What would you call the happiest childhood food? One that brought a smile to your face when you were young and one that today makes your kids go gaga – and glow with anticipation. You might answer with ice cream. Pizza. Blueberry Pancakes. PB & J. Grilled Cheese. Rainbow-colored fruit. Chocolate Chip Cookies?..
Well I’d like to plead my case for the classic happy American hot dog as the happiest of happy kids foods. For me, hot dogs bring back happy memories of summertime beach barbecues, backyard picnics, birthday parties, ball parks and outdoor adventures like camping trips. Hot dogs are the quintessential “outdoor” sunny day food – and isn’t that when kids are happiest?.. Playing in the sunshine outside.
But lets face it, traditional hot dogs are not exactly healthy. Made sometimes from bottom of the barrel meat products – nitrates and all – gobs of sodium and fat. And we all want to feed kids yummy and healthy foods. Time to give your dogs a smart summer makeover! I have a delicious option for you – in fact these are some seriously smart dogs..
Family-friendly Food. Hot dogs are ridiculously easy, and the whole family can customize their own dog however they choose – and most kids can even add their fave toppings themselves. No fussing over pizza or sandwich toppings.
Smart Dog Taste Test. I recently noticed how much my 4 yr-old nephew drooled over his grilled hot dog – and so I wondered why my sister hadn’t tried “Smart Dogs” – aka soy hot dogs. They look exactly like real hot dogs – and when you add your fave toppings – they taste pretty much the exact same. Really. The texture and aroma is identical – and the taste is just about perfect as well. ..So did the kids love the Smart Dogs I made for them? Oh yes!
Plus smart dogs are totally nitrate and msg free - and one jumbo sized smart dog (1 link, 76g) contains only 80 calories, 1g fat (0g sat fat), 490mg potassium, 2g fiber, 15g protein, 3g carbs. The sodium is still quite high at 560mg – but I think that salty dog flavor is what gives them the crave-factor.
Smart Dog ingredients: water, soy protein isolate, wheat gluten, evaporated cane juice, less that 2%: natural flavor (veg), natural smoke flavor, garlic powder, paprika, yeast extract, xanthan gum, guar gum, carrageenan, fermented rice flour, salt, potassium chloride.
Compare that to a traditional Oscar Meyer Weiner…
ingredients: MECHANICALLY SEPARATED TURKEY AND MECHANICALLY SEPARATED CHICKEN, PORK, WATER, CONTAINS LESS THAN 2% OF SALT, GROUND MUSTARD SEED, SODIUM LACTATE, CORN SYRUP, DEXTROSE, SODIUM PHOSPHATES, SODIUM DIACETATE, SODIUM ASCORBATE, SODIUM NITRITE, FLAVOR.
The nutritional facts on one 45g weiner say it all, only 5g protein, 12g fat, 4g saturated fat, 130 calories, 1g carb – and this serving size is 30g less than the smart dog.
Summer days are coming, so now is the perfect time to give your hot dogs a smart summer makeover!..
Ready to try a vegan, Happy Day Smart Hot Dog? Here’s what you’ll need..
Happy Day Hot Dogs – Gone Smart
1 pack Lightlife brand Smart Dogs – I like the jumbo dogs 5 per pack
vegan buns white or whole wheat
soy chili (for chili dogs – Amy’s or Whole Foods make delicious canned versions)
vegan soy cheese – Follow Your Heart or Daiya brands
anything else you like on your dog!
I like to grill my smart dogs. You can grill them on an outdoor grill – or even on a stove top grill pan – or my fast way is to grill them on my panini press.
Tip: smart Dogs cook very quickly – so don’t over cook them.
Enjoy your dogs – and have a happy day!