It is, or should be, no secret that hot dogs are typically a damn poor choice for good nutrition. They are made up of the parts of the animal that are left over once the choice cuts are used up. This meat is then mixed with water, corn syrup or sorbitol, salt, food starch, and liquid smoke and a variety of different spices. To boost the color of the hot dogs, and improve their shelf life, sodium nitrate is added as a preservative. Sodium diacetate, sodium erythorbate, and any number of other chemicals may also be added. However, to many people, hot dogs are as American as apple pie and baseball. According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, Americans eat 818 hot dogs per second between Memorial Day and Labor Day, which adds up to about 7 billion hot dogs.
I have to admit, I do love the taste of a good hot dog, but being as they are an unhealthy choice of low nutrition processed meat,I never eat them. There is almost nothing better than a hot dog cooked on a stick over an open wood fire, but even this does not taste as good as being healthy, fit and trim feels. However, my dear wife still does eat hot dogs and with her being a picky eater, I was quite surprised when she said she wanted to try a vegetarian hot dog. Loraine never eats vegetarian meat substitutes!
To my surprise, despite her finicky tastes when it comes to hot dogs, she really likes the Lightlife Smart Dogs!
Looking at the ingredient list, I was skeptical about how good these dogs would be. I tried the MorningStar brand of corn dogs a while back and would just as soon take a good swift kick to the shin rather eat them again. The MorningStar hot dog was awful, and left me cynical in that anyone could actually make a decent vegetarian hot dog.
Lightlife managed to make a good dog!
I prepared one of these Smart Dogs by boiling it in water for a few minutes until thoroughly heated. I then put it on a Ole Extreme Wellness tortilla with a little bit of sugar free ketchup and yellow mustard. My first thought when removing the dog from it’s package was it did look and feel like a meat hot dog, unlike some of the others I have seen in the past. Once I had it wrapped in my tortilla, I bit into it and had to go back and look into my refrigerator to ensure I had not mistakenly cooked a meat hot dog. I do not know how they pulled this off, but the Lightlife Smart Dog actually tastes like a beef or pork based hot dog. The smell and texture were even the same as their meat counterparts. Now, I really need to see how they do by cooking them over an open wood fire or charcoal. These dogs are good.
As with any other hot dog, you have to consider these are still too high in sodium, so I could not recommend anyone having these on a daily basis. Especially if you are one who needs to watch your sodium intake. That being said, the calories are not too bad, they have healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats at 3 grams total, 2 grams of fiber making only 2 net grams of carbs, and 13 grams of protein. Another downside for me is there is a trace of sugar in the ingredients, but this is actually quite miniscule at less than 1 gram per serving.
Bear in mind, that while these hot dogs are a healthier choice than their meat counterparts, this does not mean they are a healthy food. In reality, they are still a highly processed food product and their consumption should be kept at a minimum.