Food Showdown: Burgers or Dogs?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
This Fourth of July, the odds are high that someone will ask you the classic American question: Hamburger or hot dog? These two cookout staples are equally tasty, hearty and nostalgic, but what about the calories? Is one more waistline-friendly than the other? Today, we put the debate to rest.

When choosing an entrée hot off the grill this Fourth of July, which should you choose to keep your weight in check: A hamburger or a hot dog?

The Winner: Hot Dog!
First of all, let's be clear: There are many different varieties of hamburgers and hot dogs out there. Both burgers and dogs vary dramatically in their nutritional stats depending on the brand and the amount of toppings you pile on. However, on average, a two-ounce beef hot dog clocks in at 180 calories and 17 grams of fat, whereas a four-ounce hamburger patty contains 290 calories and 22 grams of fat. (Note that these stats do not include buns or toppings.)

Also keep in mind that since hot dogs tend to be smaller than burgers, many people don't stop at just one dog. If you do choose a hot dog, go easy on the toppings and round out your meal with a big side of fresh fruit salad to fill you up before you can think about chowing down on a second dog. Additionally, read your labels: Many hot dogs are packed full of chemicals and preservatives. Look for packages that say ''nitrite and nitrate-free.'' (Check out this article to get the low-down on hot dog ingredients.) As an alternative to beef dogs, try a turkey hot dog or a veggie hot dog—both are only 45 calories for a two-ounce serving. Click here for more tips on how to make better cookout choices this summer. Have a happy and healthy Fourth of July!