The 9 Best Healthy Hot Dogs and Sausages for Your Next BBQ
Going to a cookout and passing on the hot dogs is like going to a baseball game and, well, passing on the hot dogs. The classic frank is such an integral part of American summer traditions that it's a shame to say no—even if you're trying to lose weight.
Hot-off-the-grill sausages and frankfurters are two of summer's great pleasures. But thanks to their high calorie, salt, and fat content, the tasty meats have gotten a bad rap. The good news is that there are a number of options on supermarket shelves that won't harm your health or your hard-earned beach body. Since reading and comparing every package's nutrition label to find the best can take forever, we did all the legwork.
All you have to do is pick up one of our Eat This, Not That!-approved picks, head home and fire up the grill. All of the meats below are free of scary additives and have no more than 160 calories, 11 grams of fat and 700 milligrams of sodium per serving—with the majority of them falling far below these nutritional upper limits. Stick with these healthy brands and you'll never be far from a quick, healthy protein-packed meal.
Here are the best healthy hot dogs to buy for your next BBQ
Best overall healthy hot dog: Applegate Natural Uncured Beef Hot Dog
A fair share of conventional dogs are cured, meaning they've been injected with nitrates and nitrites, chemicals that have been shown to cause cancer and diabetes. Applegate is one of the few companies that doesn't add these dangerous additives to their dogs. Their Uncured Beef variety is made with 100% grass-fed, pasture-raised beef and is also low in calories and fat, earning it a top spot on our list. Just be aware of the sodium: at 500 milligrams per dog, you'll be golfing down 22% of your daily recommended intake of the nutrient. Make sure to drink plenty of water to keep yourself from feeling bloated.
Best grass-fed hot dog: Teton Waters Ranch Uncured Beef Hot Dogs
Grab a pack of these Whole30-approved hot dogs for your next BBQ and you'll be everyone's favorite guest. These 100% grass-fed beef hot dogs from Teton Waters Ranch are some of the juiciest, snapiest dogs we've tasted.
Best low-sodium hot dog: Organic Valley, Uncured Organic 100% Grass-fed Beef Hot Dogs
Not only are these dogs low in sodium (they have 25% less sodium than the leading organic hot dog brand), but they're also uncured and made with organic grass-fed, pasture-raised beef that's humanely raised.
Best organic hot dog: 365 Everyday Value Organic, Uncured, Grass-Fed Beef Hot Dogs
What can we say? Simple works. Whole Foods' store-brand hot dogs hit all the marks we like to see in our franks: they're low-sodium, uncured, organic, and use grass-fed beef.
Best turkey hot dog: Oscar Mayer Selects Natural Uncured Turkey Franks
It's true: Oscar Mayer actually makes healthy hot dogs! These nitrite-free turkey hot dogs are affordable, tasty, and low-fat.
Here are the best healthy sausages to buy
Best Italian sausage: BILINSKI Organic Spicy Italian Chicken Sausage
Most Italian sausages are loaded with sodium—not BILINSKI's. These chicken links have a moderate sodium count and and low in calories and fat while being high in protein and flavor
Best pork sausage: Aidells Cajun Style Andouille
Since it's free of scary additives and full of protein and flavor, this Cajun-style smoked sausage is far better than its competition. Even so, we can't ignore its higher sodium count. If you decide to indulge, stick to one sausage and keep any BBQ classics laced with salt—like chips, cheese, and ketchup—off your plate.
Best chicken sausage: Al Fresco Spicy Jalapeño Chicken Sausage
Our love for Al Fresco runs deep. No other company offers a wider variety of bold-flavored, low-calorie and low-sodium sausages—and this variety is one we can't get enough of. Makers of this variety use roasted red peppers, dried jalapeno peppers, and onion to give it a unique, rich flavor. Throw a link into a bun or mix it up by throwing slices of them on a homemade grilled veggie pizza.
Best high-protein: The Original Brat Hans Organic Bratwurst Chicken Sausage
We're fans of this plump pork brat because it has fewer calories and less fat and sodium than any other variety at the store. It's also free of antibiotics, hormones, nitrates and nitrites. The Original Brat's tasty, but relatively neutral flavor makes it a perfect canvas for a wide range of toppings from traditional German sauerkraut and hot mustard to pickled chilies and chutney. Pair it with a healthy beer for the full bierhaus experience.