On July 4th alone, Americans will consume a whopping 150 million hot dogs! But a new survey commissioned by Applegate shows that most consumers don’t think the dogs they buy are high quality. The good news is that not all hot dogs are created equal. Today, I joined The Morning Show at New England Cable News (NECN) to dish about better-for-you dogs and to offer tips for giving summertime cookouts a healthy makeover. You can watch the segment by visiting the NECN website … or read on for my slimming, nutrient-boosting suggestions!
There’s no reason to whine about wieners. The key to choosing the best brands is to look for organic and natural alternatives like Applegate. I’ve been working with them this summer to spread the news that eating hot dog and good health can go hand in hand. Their beef franks (my favorite) have just four ingredients (and yes, you can pronounce them): beef, water, sea salt, and spices. They are hormone and antibiotic free and don’t contain any fillers or nitrites.
Why stop at burgers and dogs? You can add great nutrition to any cookout by grilling up veggie or fruit kebabs. My favorite pop-on-the-grill vegetables are mushrooms, zucchini, and bell peppers. Brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and then grill for 10 to 12 minutes. Pineapple works wonders on the grill too as do plums, peaches, and nectarines.
Ketchup, mustard, and relish may be the most popular hot dog condiments, but there are plenty of other toppers to choose from. I love to saute sliced bell peppers and onions until they are caramelized, or you can adorn your dogs with diced avocado, salsa, and cilantro for a Tex-Mex topping.
Swap out the usual sides with interesting vegetable salads. And don’t rely solely on mayonnaise for your potato and pasta salads. You can switch over to low-fat mayo or use a combo of mayo and low-fat plain Greek yogurt. The yogurt provides protein and calcium.
Makes 5 Servings
Three bean salad was popular when I was a kid, and it?s certainly always been a nutritious side dish given all the beans! But as I often do when I have some free time on my hands, I decided to give this classic recipe an updated flavor makeover. To that end, I mixed up a new recipe using chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans), edamame, raisins, carrot, bell pepper, and a bunch of interesting seasonings. Pack along for a picnic or cookout or stuff into a summer camp lunchbox for the kiddos.
1. Place the chickpeas, edamame, raisins, carrot, bell pepper, lemon juice, olive oil, Italian seasoning, cumin, and garlic powder in a bowl and mix until well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Happy July 4th everyone!
Disclosure: I created this recipe for Applegate and was compensated for the recipe and social media/TV outreach. All opinions are solely my own.