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How to Turn Your Hot Dog Healthy

Posted: 08/06/11 02:41 AM ET

By Joyce Hendley, contributing editor for EatingWell Magazine

Sure, it's not health food -- but a hot-off-the-grill, juicy, hot dog is one of summer’s great pleasures. The good news is it’s the calorie bargain of the barbecue: you’re better off with a 100- to 150-calorie dog on a bun than with a 230-calorie burger or 285-calorie bratwurst. With a well-chosen hot dog, whole-wheat bun and fresh toppings, you can make the best of the wurst. Here’s what to look for -- and what to lose.

Unhealthy: Salty Dog
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Between salty flavorings, preservatives and curing agents, some dogs pack 500 mg sodium or more apiece -- a quarter to a third of your daily limit, and that's before you add a bun and toppings. (Often) worst offenders: "light" and "fat-free" dogs" (which usually replace fat with more salt and flavoring). Here are EatingWell's nine picks for healthier beef, poultry and veggie hot dogs with 370 mg of sodium or less.

More from EatingWell:
The #1 Protein for Your Health and the Environment (and the Worst)
Love Burgers? Check Out These 6 Expert Tips for Cooking a Healthier, Flavor-Packed Burger
The Bacon Calculator: How Many Slices of Bacon Does Your Dinner Equal?
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This Suggestion
I'll pass.
Sounds delicious (and nutritious).

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Top 5 Suggestions
Users who voted on this slide

By Joyce Hendley

Joyce Hendley is a contributing editor and longtime contributor for EatingWell. She co-authored The EatingWell Diet with Jean Harvey-Berino in 2007, which won a James-Beard Foundation Award, and wrote The EatingWell Diabetes Cookbook in 2005 (a finalist for both James Beard Foundation and IACP awards).

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