Updated at: 14-06-2022 - By: Jane Brody

Hot dogs are a typical American treat and are a staple of the Fourth of July and baseball games. Since hot dogs are very delicious, they are enjoyed as part of many celebrations.  Hot dogs can be found almost anywhere and they are usually served on a bun with mustard, ketchup, or sauerkraut. These tasty bites are usually relatively inexpensive and easy to prepare. However, hot dogs are not considered healthy foods because they tend to be heavily processed and they lack nutrients. In addition, they have very high sodium and fat content.

Individuals need to limit your hot dog intake or opt for healthier alternatives. Even if you do not consume them regularly, there are different ways of enjoying your hot dogs without interfering with your diet or health. You can keep the calorie counts under control by serving a single hot dog with healthy side dishes like salads, beans, or vegetables.

How Many Calories Are In A Hot Dog With A Bun

Calories in a Hot Dog

As stated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), a 57-gram hot dog that contains pork, beef, and sea salt gives 120 calories. Other nutrients you will find in the hot dog include:

  • Proteins: 11grams
  • Total lipid fats: 8 grams, which is 13% of the recommended daily value.
  • Sodium: 370 milligrams which is about 12% of the be daily value.
  • Cholesterol: 34.8 milligrams, which is 12 % of your recommended daily value.
  • Total Saturated fat: 3 grams, which is 15 % of the RDV.

According to this calorie count, hot dogs do not provide the heart-healthiest protein options. However, hot dogs still provide trace amounts of minerals and vitamins like vitamin A, vitamin C, IU, iron, and calcium.

Calories in Hot Dog Buns

If you are concerned about nutrition, then the bun is a key consideration, especially with regard to sodium levels. The bun can add an extra 180 to 200 mg of sodium to your hot dog. Based on data from the USDA, taking whole wheat or white buns will not have a significant change on the calorie intake. This is because each bun will still add about 100 calories to your hot dog. However, consuming whole wheat buns will guarantee added fiber.

According to the USDA, the total calorie count for a single 47-gram hot dog bun is as follows:

  • Total Calories is 100, which is just 5 % of the daily limit
  • Carbohydrate is 20 grams which is 1% of the daily recommended target
  • Protein is 4 grams, which makes up 8% of the daily target
  • Sodium is 170 milligrams
  • Dietary Fiber, which is 1 gram making up 3% of the daily recommended value
  • Total fat is 1gram

The hot dog bun also offers minute amounts of iron, total lipid fats, and vitamin C. The ingredients use to prepare a typical hot dog bun includes enriched wheat flour, sugar, salt, yeast, and water. When consumed together, the bun and hot dogs contain about 220 calories. This includes over 15 grams of protein and 200 milligrams of sodium.

Condiments and Toppings of a Hot Dog

Most people enjoy their hot dogs without toppings, however, if you do not want to pile on extras you should consider these in the total calorie count. This is because toppings and condiments will add extra calories to your hot dog and bun. Today, topping options are limitless are they will vary depending on where you purchase your hot dogs. The most commonly used condiments for hot dogs are ketchup and mustard and each offers about 10 to 20 calories for each spoon of 16grams. A packet of ketchup contains more calories compared to mustard because of its sugar content. As a result, ketchup delivers 2 grams of sugar and more sodium.

There are other condiments that can also increase the calorie count of your hot dog and bun, for example, sauerkraut adds 3 calories and sweet pickle relish can add 20 calories per tablespoon. However, Sauerkraut has a lower caloric count and offers fiber and a couple of hundred milligrams of sodium.

Hot dogs can also be accompanied by higher calorie toppings like cheese, chili, gravy, French fries, bacon, fried onions, and coleslaw, which can add about 300 extra calories based on the portion size. A tablespoon of raw onions contains 4 calories with no sodium and limited additional nutrients. Coleslaw, chili, and cheese will add more amounts of calories, fat, and sodium to your hot dog.  Each of these will add about 70 to 100 calories and approximately 250 milligrams of sodium.

According to the USDA, extra calories that typical hot dog toppings can add include:

  • Ketchup1 tablespoon: 20 calories
  • Yellow mustard1 teaspoon: 3.66 calories
  • Dijon mustard1 tablespoon: 10 calories
  • Pickle relish1 tablespoon: 19 calories
  • Chili cheese1 ounce: 130 calories

Health Benefits of Hot Dogs

Health Benefits of Hot Dogs

Typical hot dogs are energy-packed, considering the size of the sausage, they have about 150 calories and 13 grams of fat. Most people usually buy hot dogs in situations that need them to be outdoors, taking part in some kind of physical activity like strolling in the park. The carbohydrates in the hot dog can also provide quick energy after a heavy and intensive exercise. Hot dogs are also perfect for picky eaters because they get to consume all the calories the body needs in one seating.

One hot dog offers about 8 grams of protein, which makes about 15% of the daily recommended value. Protein is essential for growth in children and helps to reduce muscle loss that occurs with aging. The protein found in hot dogs is a complete protein and this means that it supplies all the essential amino acids that the body needs.

Hot dogs are also an excellent source of vitamin B12 with just one hot dog offering 30% of the recommended daily value. Vitamin B 12 is crucial for brain development in children, enhancing mental clarity in adults, and for normal metabolism. A beef hot dog offers over 10% of the recommended daily value of minerals such as selenium, zinc, and phosphorus. The nutrients in the meat are in a more “bioavailable” form, which means that they are readily absorbed and used by the body compared to these minerals in vegetables and grains.

Making your Hot Dog and Bun Healthier

To reduce the number of calories in a hot dog and bun, you can substitute your toppings and condiments. Today, plant-based meals are becoming more popular and people are always looking for alternatives for meat.

Use Healthy Cheese

To make your hot dogs healthy, you can opt for healthy cheese instead of using the high-fat type of cheese. You can enjoy more health benefits by sprinkling mozzarella over your hot dog.  The Dairy Council of California states that an ounce of mozzarella consists of fewer calories and half the fat of the popularly used hot dog cheese toppings the American and cheddar. Additionally, mozzarella provides 1 gram of carbohydrate, 7 grams protein, and offers more calcium compared to parmesan, cheddar, and American cheese.

Low-Carb Buns

You can also make your hot dogs healthier by opting for low-carb buns. These buns can easily be found at the grocery store or you can opt to consume your hot dog with a bun and save yourself 20 grams of carbohydrates. You can also substitute your white refined bun with an artisan whole grain bun for healthier and lower calories.

Add Veggies

You can dress up your hot dog with vegetables. You can create your own unique hot dog wrap or wrap your regular hot dog in lettuce. This way, you will add more nutrients, volume, and even anti-oxidants without adding more calories.  You can even add hot peppers and guacamole for that tasty kick.

Opt For Low Fat Dog or Veggie Dog

Finding great veggie dogs may be a challenge, however, most grocery stores today have several brands so you can easily find a veggie dog that you will love. Veggie dogs tend to be lower in calories and fat compared to regular hot dogs. However, you can always cook them and serve them just like regular hot dogs. You can also look for low-fat hot dogs made using chicken or turkey instead of the regular beef and pork.


Hot dogs are a type of sausage that originated from Germany and dates back hundreds of years. Today, hot dogs are a popular delicacy across the globe. The number of calories in a hot dog will vary depending on the toppings used and the serving size. Hot dogs are not the most nutritious food choices available because they are heavily processed. However, they are quite tasty and can be eaten in moderation and with plenty of whole foods and vegetables to lower the caloric intake. In fact, combining your hot dogs with vegetables will make them more nutritious because nutrients in the meat enhance the absorption of nutrients in the vegetables.

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