Healthful Hot Dogs

Although you'll rarely find "healthful" and "hot dog" in the same sentence, the all-American food has gotten a makeover by some manufacturers. Hot dogs have gone "all natural" and even vegetarian, with many varieties as good for you as other healthful foods.

When you're shopping for a cookout, these tips will help you choose the most healthful hot dogs:

  • Check the fat content. Turkey franks can be as high in fat as pork or beef hot dogs.

  • Soy-based hot dogs, such as tofu franks or veggie dogs, usually contain no fat, cholesterol, nitrates, or questionable by-products.

  • Avoid jumbo franks, which have jumbo amounts of fat.

  • Choose products with low to moderate sodium content.

Traditional hot dogs and other preserved meats contain nitrates and other preservatives that may be linked to health problems, including cancer. The American Institute for Cancer Research recommends that people limit their intake of these meats.