When you think of summer, what comes to mind? Sunshine, beaches, picnics and probably hot dogs. That’s why the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council celebrates National Hot Dog Day every July. In 2019, Wednesday, July 17 is the date to remember.
However, when it comes to healthy lunch options, we know salads, not hot dogs, are the better choice. In fact, according to the experts at WebMD, “Eating salad almost every day may be one of the most healthy eating habits you can adopt.”
Hot Dogs vs. Salads
Although hot dogs are cheap and easy to cook, they also are heavily processed and high in fat and sodium. Salads are a bit more expensive and time consuming to prepare, but the health benefits are significant. By eating healthy salads regularly, you can lose weight, have more energy, reduce your cholesterol levels and lower your risk of many diseases including cancer.
Hot Dogs (with bun, no condiments)
- 290 calories;
- 23g of fat;
- 9g of saturated fat;
- 35mg of cholesterol;
- 810mg of sodium (34% daily value); and
- 0g of fiber
- as little as 100 calories per 3-cup serving;
- higher in smart monounsaturated fats (like those found in olive oil and avocados);
- extra servings of health-boosting fruits, veggies and nuts; and
- high in fiber
How to Make a Healthy Salad
Even though your intentions may be good, it’s easy to create a high-calorie, high-sodium, sugary salad. Here are some basic rules to keep your salad healthier than a hot dog.
- include lots of fresh fruits and raw vegetables (the more color, the better);
- add beans, nuts, chicken or fish for extra protein; and
- sprinkle your salad with olive oil or/and balsamic vinegar.
- assume all pre-prepared and restaurant salads are good for you;
- add high-calorie toppings like cheese, dried fruit, bacon and croutons;
- cover your salad with an unhealthy dressing.
How to Make a Healthier Hot Dog
Ok, but it IS National Hot Dog Day. Could we skip the salad just for today? Fortunately, you can have the occasional hot dog without derailing your diet plans. Use these tricks to eat smarter.
- skip the roll and add a green salad on the side;
- substitute the white refined roll with a whole grain bun;
- top your dog with veggies (tomatoes, avocados, bell peppers, jalapeños);
- try a veggie or low-fat hot dog; and
- compare labels as some varieties are lower in calories and/or sodium.
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Hot Dog Nutrition Facts, verywellfit.com, 2019
4 Healthy Reasons to Eat a Salad Today, webmd.com
25 Unhealthiest Salads in America, Eat This, Not That!, 2019
The Worst Salad Toppings (and What to Choose Instead), SELF, 2015
16 Salad Dressings Worse Than Chocolate Syrup, Eat This, Not That!, 2016