A plain grilled hot dog is a popular summertime food, but many people wonder just how many calories are in one of these tasty treats. The number of calories in a plain grilled hot dog can vary depending on the size and brand, but on average, a plain beef hot dog contains about 150 calories.
Calories in Different Sized Hot Dogs
Hot dogs come in different sizes, which affects their calorie counts. Here is a look at the approximate calories for different sized plain grilled beef hot dogs:
|Hot Dog Size
|Junior (1 oz)
|Regular (1.6 oz)
|Jumbo (2.2 oz)
As you can see, a junior hot dog has about 50 calories, while a regular has 100 calories, and a jumbo has 150 calories. The jumbo 2.2 oz size is the most common hot dog served at backyard barbecues and ballparks.
Calories by Hot Dog Brand
While an average plain grilled beef hot dog has 150 calories, the number may vary slightly depending on brand. Here is a look at calorie counts by some popular brand names:
|Calories (for regular approx. 1.6 oz hot dog)
As you can see, popular brands range from 140-160 calories per regular sized hot dog. Hebrew National and Ball Park tend to be on the higher side, while Oscar Mayer and Nathan’s are slightly lower in calories.
Factors Affecting Hot Dog Calories
There are a few factors that impact the calorie count of a grilled hot dog:
- Size – Jumbo hot dogs have more calories than smaller junior sizes.
- Ingredients – Some brands use fattier cuts of beef that result in more calories.
- Preparation – Grilling adds minimal calories, boiling adds a few from the water, deep frying adds up to 50 calories more due to the oil.
- Condiments – Toppings like ketchup, mustard, relish add calories ranging from 10-50 calories each.
Sticking with smaller, low-calorie toppings will help keep the calorie count of your grilled hot dog down. Opting for a grilled chicken or turkey hot dog rather than beef can also save you a few calories.
Nutrition Info for a Plain Grilled Hot Dog
Aside from calories, here is the nutrition information for a typical grilled beef hot dog without toppings or a bun:
|Amount (for 1 regular hot dog)
As you can see, a grilled hot dog is high in sodium at 520mg, which is about 22% of your daily value intake. The fat and saturated fat are also on the high side. When enjoying a hot dog, be mindful of your sodium, fat, and saturated fat consumption for the day.
How Many Calories in a Hot Dog with a Bun?
Now that we know the calorie count for a plain grilled hot dog, what happens when you add the bun? A regular white hot dog bun adds about 100-120 calories to the total. Here is the calorie count for a hot dog on a bun:
- Hot dog (140 calories)
- Hot dog bun (110 calories)
- Total: 250 calories
A whole wheat bun may save you about 20 calories compared to a white enriched bun. You can further reduce the calories by choosing a light hot dog bun, which can have as little as 40-50 calories.
Calories in Hot Dog Toppings
Now let’s look at how different hot dog toppings add to the calorie count:
|Ketchup (1 tbsp)
|Mustard (1 tbsp)
|Relish (1 tbsp)
|Onions (2 tbsp chopped)
|Sauerkraut (1/4 cup)
|Chili (1/4 cup)
|Cheese (1 slice)
As you can see, cheese, chili, and sauerkraut add the most calories for standard toppings. Sticking with mustard, onions, relish, and other veggie toppings will keep your calories down. Ketchup and pickle relish add a modest amount of calories.
Healthy Hot Dog Tips
While hot dogs aren’t the most nutritious food option, there are some tips for enjoying them in a healthier way:
- Choose the lowest calorie toppings like mustard, ketchup, onions and relish in moderation.
- Opt for reduced fat beef or switch to a turkey or chicken dog to cut fat and calories.
- Skip the bacon and cheese toppings which add a lot of saturated fat and sodium.
- Use whole grain buns or lighter hot dog buns to save calories.
- Drink water instead of soda, which adds excess sugar and calories.
- Watch your portion and stick to 1 hot dog without overeating.
- Balance out the meal with healthy sides like a salad, fruits, or veggies.
With some simple tweaks, you can enjoy hot dogs in moderation, even on a weight loss diet. Just be mindful of your toppings, size, and how often you indulge.
Grilled Hot Dog Calories Compared to Other Fast Foods
Hot dogs get a bad reputation for being unhealthy. But how do they compare calorie-wise to some other popular fast foods?
|Plain Grilled Hot Dog with Bun
|McDonald’s Big Mac
|Large McDonald’s Fries
|Burger King Whopper
|Medium McDonald’s Shake
As you can see, a grilled hot dog on a bun is lower in calories than a Big Mac, Whopper, fries, or shake. Loading up your hot dog with lots of high-calorie toppings can quickly drive up that calorie count however. In moderation, hot dogs can be a fairly low calorie fast food option.
Should You Eat Hot Dogs When Dieting?
Can you still enjoy the occasional hot dog when trying to lose weight or on a diet? In moderation, a grilled hot dog here and there should be fine when dieting. Some tips:
- Stick to a single regular sized hot dog and fill up on low calorie toppings and side dishes.
- Swap the white enriched bun for a whole wheat bun to add more fiber.
- Choose a lower sodium hot dog and avoid processed meats like bacon or sausage.
- Drink water instead of sugary sodas or juices which add excess calories.
- Focus your diet largely on lean proteins, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
- Aim for an occasional hot dog treat rather than making it a regular habit.
As part of an overall healthy diet, incorporating a grilled hot dog, a few times a month should not hinder your weight loss goals. Just be mindful of portions and how often you indulge.
A regular grilled beef hot dog on a bun contains about 250 calories. Jumbo hot dogs have around 150 calories without the bun, while a junior size has about 50 calories. Factors like the cooking method, toppings, and condiments can drive up the calories further. While hot dogs have a reputation as an unhealthy processed food, a plain grilled hot dog is lower in calories than many fast food burgers, fries, and shakes. In moderation and with healthy low calorie toppings, enjoying the occasional hot dog can be part of an overall balanced diet, even when trying to lose weight.