A healthier Memorial Day hot dog?

You can make most things healthier, and the humble hot dog is no exception.  Dr. Oz recently reported that enough hot dogs are made every minute to reach the top of the Empire State Building.  Hot dogs aren’t going away.

Some tips for making a healthier hot dog:

Choose all-beef (ideally organic, grass-fed), nitrate/nitrite-free.

Look for a few simple ingredients on the label:  beef, water, sea salt, spices like garlic, onion, paprika, and celery powder (a natural form of nitrites).

Avoid those with corn syrup, starch, and preservatives.

Serving your hot dog:

Look for whole-grain buns without preservatives and other additives.

Wrap it in a romaine lettuce leaf.

Serve it without a bun, topped with beans and other healthy toppings.


Ketchup is commonly made with sugar, corn syrup, and high-fructose corn syrup.  It may contain as much as 25% sugar.  Buy organic ketchup that has no type of corn syrup added.

Sweet relish also usually contains sugar, corn syrup, and high-fructose corn syrup, and possibly yellow food coloring.  Read labels and search for a healthier version.

Yellow mustard is the winner among condiments!  It contains vinegar, water, mustard seed, salt, turmeric, and paprika.  Turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory and liver-protective properties.  Be sure to read the ingredients label to make certain that nothing else has been added, and check the amount of sodium in each serving.  I try to find varieties made with apple cider vinegar and whole-grain mustard.

Some healthy toppings:

Sauerkraut, onions, cilantro, jalapeños, kimchi, mushrooms, tomatoes, salsa, avocado, guacamole, hummus, pickles and pickled vegetables (some contain food coloring), alfalfa sprouts, sunflower seeds, radishes, goat or feta cheese, arugula, caramelized onions, artichoke hearts, beans (if using canned, read the ingredients and avoid hydrogenated fats and sugar).  If you like a sweet dog, try some raw honey instead of ketchup.  It’s actually good.

Skip the chips!  Add lots of crunchy vegetables instead.  These will add nutrients and fiber to give you energy to enjoy other Memorial Day activities!  If you must have a few chips, stick to plainer varieties, like potato and corn chips, and avoid those full of food colorings, artificial flavors, MSG, sugar, etc., etc.

Crunchy raw vegetables:

Carrots, sweet peppers, jicama, radishes, asparagus, celery, cucumbers, beets, turnips, broccoli, cauliflower, snow peas, sugar snap peas, cherry tomatoes (they’re not crunchy, but add delicious sweetness), etc.

Whatever you decide to eat or not to eat this Memorial Day, I hope you enjoy the love of family and friends!

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Natural Health Consultant

1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”





This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.  It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need. Consult your health care provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.


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