Welcome to The Cooking Cardiologist Blog! I write about health, food and cooking from my perspective as a cardiologist (as you can imagine, there’s a lot to know). If you don’t see something you’re interested to know, please ask!
July 4th is upon us! It’s time to celebrate the birth of our nation, put out the flag, fire up the grill and spend some time with friends and family. This year, surprise your guests with a healthy alternative to an American classic – the hot dog.
Hundreds of companies around the world make hot dogs, often using their own unique secret recipe. Typically, though, hot dogs include some or all of the following ingredients:
Consequently, hot dogs often contain high amounts of saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium and cancer-causing nitrites – all of which can contribute to health problems.
Numerous companies now offer tasty low-fat chicken or turkey hot dogs, but unfortunately, many of these still contain nitrites or are high in sodium. You can also find hot dogs made from organic meats that are lower in fat and nitrate-free, but be sure to check the label: Some brands still deliver 500 milligrams or more of sodium in a single dog. If you’re trying to keep your sodium level at the recommended 1,500 milligrams per day, these hot dogs might not be an option.
Soy or tofu hot dogs are another possibility that are lower in fat and cholesterol and nitrite-free, but these dogs often do not taste – or satisfy – like a regular hot dog.
If you’re looking for a healthy alternative to a meat-based hot dog that has all the characteristics of a traditional hot dog without the cholesterol, fat, unknown meat derivatives and nitrites, try my tasty Carrot Dog recipe.
At the heart of the recipe are cooked, organic carrots that you grill as though they were regular hot dogs – but without the worry of carcinogens. You can prepare the carrots three to four days ahead, then grill them until grill marks appear right before serving. Piping hot, placed inside a fresh, warm whole-wheat bun and garnished with sauerkraut, mustard, onions and pickles – the Carrot Dog is every bit as good as the original – yet so much better for you. Enjoy!