH, RD

Elaine Magee's blog has now been retired. We appreciate all the wisdom and support she has brought to the WebMD community throughout the years.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Memorial Day Taste Test: The 2011 Hot Dog and Bun

hot dogs on the grill

What says Memorial Day better than firing up the grill? One of the least expensive and most kid-friendly items to grill is a hot dog. Hot dogs have changed quite a bit over the years. There are some lighter options and some made with turkey or soy, and now there are even hot dogs made without nitrates and nitrites.

So I did a taste test with two new products — a dog and a bun.

The Dog:
In my opinion the key to a great-tasting but lighter hot dog is being lower in fat than the usual hot dog — but not so low that it changes the traditional flavor and texture of a hot dog. This seems to be accomplished around the 9 grams of fat per hot dog mark.

One of the newer options on the market is Oscar Mayer’s Turkey Selects Hot Dog. It has 120 calories and 9 grams of fat (2.5 grams saturated fat) per hot dog. These hardwood-smoked and nitrite-free dogs have a pleasant flavor and texture, especially if cooked on the grill.

If you don’t want to fire up the outdoor grill, you can use your indoor grill (i.e. George Foreman grill) instead. Just coat the grill plates with some canola cooking spray. This will help brown the outside of the hot dogs.

The Bun:

You wouldn’t want to serve your carefully selected lighter frankfurter on a refined grain white bun, would you? Look for a hot dog bun with “whole wheat flour” as the first ingredient and/or “100% whole wheat” on the package.

I tried a new 100% whole wheat hot dog bun option by Sara Lee Soft & Smooth. Each bun has 4 grams of fiber and 8 grams of protein. However, between the hot dog and the bun the total sodium is 710 mg (480 from the dog and 230 mg from the bun). And I did notice that the bun contains some high fructose corn syrup (it was the fourth ingredient in the ingredient list and each bun contains 3 grams of sugar.)

What are you grilling this holiday? Hot dogs, chicken, burgers? Or are you going to try vegetable kabobs or steaks? No matter what you decide to put on the grill…I hope you all have a happy Memorial Day!

Photo: Jupiterimages / © Getty Images

Posted by: Elaine Magee, RD at 11:21 am

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